Belgian National Orchestra


14/12/2018 - 14/12/2018

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The scampering feet of impatient fairies can be heard in the Overture of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When Mendelssohn first read Shakespeare’s play, the seventeen-year-old composer was so enthusiastic that he wrote a concert overture full of the most fantastic effects.Dreams deteriorate into nightmares. The evil that lurks in all of us awakens. A wandering castle ghost reveals to Hamlet his father's murderer. The young prince is intent on revenge. In 1932 a young Shostakovich was asked to compose the music to a staged version of Hamlet. The theatre debut of Nikolaj Akimov, in which Ophelia appeared on stage as a drunk prostitute and Hamlet was portrayed as an exuberant bon vivant, developed into a national scandal. Although critics' opinions varied significantly, they all agreed on one thing: Shostakovich’s music was by far the best thing about it.Macbeth is the least frequently performed of Strauss’ symphonic poems. Craving power, General Macbeth — heavily influenced by his wife — causes a bloodbath in order to achieve his ambitions. Lady Macbeth: “Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe topful / Of direst cruelty!” Shakespeare’s direst cruelties are in good hands with piano virtuoso Herbert Schuch — winner of the London International Piano Competition — and maestro Alexander Shelley.

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