“This year’s festival offers an incredible number of highlights,” says Michael Tyden, festival director and cofounder of the Baltic Sea Festival. “We are particularly pleased to have so many great soloists this year, and, not least, several fantastic orchestras. Environment and leadership are, alongside music, the pillars of the festival, and we are pleased to see that the Baltic Sea Festival continues to be an arena for cultural Exchange and dialogue about the future of our inland sea, the Baltic.”
The Baltic Sea Festival opens on the 28th of August with the first ever performance of new, Swedish chamber opera the Performance, with text by Katarina Frostenson and music by Sven-David Sandstrom. The action takes place at the Salpetriere hospital in Paris, where three women perform to world-renowned physician Jean-Martin Charcot, as part of their treatment. The three women are portrayed by Jeanette Kohn, Katija Dragojevic and Miriam Treichl, Tre Donne, who are also the initiators of the project. The music is performed by an ensemble from the Royal Swedish Orchestra, led by conductor Mattias Bohm. The Performance was commissioned by Swedish Radio, and is a collaboration between the Baltic Sea Festival, Tre Donne and the Royal Swedish Opera.
The same night, the Baltic Sea Festival’s artistic director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, will step onto the podium with one of the world’s currently most sought-after pianists, Chinese 29-year-old Yuja Wang. With the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, they will perform Messiaen’s rarely heard Turangalîla-Symphonie and Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
On August 29th, the festival will welcome Polish Baltic Philharmonic, founded in Gdańk in 1945, and now a Polish national symbol with an international reputation. To start, Divertimento by the leading Polish Composer Grażna Bacewicz, will be performed. Young rising star Alena Baeva will be the soloist in Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. The evening will end with the Swedish premiere of Henryk Gorecki’s Symphony No. 4, Tansman Episodes.
Mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg is known across the world for her interpretations of baroque works. On the 30th of August, she will perform a programme of Handel and Britten with the Swedish Radio Choir and one of the western world’s most famous baroque orchestras, Concerto Koln. The conductor will be Olof Boman, whose creative programme choices where old and new music meet have become his distinguishing mark.
Dmitri Shostakovich would have had his 110th birthday this year, and on August 31st, the composer will be celebrated with an evening with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, led by Valery Gergiev. Shostakovich wrote the cheerful Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1957 for his son’s 19th birthday, and Symphony No. 4, which, due to political reasons, was not performed until 1961, in 1936.
On September 1st, the prominent Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, led by Valery Gergiev, will visit the festival again. The programme is yet to be announced.
September 2nd will offer film music. Prokofiev originally wrote Alexander Nevsky for Eisenstein’s film of the same name in 1938. Later on, he re-arranged the music, and made it into a cantata, the action of which takes place among crusaders in the 13th century. Lawrence Renes will conduct the Royal Swedish Orchestra, the Royal Swedish Opera Choir and the Swedish Radio Choir. The soloist will be Russian opera star mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina. Harmonielehre, was written in 1985 by one of the America’s most prominent and acclaimed composers, Johan Adams.
The successful collaboration with Musikaliska continues. On September 3rd, the centenary of composer Carin Malmlof-Forssling will be celebrated, and two works by recipients of the prestigious grant in her name –Daniel Nelson (2015) and Andrea Tarrodi (2016) –will be performed, as well as two of her own works. Celebrated chamber ensemble Musica Vitae from Vaxjo, will provide the music, and will also give the first performance ever of a shortened version of Britta Bystrom’s Games For Souls, with Malin Broman, musical director of the ensemble, as the violin soloist.
Sinfonietta Riga became an audience favourite when they visited the Baltic Sea Festival in 2014. Now, they return with Latvian Radio’s Choir and four fantastic soloist singers, and on September 3rd, they’re performing music by Mozart, Part, Haydn and Vasks with conductor Sigvards Kļva. It will be an atmospheric and Beautiful concert with music celebrating the Virgin Mary and her significance as a symbol of peace and love.
As usual, the last day of the festival will offer something extra special. The Finnish National Opera will come to the Baltic Sea Festival for the first time for this grandiose closing number of the Baltic Sea Festival –Esa-Pekka Salonen will conduct a concert performance of Richard Strauss’ expressive Elektra with top class singers. Swedish world soprano Nina Stemme will sing the title role.
Music, environment and leadership
Several seminars about the festival’s three pillars music, environment and leadership will be held during the week. The seminar programme, whose theme is freedom of expression, will be presented in the spring. Collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature WWF, the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Raoul Wallenberg Academy carries on, as does fund-raiser “Help us help the Baltic Sea” in collaboration with Radiohjalpen.
The Baltic Sea Festival 2016 takes place over eight days, August 28th –September 4th. All concerts are held in the Berwaldhallen Hall, except The Performance at the Royal Opera, and Release at Musikaliska. Ticket sales begin on March 15th.
For interviews, press photos and press accreditation, please contact Carin Balfe Arbman, Press Officer for the Baltic Sea Festival, phone 46-70 633 35 08, email@example.com