Aldeburgh Festival 2018 celebrates Britten, America and the centenary of Leonard Bernstein
World Premiere of Emily Howard’s new opera To See The Invisible on the opening weekend
Artists in Residence violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, conductor John Wilson and flautist Claire Chase
Sir Bryn Terfel makes his Aldeburgh Festival debut on the final weekend
The 71st Aldeburgh Festival takes place from 8 – 24 June 2018 featuring three Artists in Residence including violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, conductor John Wilson and flautist Claire Chase who have each curated parts of the Festival. 2018 is the 70th anniversary of the festival and the year of its launch (1948) is marked in a number of events.
Britten and America
An overarching theme throughout the 2018 Festival celebrates Britten and America as well as the centenary of Leonard Bernstein. Britten and Bernstein were both composers, pianists, conductors, programme planners, educators, major media figures and towering creative leaders for their nations, and are linked but barely met each other. They sailed against prevailing winds, were celebrated and revered everywhere, and now at Snape Maltings they can be heard side by side with so many connections that resonate across the Festival. These links include Peter Grimes, W. H Auden, Revd Walter Hussey and their composing friend Aaron Copland.
World Premiere of Emily Howard’s To See The Invisible
Emily Howard’s new opera To See The Invisible is based on a short story by renowned American sci-fi writer Robert Silverberg with words by Selma Dimitrijevic and directed by Dan Ayling. The artistic trio developed the opera on a research and development residency at Snape Maltings. An Aldeburgh Festival commission and world premiere, Richard Baker conducts a cast including baritone Nick Morris (The Invisible), soprano Anna Dennis (The Other Invisible), mezzo sopranos Ann Mason (Mother/Judge) and Caryl Hughes (sister), baritone Peter Savidge (Father/Brother) and tenors Dan Norman and Nath Vale (Guards). Condemned for a “crime of coldness” by an authoritarian regime, The Invisible is cast adrift from society. All human interaction is outlawed. This life of isolation leads to strange, vicarious thrills and painful inner torment. Yet, as the lonely exile draws to a close, it is not coldness but perilous empathy with a fellow “Invisible” that risks the cycle of exclusion beginning all over again. Howard’s music embraces extremes - the eerie beauty of The Invisible’s secluded psychological spaces set against the perpetual motion of the World of Warmth. Emily Howard recently won her second British Composer Award in the Orchestral category for Torus (Concerto for Orchestra).
Artists in Residence: Patricia Kopatchinskaja
Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja is one of today’s major creative forces and has programmed the final days at Snape in collaboration with the Ojai Music Festival where she is Music Director. This is the first year of a developing relationship with the Ojai Festival. Kopatchinskaja presents two concerts with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The first on 20 June probes the fault lines between fable and reality, memory and modernity, virtuosity and expression: from Stravinsky’s dark wartime fairy tale The Soldier’s Tale and Bartók’s premonition of conflict in his Divertimento for Strings to Ligeti’s shimmering, bittersweet reinvention of the great Hungarian violin tradition in his Violin Concerto.
Kopatchinskaja is always looking for new directions. Her staged concert Bye Bye Beethoven on 22 June articulates the sense of oppression of a classical musician who in conventional programming is limited to a mostly retrospective view of musical culture. It features orchestral performances and collaborations with video and sound designers and showcases Kopatchinskaja’s imaginative curatorial flair. American composer and pianist Michael Hersch is a regular collaborator with Kopatchinskaja and she has programmed a concert of his works including UK premieres of three of the composer’s pieces on 21 June. Kopatchinskaja’s final concert on 23 June explores her native Moldovan roots with her musician parents - violinist Emilia Kopatchinskaja and cimbalom player Viktor Kopatchinski.
Artist in Residence: John Wilson
Britten and America highlights include two concerts on the opening weekend featuring the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and its Principal Guest Conductor John Wilson, who has curated these programmes and makes his Aldeburgh Festival debut. Both concerts explore Britten’s wartime experience of America, the relationships that took him there and echoes of home. The opening concert on 8 June features the Aldeburgh Festival commission and world premiere of a new song cycle arrangement, an orchestration by Colin Matthews of Britten’s Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo with tenor Robert Murray. It marries some of the most sensuous music Britten ever wrote with the full palette of orchestral colours. The programme on 9 June features the Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes which unites Britten and Bernstein, who led the opera’s American premiere as a young man and featured in his last concert. The programme also includes Bernstein’s Halil with flautist Claire Chase as soloist, Britten’s Diversions for Piano Left Hand and Orchestra and Copland’s Billy the Kid. On the opening weekend Wilson will also conduct his John Wilson Orchestra in a programme of popular and less well-known Broadway hits by Bernstein including excerpts from West Side Story, Wonderful Town, On the Town, Candide, Peter Pan, Trouble in Tahiti and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Artist in Residence: Claire Chase
American flautist Claire Chase is a soloist, collaborative artist, curator and advocate for new and experimental music. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2012 and in 2017 was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize. Density 2036 is a 22-year project begun by Chase in 2014 to commission an entirely new body of repertory for solo flute each year until the 100th anniversary of Edgard Varèse’s groundbreaking 1936 flute solo Density 21.5. For the 2018 Festival, Chase has programmed a Varèse inspired recital of music commissioned and written for her which takes place on 14 June and includes Density 21.5 as well as Poeme electronique also by Varèse and the UK premiere of Marcos Balter’s Suite from Pan.
Sir Bryn Terfel makes his debut at the Aldeburgh Festival
Baritone Sir Bryn Terfel makes his Aldeburgh Festival debut on the closing day (24 June) with a recital with pianist Malcolm Martineau in Snape Maltings Concert Hall. The programme will include music by Schubert, Copland and Britten.