New Year’s Eve concert with Simon Rattle and Joyce DiDonato

With her flexible, slender but darkly timbred mezzo-soprano, Joyce DiDonato has already delighted audiences at the Philharmonie on several occasions. Now she is the star guest at Sir Simon Rattle’s side during the New Year’s Eve Concert, singing Richard Strauss’s lavishly beautiful orchestral songs. The programme also includes works by Dvořák, Stravinsky, Bernstein and Shostakovich – full of virtuosity, gracefulness and humour.

Berliner Philharmoniker

Sir Simon Rattle conductor

Joyce DiDonato mezzo-soprano

Antonín Dvořák

Carnival Overture, op. 92

Igor Stravinsky

Pas de deux from Apollon musagète

Richard Strauss

Orchestral Songs

Joyce DiDonato mezzo-soprano

Leonard Bernstein

3 Dance Episodes from On the Town

Leonard Bernstein

Take Care of this House

Joyce DiDonato mezzo-soprano

Dmitri Shostakovich

Suite from The Golden Age, op. 22a

Dates and Tickets

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“I hope no-one in Berlin takes this concert hall for granted. It’s extraordinary,” said Joyce DiDonato enthusiastically in an interview she gave for the Digital Concert Hall marking her debut in an orchestral concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker in April 2015. On that occasion, the American singer delighted audiences at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden and in Berlin with her flexible, slender, yet at the same dark-timbred mezzo-soprano as Marguerite in Berlioz’ La Damnation de Faust. The press described her vocal performance as “ravishingly nuanced” and “angelic”. Last season, the “girl from Kansas”, as she often jokingly calls herself, was heard as the soloist in another work by the French composer: the lyrical scene La Mort de Cléopâtre. She has also shown herself to be a gifted lieder singer in two Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation recitals. Joyce DiDonato is now the star guest of the Philharmoniker’s New Year’s Eve Concerts and presents another facet of her artistic versatility with orchestral songs by Richard Strauss.

The festive programme opens with Antonín Dvořák’s concert overture Carnival, a work that is part of an overture trilogy with philosophical aspirations. In the trilogy, the Czech composer summarises the most important aspects of human existence in music: nature, life and love. In Carnival, Dvořák celebrates joie de vivre with intoxicating, effervescent sounds. In the Pas de deux from the ballet Apollon musagète which recalls the Viennese waltz, Igor Stravinsky, the creator of such energetic works as L’Oiseau de feu and Le Sacre du printemps, shows his elegant, carefree and tender side.

In the dance episodes from his musical On the Town, premiered in 1944, Leonard Bernstein evokes quite different moods – exuberant, cheeky and jazz-inspired. The play is about the amorous adventures of three sailors who go ashore in New York for 24 hours. To send the audience on its way, the final work of the evening is the suite from the ballet The Golden Age, in which Dmitri Shostakovich uses wit, irony and sarcasm to satirise the lifestyle of the so-called “roaring twenties” while also making a social critique in a humorous way. Although the ballet proved unsuccessful, the ballet suite which the composer constructed from four movements enjoys great popularity, particularly the polka of the third movement, and will create the perfect atmosphere for New Year celebrations.

(photo: Stefan Rabold)