Daniel Harding (photo: Julian Hargreaves)

A Mozart evening with Daniel Harding

Mozart’s C minor Mass is one of the most beautiful works of sacred music ever composed. Choruses of archaic power strikingly alternate with graceful solos, which are perhaps so inspired because Mozart wrote one of the soprano parts for his wife Constanze. Conductor Daniel Harding devotes the rest of the concert to the secular Mozart with the brief, exuberant Symphony No. 32 and two expressive concert arias.

Berliner Philharmoniker

Daniel Harding conductor

Andrew Staples tenor

Georg Zeppenfeld bass

Lucy Crowe soprano

Olivia Vermeulen mezzo-soprano

Swedish Radio Choir

Sam Evans chorus master

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Symphony No. 32 in G major, K. 318

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Misero! O sognoAura, che intorno spiri, Recitative and Aria for Tenor and Orchestra, K. 431

Andrew Staples tenor

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Per questa bella mano , Aria for Bass, Double Bass obbligato and Orchestra, K. 612

Georg Zeppenfeld bass

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mass in C minor, K. 427

Lucy Crowe soprano, Olivia Vermeulen mezzo-soprano, Andrew Staples tenor, Georg Zeppenfeld bass, Swedish Radio Choir, Sam Evans chorus master

Dates and Tickets

Thu, 19 Apr 2018, 20:00

Philharmonie | Introduction: 19:00

Serie G

Fri, 20 Apr 2018, 20:00

Philharmonie | Introduction: 19:00

Serie H


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s C minor Mass K. 427 exists only in incomplete form: in addition to the autograph score, there are surviving orchestral parts edited by Mozart for the Salzburg premiere of the work in 1783 which was presumably fleshed out with movements from other mass settings. Two years later, the composer then used the work fragment as the basis for Davide penitente, a cantata to an Italian libretto paraphrasing biblical psalms. This recycling points to a characteristic of the music of Mozart, whose compositional technique incorporates a wide range of styles: it combines the strict compositional techniques of works in the style of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel with very sensuous moments more usually heard in the opera house. It is also clear from a letter written by the composer’s sister that Mozart wrote one of the most vocally gratifying soprano parts of the C minor Mass for his new bride, Constanze: in October 1783, Anna Maria Mozart, known as “Nannerl”, wrote to family about rehearsals for a mass setting “in which my sister-in-law sings the solo”. Vocal parts written by a Salzburg copyist which contain corrections in Mozart’s own hand prove that this must have referred to the C minor Mass.

According to Alfred Einstein, one of the most beautiful passages that Mozart wrote specifically for his wife’s voice – the Siciliana-style “Et incarnatus est” section – has long been a “bone of contention for purists of sacred music”. However, the prominent Mozart scholar took the wind out of the sails of any objections to the stylistic transgressions of the C minor Mass with a reference to the visual arts: “If a piece of music like this must be excluded from the church, so should the circular panels by Botticelli depicting the infant Christ surrounded by Florentine angels; it is just as profane.”

Against this background, it will be doubly exciting when, in these Berliner Philharmoniker concerts under the direction of Daniel Harding, the performance of the C minor Mass is preceded by an orchestral work and two concert arias by Mozart. Appearing together with the Berliner Philharmoniker are the Swedish Radio Choir and a first-class quartet of soloists with Lucy Crowe, Genia Kühmeier, Andrew Staples and Georg Zeppenfeld.


Daniel Harding is music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2007, and in September 2016 he took on the same role with the Orchestre de Paris. Born in Oxford in 1975, Daniel Harding began his career by assisting Sir Simon Rattle at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which he himself conducted for the first time in 1994. He later worked as Claudio Abbado’s musical assistant, and in 1996 became the youngest conductor to appear at the BBC Proms in London. That same year he also made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the Berlin Festival, conducting works by Berlioz, Brahms and Dvořák. After appointments with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra in Norway and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra in Sweden, he served as music director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (1997 – 2003), principal conductor of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (2003 – 2011), music partner of the New Japan Philharmonic (2010 – 2016) and principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (2006 – 2017). In constant demand in the world’s leading centres of music, he has appeared with many internationally acclaimed orchestras and conducted opera performances in houses as prestigious as the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala, Milan, the Vienna, Berlin and Munich State Operas and the Salzburg and Aix-en-Provence Festivals. In 2002 Daniel Harding was awarded the title Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government and in 2012 he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra honoured him with the lifetime title of Conductor Laureate. As a guest conductor with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Daniel Harding last appeared in March 2018, when he conducted three concerts with works by Schubert and Strauss.

Lucy Crowe, born in Staffordshire (England), studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, to which she was appointed a “Fellow” in 2014. One of the leading lyric sopranos of her generation, the singer has appeared as Adele (Die Fledermaus) and Servilia (La clemenza di Tito) at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and as Eurydice (Orphée et Eurydice), Adina (L’elisir d’ amore ), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Gilda (Rigoletto) and Belinda (Dido and Aeneas) at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. Further engagements have taken her to Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, English National Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival, where she has enjoyed great success in roles such as Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Dona Isabel (The Indian Queen), Poppea (Agrippina), Micaëla (Carmen) and Vixen Sharp-Ears. As a much sought-after concert singer, Lucy Crowe has worked with leading orchestras and conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Emmanuelle Haïm, Andris Nelsons, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Sir Simon Rattle. Guest appearances include at the Aldeburgh Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York and the Salzburg Festival; she has also given recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. With the Berliner Philharmoniker, Lucy Crowe made her debut in October 2017 in the title role of Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning LittleVixen.

Genia Kühmeier studied in her home town of Salzburg at the Mozarteum University and at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna where her teachers included Margarita Lilowa and Marjana Lipovšek. Winning first prize at the International Mozart Competition in Salzburg in 2002 laid the cornerstone of her career and a Karajan scholarship led her to a permanent engagement with the Wiener Staatsoper where she was a member of the ensemble from 2003 to 2006. Following her debut at La Scala in 2002 as Diane in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide, she sang the part of the Inès in Donizetti’s La favorite at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2003. With a repertoire that includes works by composers such as Haydn, Mozart, Salieri, Beethoven, Bizet, Wagner and Strauss, Genia Kühmeier has performed at, among others, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, at San Francisco and Los Angeles Opera, De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, the Semperoper in Dresden, and at the Salzburg Festival and the RuhrTriennale. As a concert soloist with leading orchestras and major conductors such as Sir Colin Davis, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Mariss Jansons, Marc Minkowski, Sir Roger Norrington, Seiji Ozawa and Kirill Petrenko, and also as a lieder singer, the soprano has performed all over the world in renowned musical capitals and festivals. Genia Kühmeier’s most recent appearance with the Berliner Philharmoniker was in mid-April 2012 in the role of Micaëla in a concert performance of Bizet’s opera Carmen, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.

Andrew Staples sang as a boy in the choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London before studying music at King’s College in Cambridge. With a grant from the Britten Pears Foundation, he continued his studies at the Royal College of Music in London and at the Britten International Opera School; he is currently a student of Ryland Davies. With a repertoire which includes works by Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, Britten and Tavener, Andrew Staples is a guest artist at leading opera houses and concert halls, and at renowned festivals. He made his debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London as Jaquino (Fidelio); since then he has appeared several times in different roles there. He has also sung at the National Theatre in Prague, the Hamburg State Opera, Lyric Opera Chicago and at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) at the Salzburg Festival. On the concert stage, Andrew Staples has sung with orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, working with conductors such as Andrew Manze, Semyon Bychkov and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In Berliner Philharmoniker concerts, where the singer made his debut in early February 2009, Andrew Staples was to be heard in June 2016 in performances of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.

The German bass Georg Zeppenfeld studied singing at the Detmold and Cologne Universities of Music, completing his training with Hans Sotin. Following engagements in Münster and Bonn, he became a permanent member of the ensemble at the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden in 2001. Many guest appearances have taken him to the stages of renowned opera houses and festivals all over Europe and the US, where he had a great success as Sarastro in Mozart’s Zauberflöte at his debut with San Francisco Opera in 2007, conducted by Claudio Abbado, and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2009. His repertoire includes the major bass roles of Mozart, Wagner and Verdi as well as Mussorgsky’s Pimen (Boris Godunov), Prince Gremin (Eugene Onegin) and the Water Goblin (Rusalka). On the concert platform, Georg Zeppenfeld has focused in particular on the works of Bach, Handel, Haydn and the great late-Romantic oratorios. He works with conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Daniele Gatti, Andris Nelsons and Christian Thielemann and has performed with orchestras including the Munich Philharmonic, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Concentus Musicus Wien and the Orchestre National de France. As soloist with the Berliner Philharmoniker he gave his debut in September 2010 under the direction of Pierre Boulez in Igor Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol. His last appearance with the orchestra was in in June 2012 in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, conducted by Herbert Blomstedt. In 2015 Georg Zeppenfeld was given the title of Kammersänger of the Semperoper in Dresden.

The Swedish Radio Choir is one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles. This professional ensemble of 32 members is an example of a choral culture in which each singer represents an individual with his own sound identity and plays an independent role in relation to the ensemble. The extensive repertoire includes a wide range of genres and works, from Early to Contemporary music. Founded in 1925, Eric Ericson took over the choir in 1952 (until 1982), and under his direction, led it to international fame and renown. In 2007, Peter Dijkstra became chief conductor and musical director. In addition to concerts with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and its own a cappella series in Stockholm, the choir regularly works together with Valery Gergiev and Daniel Harding on recordings and tours. The choir appeared regularly with the Berliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Claudio Abbado from 1992, most recently at the 2000 European Concert in the Berlin Philharmonie as the chorus in the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Daniel Harding (photo: Julian Hargreaves)