Liszt: The Legend of St. Elizabeth
From the autumn of 1861, Liszt spent more and more time in Rome, where his interest turned towards church music. In 1862 he completed his first oratorio, The Legend of St. Elizabeth. Liszt already took a strong interest in the life of the Hungarian princess and Bavarian duchess during his Weimar years, and even visited her former home, the castle of Wartburg, in the company of the Grand Duke of Weimar. The Hungarian National Philharmonic will be conducted by their music director, Zsolt Hamar. The title role of the oratorio will be sung by Brigitta Kele, who made her debut at Cluj-Napoca's Romanian National Opera, regularly performs in Düsseldorf, Paris, Avignon, and Strasbourg, and was featured in the last season in the New York Metropolitan's production of La bohème. Albert Pesendorfer is one of today's most sought-after Wagner singers, who regularly performs King Marke, Hans Sachs, Hagen and Gurnemanz. Louis will be sung by the acclaimed Austrian baritone, Markus Werba. As an operatic, concert, and lied singer, he has already performed at Milan's La Scala, the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the Bavarian State Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, the Opéra National de Lyon, the Parisian Châtelet Theatre, and the New York Metropolitan Opera.
Sir Roger Norrington and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Founded in 1986, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is one of the world's freshest-sounding ensembles. As the choice of name suggests, they concentrate on works from the second half of the 18th century, though they of course also play works by earlier and later composers. Operating without a permanent conductor or artistic director, the ensemble invites the most sought-after conductors to work with them, and their frequent guests of recent times include John Butt, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Simon Rattle, Iván Fischer, and Vladimir Jurowski. They elected William Christie and Sir Roger Norrington as their honorary conductors. The orchestra comprises instrumentalists with great soloist skills, like Roger Montgomery. His horn solos, informed by the Baroque art of ornamentation and the classical culture of improvisation, have already impressed us on a number of records.
The Musical Universe of José Cura
This concert gives us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the full musical universe of José Cura - while listening to his three most significant oratorical works. While he himself conducts the Modus and Magnificat, he sings the part of Christ in Ecce homo. At this concert held to honour the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Salva Vita Foundation, Cura shares the stage with the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Choir and Children's Choir, four outstanding vocal soloists in the shape of Zita Váradi, Krisztina Simon, István Horváth and Marcell Bakonyi - and, conducting Ecce homo, Mario De Rosé. Cura wrote Ecce homo in 1989 after taking part as a member of the chorus in a performance of the St Matthew Passion. "I was literally in shock, stunned. I later conducted this work myself and Bach settled deep in my head. I decided to pass on a Biblical story of my own but I shifted to a more dramatic composition in a harsher world. After all, two thousand years ago Christ was considered a criminal.” "I was 25 years old when the Pope declared the Marian Year. My wife happened to be expecting for the third time. It occurred to me that Mary was still a teenager when she gave birth, and this whole story must certainly have been shocking for her.” The Magnificat begins with Mary sitting alone in the desert. Cura's message can be summarised by saying that, as long as a person is alone, they can achieve nothing. Collaboration is needed in order to accomplish anything. The world première of the Modus was in Prague, and the work was inspired by the Czech capital, or more precisely by mediaeval Prague. In this ten-minute piece, orchestrated by Cura himself, he summarises the inspirational impressions he has drawn from the city.