October 10, 2018

When the Berlioz Series 2018 – their transatlantic tour in anticipation of the composer’s 150th anniversary – took Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique to London’s BBC Proms last month, the critical response was euphoric. Their performance scored five-star reviews in The Times of London, the Arts Desk, and the Financial Times, which concluded: “Berlioz has no idea what he missed.” Now the series sees the orchestra and Gardiner – the winner of more Gramophone Awards than any other living artist – return to the States for concerts in Chapel Hill, NC (Oct 10), Ann Arbor, MI (Oct 12), and at New York’s Carnegie Hall (Oct 14 & 15).

In Chapel Hill and at Carnegie Hall, the conductor leads performances of Harold en Italie, La mort de Cléopâtre, excerpts from Les Troyens, and the Corsaire overture, with solo appearances from mezzo-soprano Lucile Richardot and violist Antoine Tamestit. This program may also be heard in the “Carnegie Hall Live” series on WQXR 105.9 FM, New York’s sole dedicated classical station, which will broadcast the New York performance to listeners in the city’s metropolitan region and beyond on October 14 at 3pm ET.

In Ann Arbor and in their second Carnegie concert, Gardiner and the orchestra offer a pairing of the celebrated Symphonie fantastique and Lélio, the far rarer work that Berlioz considered its sequel, featuring tenor Michael Spyres, bass-baritone Ashley Riches, the National Youth Choir of Scotland, and beloved British actor Simon Callow as the narrator.

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Gardiner is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, as well as of the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, collectively known as the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras (MCO). In the lead-up to the U.S. tour dates, the MCO are pleased to announce the appointment of Dinis Sousa as Assistant Conductor. Sousa’s appointment represents a significant landmark for the ensembles, which have been solely directed by Gardiner since he founded the Monteverdi Choir some 54 years ago.

In his new role, Sousa will play a major part in upcoming projects with the MCO, besides leading new educational and outreach projects. The London-based Portuguese conductor and pianist is the Founder and Artistic Director of Portugal’s Orquestra XXI, and has already worked closely with Gardiner, both with the MCO and with other ensembles, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, and Tonhalle Orchester Zürich. At the 2016 BBC Proms, Sousa co-conducted the Monteverdi Choir in a critically acclaimed performance of Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette that was televised on BBC4.

Sousa comments:

“I am honoured to be the first recipient of this new post with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras. John Eliot’s artistic vision is uncompromising in its ambition, leading to revelatory performances and unforgettable musical experiences for all involved. His family of singers and orchestral players has built up a trust over decades which has enabled them to forge this unique identity. I feel privileged to become part of this family and I know that this opportunity will enable me to develop as a musician and, I hope, to contribute to the work of the ensembles.”

Gardiner adds:

‘The appointment of Dinis Sousa as Assistant Conductor of our three ensembles gives me great pleasure. It links in with our Apprentices Programme that has been in existence since 2007 and it acknowledges the impressive talent of this outstanding, versatile young musician. It further cements the ties he has established with us over the past two seasons, in which he has fulfilled a number of tough assignments – like conducting the offstage choir and the onstage semi-chorus in Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette at the 2016 Proms, acting as my assistant in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with the Berlin Philharmonic, as well as on a number of projects with the LSO. Dinis is already launched on a career as a conductor with his own ensemble in Portugal, and I wish him all success.”

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Berlioz Series 2018
Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Artistic Director and Conductor
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

Repertoire:
Overture to Le Corsaire
La mort de Cléopâtre
   Mezzo-soprano soloist: Lucile Richardot
From Les Troyens, Part II: “Chasse Royale et Orage”; “Ah! Je vais mourir … Adieu, fière cité”
   Mezzo-soprano soloist: Lucile Richardot
Harold en Italie
   Viola soloist: Antoine Tamestit
Symphonie fantastique
Lélio
   Tenor soloist: Michael Spyres
Bass-baritone soloist: Ashley Riches
Narrator: Simon Callow
National Youth Choir of Scotland / Christopher Bell 

Remaining tour dates: 

Oct 10
Chapel Hill, NC
Memorial Hall
Overture to Le Corsaire; Selections from Les Troyens; La mort de Cléopâtre; Harold en Italie

Oct 12
Ann Arbor, MI
Hill Auditorium
Symphonie fantastique; Lélio

Oct 14
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
Overture to Le Corsaire; Selections from Les Troyens; La mort de Cléopâtre; Harold en Italie

Oct 15
New York, NY
Carnegie Hall
Symphonie fantastique; Lélio

Oct 20
Amsterdam, Holland
Concertgebouw
Overture to Le Corsaire; Selections from Les Troyens; La mort de Cléopâtre; Symphonie fantastique

Oct 21
Versailles, France
Château de Versaille; L’Opera Royale
Overture to Le Corsaire; Selections from Les Troyens; La mort de Cléopâtre; Symphonie fantastique 

Oct 22
Paris, France
Philharmonie de Paris
Overture to Le Corsaire; Selections from Les Troyens; La mort de Cléopâtre; Symphonie fantastique

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© 21C Media Group, October 2018