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Musical Majesty

By Jeremy D. Birch
05 Sep 2012

Kelley O'Connor
photo by Zachary Maxwell Stertz

The National Symphony Orchestra begins a new season with renowned soloists and conductors including Anne-Sophie Mutter, Kelley O’Connor and Roberta Flack.


The National Symphony Orchestra begins its 82nd season on September 30 with its annual Season Opening Ball Concert conducted by NSO and Kennedy Center Music Director Christoph Eschenbach, who has been praised by the Washington Post for keeping “the music fresh; it’s as if he were discovering it along with the listener.” Featuring the “fleet-fingered energy and poise” (The New York Times) of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy, the program also includes Beethoven’s Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus and Richard Strauss’s Suite from Der Rosenkavalier. The evening continues with an elegant dinner and dancing under a pavil- ion on the Kennedy Center’s South Plaza. In addition to being a crucial fundraiser for the Orchestra’s innovative artistic, education, and community outreach programs, this year’s cel- ebration promises to be one of the most elegant social events in our Nation’s Capital. For more information, call (202) 416-8102 or visit nationalsymphony.org/nsoball.

October 4–6 in the Concert Hall, NSO Music Director Christoph Eschenbach con- ducts mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, who brings her “vocally impassioned and daring” (The New York Times) singing to Lieberson’s Neruda Songs on a romantic program that also includes the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet and Francesca da Rimini. Kelley O’Connor says, “The Neruda Songs were Peter Lieberson’s love letter to his wife. They tell a timeless love story that yearns to be heard and it is my pleasure to be able to share it with the NSO.” On Thursday, October 4, join Christoph Eschenbach, Kelley O’Connor, and NSO Director of Artistic Planning Nigel Boon immediately following the concert for a free AfterWords discussion.

Richard Wagner said of his Wesendonck Lieder, “I have done nothing better.” October 11–13 in the Concert Hall, hear acclaimed contralto Nathalie Stutzmann sing this mas- terpiece led by Christoph Eschenbach on a program that includes Symphony No. 7 by Wagner devotee Anton Bruckner. BBC Music Magazine says, “Stutzmann’s heady mixture of raw energy, high-octane passion, and stunning vocal acrobatics works marvelously.”

NSO Pops with Roberta Flack
Over a four-decade career, DC-area native Roberta Flack’s hits “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” and “Where Is the Love” have sparked love stories and dance parties and entertained audiences and heads of state the world over. Now the Grammy Award–winning singer- songwriter pays tribute to The Beatles with her newest album Let It Be Roberta. From “The Long and Winding Road” to “Here Comes the Sun,” Roberta brings her folk, soul, and jazz styles to hits by John, Paul, George, and Ringo, as well as some of her favorite tunes in Roberta’s Back in Town, homecoming concerts with the NSO Pops conducted by Steven Reineke, October 25–27 in the Concert Hall. A “master of the art of turning large venues into intimate spaces with her soulful balladry and gospel-tinted piano arrangements” (The Washington Post), Roberta Flack will dazzle.




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