Rare Program of Christmas Mood


The next concert in the Bolshoi Theatre season ticket cycle at the Big Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire will be the first joint performance of the Theatre's Orchestra and Chorus with the young, but already world famous conductor, Vladimir Jurowski and baritone Gerald Finley.

To Russian audiences, Maestro Jurowski is known first and foremost as Principal Guest Conductor of the Russian National Orchestra. In the West, he is known as Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (from 2003-7, he was LPO Principal Guest Conductor and was appointed Principal Resident Conductor in 2007, filling the post vacated by the great Kurt Mazur). Jurowski is also Music Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera which ties in well with his London work: the LPO has long been the resident symphony orchestra at Glyndebourne.

The Moscow Conservatoire concert will have a Christmas theme: three of the five works in the program are directly linked to Christmas, as is reflected in their names. And this is quite logical if one bears in mind the concert will be taking place two days before Christmas Eve. Benjamin Britten's 3-part Sinfonia da Requiem, dedicated to the composer's mother, fits in with the concert's general conception. On first glance, the three symphonic fragments from Humperdink's opera Hansel and Gretel (which the maestro recently conducted at the Met), would seem to be odd man out. However, those who have visited Europe in the Christmas season will know that 'gingerbread houses' (as you will remember, it was into just such a house that the old witch lured Hansel and Gretel) are often to be seen at Christmas fairs. Though they have no direct connection with Christmas as such, they became a popular item in European Christmas symbolica back in the 19th century when, after the Grimm brothers published their fairy-tale, gingerbread houses became all the rage.

For his debut with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra, Jurowski has chosen works which, for the most part, are rarely heard in Moscow. Working in London, a city in which competition between symphony orchestras has reached an all time high, Jurowski knows that the only way of ensuring an orchestra's survival, is to conduct a repertory policy which, on the one hand, is quite different to that of rival orchestras and, on the other, will draw in the public. He describes many of his programs as being "extremely specialized", however, he does not complain of ungrateful audiences!

The well-known Canadian singer, Gerald Finley, will be making his first appearance in Moscow - a welcome guest at opera houses the world over, he is an acclaimed interpreter of contemporary music and makes frequent appearances with Vladimir Jurowski.