Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts Schumann and Berlioz – With Ann Hallenberg

London Symphony Orchestra

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Ann Hallenberg — Mezzo-soprano

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir John Eliot Gardiner — Conductor

Program notes

At the head of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), Sir John Eliot Gardiner explores the works of two Romantic musical geniuses: Schumann and Berlioz. The evening includes a rare performance of Genoveva Overture, from Schumann’s one and only opera, as well as Berlioz’s beloved Les Nuits d’été, featuring mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg, and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2.

The evening opens with the overture from Schumann’s dark and mercurial opera Genoveva, which shares its inspiration (and at times even its compositional language) with contemporary Wagnerian works. Accomplished Swedish mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg then takes the stage for Les Nuits d’été, Berlioz’s great setting of Théophile Gautier’s six poems on love and loss. The evening culminates in Schumann’s Second Symphony, a work indelibly marked by the composer’s personal struggle with illness. As he himself put it, “my resistant spirit had a visible influence on [the symphony], and it is through [the symphony’s composition] that I sought to fight my condition.”

Photo: Sir John Eliot Gardiner © Sim Canetty Clarke

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