François­-Xavier Roth and Isabelle Faust

François-Xavier Roth (photo: Marco Borggreve)

Claude Debussy and Paul Dukas admired Richard Wagner’s music in their youth, which resulted in fascinating blends of French flavour and Wagnerian echoes in their early works. François­-Xavier Roth, general music director of the city of Cologne, demonstrates that in this concert with Debussy’s mystical cantata La Damoiselle élue and Dukas’s overture Polyeucte. In addition, we will also hear Dukas’s most popular symphonic poem, the vivid Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The soloist for the concert is Isabelle Faust, who will interpret Béla Bartók’s late Violin Concerto No. 2: a work rich with melodies, in which the violin seems to tell a story, sometimes tender, sometimes intense.

Berliner Philharmoniker

François-Xavier Roth conductor

Isabelle Faust violin

Anna Prohaska soprano (replacing Julie Fuchs)

Adèle Charvet mezzo-soprano

Ladies of the Rundfunkchor Berlin

Paul Dukas

Polyeucte: Overture

Béla Bartók

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 2, Sz 112

Isabelle Faust violin

Claude Debussy

La Damoiselle élue

Anna Prohaska soprano (replacing Julie Fuchs), Adèle Charvet mezzo-soprano , Ladies of the Rundfunkchor Berlin choir

Paul Dukas

L'Apprenti sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)

Dates and Tickets

Biographies

François-Xavier Roth

François-Xavier Roth is a musical visionary – an immensely versatile conductor who, paradoxical as it may sound, specialises in the universal. His repertoire ranges from early Baroque to the most recent present, and includes the core symphonic repertoire as well as exciting discoveries. Roth initially studied flute at the Conservatoire de Paris and played in the Orchestre de Paris before changing to conducting. Since 2015, he has been chief conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra and general music director of the city of Cologne, where he has caused a sensation with exceptionally innovative programming. The charismatic maestro founded the original sound ensemble Les Siècles, which he he has led to international success in a very short time – also because he relies on historical research in his explorations of music, which alternate between delicate subtlety and tempestuous power. Depending on the work, and often during a concert, the members of Les Siècles change their instruments to match the respective repertoire. This increases the effort involved, but also the enjoyment of the result, as well-known works can appear in a new light with sharpened colours. Roth is principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and artiste associé of the Philharmonie de Paris, and in 2019 he became artistic director of the Atelier Lyrique in Tourcoing, where Les Siècles is based.

Isabelle Faust

When asked whether she prefers to play old or new music, Isabelle Faust answers with a disarming smile: “Both!” In doing so, the world-class violinist approaches each work with a deep understanding of its context in music history and repeatedly sets standards with her performances: historically well-informed and with appropriate instruments – even in works such as Béla Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto, in which “the most diverse styles and different epochs are combined and brought into harmony” (Faust). And whether Baroque or Modern classics, Isabelle Faust’s violin sound “electrifies, but it also has a disarming warmth and sweetness that makes the music’s hidden lyricism audible” (The New York Times). The artist, who comes from near Stuttgart, regularly appears with the world’s leading orchestras – she made her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in January 2009 as the soloist in Schumann’s Violin Concerto. At the same time, Isabelle Faust, who has also made an outstanding contribution to the performance of contemporary music, is an equally gifted chamber musician – it is no coincidence that she had a teacher in Christoph Poppen, the long-time primarius of the Cherubini Quartet, who also understood chamber music as a central component of his own artistic work. A great partnership in this field connects her, for example, with the pianist Alexander Melnikov.

Julie Fuchs

Julie Fuchs is a singer who knows how to “wrap the audience around her finger” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung). The lyric coloratura soprano “with a sensuous timbre” (Diapason) not only has a voice that gets under the skin with feather-light agility and lyrical warmth; she also has an overwhelming stage presence, whether in opera or concerts: “I find something in every character I can personally connect to”. The French singer, who appears at the world’s leading opera houses such as the Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and the Opéra national de Paris as well as on the international concert stages, studied violin and acting in Avignon and graduated with honours in singing from the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris. She was second prize winner at the Operalia competition and has already won prizes three times at the prestigious Victoires de la Musique classique, most recently in 2021 as “Artiste lyrique de l'année”. From 2013 to 2015, she was a member of the ensemble of the Zurich Opera House, to which she regularly returns and where she can still be heard in roles such as Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Juliette Capulet (Roméo et Juliette) and Norina (Don Pasquale). Her appearances as a concert singer include at the Salzburg Festival, the BBC Proms, the Chorégies d’Orange and the Philharmonie Berlin.

Adèle Charvet

How did she get into singing? “It kind of just happened. According to my parents, I was singing before I said my first words.” Even as an eight-year-old, Adèle Charvet wanted to be a singer. Today, with her soft, balanced voice and “amber timbre” (Forum Opéra), captivating stage presence with “genuine emotion” and “unwavering virtuosity” (Olyrix), the young French mezzo-soprano delights audiences at the Netherlands and Paris National Operas, the Royal Opera House in London and the Opéra national de Bordeaux, among others. As a concert singer, she has appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of François-Xavier Roth at the Barbican Centre, and appeared at the Festival Berlioz in La Côte-Saint-André under the baton of Nicolas Chalvin with the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie. Adèle Charvet studied singing at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse in Paris and formed a duo with pianist Florian Caroubi, with whom she won several prizes. The newcomer was also nominated as a “Révélation” in the “Artiste lyrique” category at the 2020 Victoires de la musique classique. She took part in the Verbier Festival’s opera and lieder academy, where she attended master classes given by Thomas Hampson, Thomas Quastoff, Sir Thomas Allen and Anna Tomowa-Sintow and was awarded the “Yves Paternot” honorary prize as the most promising musician of the Festival Academy.

Rundfunkchor Berlin

Brilliant, flexible, transparent, versatile, present – these are the words used by concert critics to describe the sound of the Rundfunkchor Berlin. “There is probably no other choir that does so many different things so well and that can deal with such a broad repertoire and such different formats,” says Gijs Leenaars, chief conductor and artistic director of the choir since the 2015/16 season. The Rundfunkchor Berlin, founded in 1925, is a partner of major orchestras and conductors thanks to its outstanding abilities and versatility. It has also enjoyed a continuous collaboration with the Berliner Philharmoniker since the early 1990s. Joint projects include famous staged performances of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew and St John Passions with Sir Simon Rattle and Peter Sellars. The collaboration also continued under chief conductor Kirill Petrenko with concerts of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to mark his inauguration. The Rundfunkchor Berlin is also frequently requested by the orchestra as a partial ensemble, as a men’s or women’s choir. The bright, luminous and radiant timbre of the women's voices is ideal for the shimmering sound worlds of Debussy’s “lyrical poem” La Damoiselle élue.

Isabelle Faust (photo: Felix Broede)

Paul Dukas

Networker, Composer and “one-hit-wonder”