Tuesday, 2 October 2012


With the pace picking up at the Musikverein and Konzerthaus, not to mention Wien Modern, October is the month when the Viennese season hits its stride. Wien Modern is where the bulk of the month’s contemporary interest lies and I won’t relist events here (check out this post), but the Klangforum’s new Europa Global series falls outside of that (Spain was last night and Austria is on the 30th) and there are busy autumn programmes to be found at the echoraum, Alte Schmiede, St. Ruprecht, and ÖGZM (Orgelherbst). At the Konzerthaus, contemporary subscription series beginning this month include Mario Formenti’s Nouvelles Aventures (with the ensemble recherche on the 10th), PHACE in residence (Varèse, Xenakis and Lindberg on the 17th), and Im Loth (Lorenz Raab on the 22nd). On the 12th PHACE’s pizza delivery concept comes to Wien with sixteen 20 minute house calls which, self-defeatingly, have been bookable so far only to those on certain email lists; opening on the 9th, ZOON Musiktheater has a new show, Der Rorschach Test, on at the Theater Nestroyhof Hamakom.

Pierrot Lunaire turns 100 this month and there is much Schoenberg-related activity at the Konzerthaus and the Arnold Schönberg Center: Barbara Sukowa and members of the Berlin Philharmonic provide a Mozart Saal performance of the work and Uri Caine’s Pierrot-inspired moonsongs on the 17th, while the ensemble reconsil celebrates its tenth anniversary with the Ode to Napoleon and works by reconsil collaborators Roland Freisitzer and Diego Collatti on the 4th. Making that the second performance of the Ode in three days – really ASC, of all Schoenberg’s works, two Odes this close? – the Artis Quartet plays at the Schoenberg Haus in Mödling tomorrow and at the Musikverein on Wednesday. At the centre there is also a Christiane Oelze Liederabend on the 24th.

Talking of duplicate programming you might not want to missa, John Eliot Gardiner and Philippe Jordan go toe to toe for three nights from the 11th in one of those Musikverein/Konzerthaus showdowns where more thought might be given to the counter-productivity of mutual thunder-stealing. At the Konzerthaus, yesterday’s opening night is repeated today with Martin Grubinger and the Wiener Symphoniker and there’s a further Symphoniker programme (Schumann piano concerto and Bruckner 4) with Nelson Freire on the 18th and 19th. One way to honour 100 years of the Konzerthaus might be to pretend that Strauss never wrote his Festliches Präludium, but there’s that, bits of Parsifal and Lulu, and 4’33’’ with Cornelius Meister and the RSO Wien on the 11th. On Thursday the Orquesta Nacional de España and Patricia Petibon offer a first half of bonbons (Petibonbons?) followed by La Mer, and on the 30th there is a sadly dwindling opportunity to hear a still independent Stuttgart RSO with Stéphane Denève and Jan Lisiecki (Ravel, Mozart and Strauss). There are Liederabende from Angelika Kirchschlager on Friday, and Kirchschlager joined by Ian Bostridge on the 11th, and Quartettabende from the Belceas on the 8th, Hagens on the 12th (another Beethoven cycle just after the Belceas finished one in June, why?), Mosaïques on the 21st, and the Artemis Quartet on the 31st, programming mainstream for all. This month’s must-see Klavierabend is Elisabeth Leonskaja and Alexei Lubamov on the 12th (Brahms, Berg, Herschkowitz, Schoenberg, Stravinsky); there is also Alexei Volodin with Schubert, Beethoven, Chaikovsky and Kapustin on the 22nd.

The big event at the Musikverein is the premiere of this new Penderecki concerto which I bitched about the other day (with Janine Jansen and Julian Rachlin on the 22nd); the night before Jansons and the BRSO offer Shostakovich’s first piano concerto (Bronfman) and Brahms 4. Also visiting is the Israel Philharmonic on the 17th and 18th with Mehta and assorted warhorses (Hindemith, Mozart, Strauss, Schubert, Mahler); and the Pittsburgh SO with a predictable Dvořák 9 and a Gershwin piano concerto from Buchbinder (?!). That’s on the 29th, Manfred Honeck conducts. Should you wish to hear perverse things done to Haydn symphonies, Harnoncourt and the Concentus obliges on the 13th and 14th. The Wiener Symphoniker is having an incredibly busy month what with those two Konzerthaus programmes, the Jordan Missa Solemnis, and a further five concerts at the Musikverein: on the 5th, 6th and 7th with Fedoseyev, Guilmant’s gothic monstrosity of a first organ symphony and Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures; on the 14th, Marin Alsop with Prokofiev’s second piano concerto and another Dvořák 9 (this happens so often to Americans it’s as if Angyan thinks they don’t know anything else); and for the national day on the 25th, Vassily Petrenko and Miah Persson with Brahms, Strauss and Prokofiev. The Tonkünstler’s concerts look more interesting: on Sunday with Orozco-Estrada and Lisa de la Salle, Cerha’s Vier Skizzen, Ravel’s G major concerto, and the Symphonie fantastique; on the 19th and 21st, Saint-Saëns’ fifth piano concerto with Stephen Hough, who plays it better than anybody, and other populist bits of Fauré, Debussy and Ravel conducted by Jun Märkl; and the all-American Wien Modern programme on the 28th. This month’s Wiener Philharmoniker subscription concert shouldn’t be missed either: Rattle conducts Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri on the 20th and 21st. Singing in that is Bernarda Fink, who also provides the Musikverein’s Liederabend highlight of the month tomorrow and Thursday; chamber music highlights come from the Capuçons on the 11th, and Kavakos and Ax on the 15th. There is more, including this Ensemble Kontrapunkte programme of downsized Mahler, Weill, and Schoenberg, but we have the Staatsoper yet to consider.

But first the Theater an der Wien: I saw Kirill Petrenko looking lively at the Wiener Philharmoniker’s recent TadW concert, but in the meantime there’s been some kind of stage accident (Bühnenunfall, reports the TadW with no further details) and the return of his back problems. The same thing also happened at last season’s Iolanta/Francesca da Rimini, sadly. So he’s out for Il Trittico and Israeli conductor Rani Calderon in; Damiano Michieletto directs and promising casting includes Patricia Racette and Marie-Nicole Lemieux. Prima is on the 10th. Oper konzertant this month is Vivaldi’s Tito Manlio and on the 14th the Arnold Schoenberg Chor’s 40th anniversary will be marked with a four hour gala concert. I’ll have something out on why they deserve every minute of those four hours and observations about what the TadW has meant for the choir closer to the time. In a week’s time the TadW officially makes the Kammeroper its new home with an Eröffnungskonzert followed by the first new production, of Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimono. With Gianni Schicchi on at the main house there’s a whiff of Geyer to the thematicization, though it smells more harmless than some of his recent ideas.

So, the Staatsoper. Being wrapped up from last month as we speak is a Calleja Butterfly, Boris, and a Breslik/Schrott L’Elisir with the ever up-and-coming Chen Reiss. In store is a Mattei Don Giovanni and, because Dominique Meyer ran out of magic beans, various things that have no hope without that kind of casting: Fidelio, Figaro, La Clemenza. Actually Clemenza has Magdalena Kožená but all the magic beans in the world couldn’t redeem that production. Lastly, taking over from a Babypaused Diana Damrau, Jonas Kaufmann sings Die schöne Müllerin on the 23rd.


  1. Hmmmm ... the photo makes me think that what is on the menu of our musical Oktoberfest is hard to digest - schwere Kost, as we locals say ...

  2. Isn't that what Schnapps was invented for?