On August 26, 2016, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra played their first concert with their brand-new music director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, the first woman ever to hold the post. The following evening, before a worldwide audience at the BBC Proms, they performed a marvelously varied and deeply moving program, featuring astounding Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan in an extraordinary work composed specially for her.
Maestra Mirga and her ensemble begin the evening with Mozart's Magic Flute Overture, a charged rendition that "fizzes and sparkles with a clarity and subtlety we rarely hear in such a wellworn opener" (Birmingham Post). Next comes the song cycle let me tell you by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen, a depiction of the tragic Ophelia from Hamlet using only the 480 words afforded to the character by Shakespeare. This remarkable piece, composed for and dedicated to Hannigan herself, was voted the greatest classical work of the 21st century by The Guardian. Finally, Gražinytė-Tyla leads the CBSO in Tchaikovsky's epic Fourth Symphony, famously inflected with a "Fate" motif that culminates in a grand and triumphant apotheosis.
Linus Fellbom (stage direction), William Morgan...
London Symphony Orchestra