Robert Beale’s 2010 Picks

Posted on January 11, 2010

IT was always going to be a year of disparate events musically in 2009 – many composer anniversaries, and endings and beginnings in our musical life.

Now let’s look to the future, as our three city orchestras – along with Bridgewater Hall – have a mammoth composer celebration, stretching from January to June.

They’re performing Mahler’s 10 symphonies in order – with Das Lied Von Der Erde included, too – Manchester Camerata play that in Schoenberg’s chamber-orchestra version. A big education project is to be built on the theme of ‘Songbook of the Earth’, involving 14 schools, and there’s a special Mahler day at the Bridgewater Hall on January 30, called ‘Eternal Blue Horizons’.

Ten major composers have been commissioned by the BBC, the Hallé and the Camerata to write new works to go alongside nine of the Mahler symphonies, plus Das Lied. Each is to have a world premiere in it, too.

Mahler’s eighth symphony, the ‘Symphony of a Thousand’, is being played by both the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic orchestras, with the Hallé Choir, Hallé Youth and Children’s Choirs, the City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus, on May 2.

There’s much to get excited about apart from Mahler in 2010, too – from the Royal Northern College of Music’s chamber music festival, from January 7 to 10, through the joint Camerata-RNCM production of Belshazzar on January 23, and Manchester Chamber Concerts Society’s presentation of Mark Padmore in Schubert’s Winterreise (February 15), and the season finale on March 15, with the Navarra and Sacconi string quartets joining forces in Strauss and Brahms, followed by Mendelssohn’s Octet.

We will see visits to the Bridgewater Hall by The Sixteen (January 8), Murray Perahia in recital (February 15), the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra (March 1), the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (May 6) and Sir James Galway (May 12).

And opera takes its place, too, with Opera North bringing La Bohème, Cosí Fan Tutte and Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore to The Lowry from February 23 to 27, the Royal Northern College of Music performing Mozart’s La Clemenza Di Tito in March, and Opera North back with La Bohème, DvoÅ™ák’s Rusalka and Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda from June 16 to 19.

For the rest of summer and the autumn most details must wait – but we know the flagship productions at the Buxton Festival will be Verdi’s Luisa Miller and Cornelius’s The Barber Of Baghdad, with a concert performance of Mozart’s Idomeneo in Richard Strauss’s adaptation (the festival begins on July 7), and that Clonter Opera is presenting Rossini’s La Cenerentola from July 24.

It looks like it’s going to be a good year.

Robert Beale

Published on 6 January 2010 in City Life: