Simon Rattle conducts Dvořák, Stravinsky, Strauss, Bernstein, Shostakovich, and Brahms — With Joyce DiDonato

Gala from Berlin 2017

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Program notes

Every year, the extraordinary Berliner Philharmoniker puts on a winter gala like only they can, inviting some of the most coveted names in the business to help them ring in the new year at the Berliner Philharmonie. In this stellar 2017 edition, the great Sir Simon Rattle leads the legendary ensemble—alongside superstar American mezzo Joyce DiDonato!

This year’s striking and deliciously varied program is a rousing song-and-dance act, as ballet scores by Stravinsky and Shostakovich blend seamlessly with lively dances by Dvořák, Brahms, and Bernstein. The dynamic DiDonato shines brightly in magnificent Lieder by Richard Strauss and an excerpt from a rarely-heard work by Bernstein, A White House Cantata, adapted from the Broadway musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—a notorious flop owing to its “clunky” and “overburdened” book, but certainly not to the witty and enchanting music, which shows “Bernstein at his most exuberant and all-embracing” (The New York Times), allowed to breathe freely in the cantata.

Photo © Salva López

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