Performance Sunday, October 14, 2012 | 3 PM

The MET Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Michelle DeYoung has graciously agreed to perform in place of Eva-Maria Westbroek, who has cancelled her appearance due to illness.

Michelle DeYoung
has already established herself as one of the most exciting artists of her generation, appearing on many of the world’s finest opera and concert stages. Having taken on the roles of numerous Wagnerian heroines, the mezzo-soprano brings her operatic prowess to the famed composer’s Wesendonck Lieder, a song cycle that served as a study for the composer’s Tristan und Isolde. The program also features music from Tannhäuser, as well as Richard Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie.


  • The MET Orchestra
    Semyon Bychkov, Conductor
  • Michelle DeYoung, Mezzo-Soprano


  • WAGNER Overture to Tannhäuser
  • WAGNER Wesendonck Lieder (orch. Mottl/Wagner)
  • R. STRAUSS Eine Alpensinfonie



    The MET Orchestra

    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is regarded as one of the world's finest orchestras. From the time of the company's inception in 1883, the ensemble has worked with leading conductors in both opera and concert performances and has developed into an orchestra of enormous technical polish and style.

    The MET Orchestra (as the ensemble is referred to when appearing in concert outside the opera house) maintains a demanding schedule of performances and rehearsals during its 33-week New York season, when the company performs seven times a week in repertory that this season encompasses approximately 28 operas.

    Arturo Toscanini conducted almost 500 performances at the Met, and Gustav Mahler, during the few years he was in New York, conducted 54 Met performances. More recently, many of the world's great conductors have led the orchestra: Walter, Beecham, Reiner, Mitropoulos, Kempe, Szell, Böhm, Solti, Maazel, Bernstein, Mehta, Abbado, Karajan, Dohnányi, Haitink, Tennstedt, Ozawa, Gergiev, Barenboim, and Muti. Carlos Kleiber's only US opera performances were with the MET Orchestra.

    In addition to its opera schedule, the orchestra has a distinguished history of concert performances. Toscanini made his American debut as a symphonic conductor with the Met Orchestra in 1913, and the impressive list of instrumental soloists who appeared with the orchestra includes Leopold Godowsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arthur Rubinstein, Pablo Casals, Josef Hofmann, Ferruccio Busoni, Jascha Heifetz, Moritz Rosenthal, and Fritz Kreisler. Since the orchestra resumed symphonic concerts in 1991, instrumental soloists have included Itzhak Perlman, Maxim Vengerov, Alfred Brendel, and Evgeny Kissin, and the group has performed five world premieres: Babbitt's Piano Concerto No. 2 (1998), Bolcom's Symphony No. 7 (2002), Shen's Legend (2002), and Wuorinen's Theologoumenon (2007) and Time Regained (2009).

    The orchestra's high standing led to its first commercial recordings in nearly 20 years: Wagner's complete Ring cycle, conducted by James Levine. Recorded by Deutsche Grammophon over a period of three years, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, and Götterdämmerung were winners of an unprecedented three consecutive Grammy Awards in 1989, 1990, and 1991 for Best Opera Recording. Other recordings under Maestro Levine include L'elisir d'amore, Idomeneo, Le nozze di Figaro, Der fliegende Holländer, Parsifal, Erwartung, Manon Lescaut, and seven Verdi operas. Maestro Levine has also led the orchestra for recordings of Wagner overtures, Verdi ballet music, an all-Berg disc with Renée Fleming, and aria albums with Bryn Terfel, Kathleen Battle, and Ms. Fleming. The orchestra's first symphonic recordings are pairings of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition with Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps; Beethoven's "Eroica" with Schubert's "Unfinished" symphonies; and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote and Tod und Verklärung.

    Semyon Bychkov

    A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, Semyon Bychkov has been music director of the Orchestre de Paris; principal guest conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra ; principal guest conductor of Maggio Musicale, Florence; chief conductor of WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln; and chief conductor of Dresden's Semperoper. He made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera in 2004, conducting Boris Godunov and returned in 2008 for Otello-a work he conducts again with the company this season. Today's engagement marks his first concert appearance with the MET Orchestra.

    In recent seasons, Maestro Bychkov has appeared with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Munich Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, and BBC Symphony Orchestra. In the US, he is a frequent guest with the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony, and the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics. He has upcoming return engagements with each of these orchestras, in addition to conducting the Orchestre National de France, Hamburg's NDR Sinfonieorchester, Israel Philharmonic, Turin's Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Turin, Rome's Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and Tokyo's NHK Symphony Orchestra.

    At the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, he has conducted Elektra (for his debut in 2003), Boris Godunov, The Queen of Spades, Lohengrin, Don Carlo, Tannhäuser, and La bohème. He has also led Elektra, Tristan und Isolde, Daphne, and Lohengrin at the Vienna State Opera; Der Rosenkavalier at the Salzburg Festival; Un ballo in maschera and Tristan und Isolde at the Opéra de Paris; Elektra in Madrid; Tosca and Elektra at La Scala; and Jenůfa, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, and Schubert's Fierrabras in Florence.

    Among Maestro Bychkov's many recordings are Lohengrin (which was committed to disc following staged performances at the Vienna State Opera and concert performances in Cologne) and Strauss's Eine Alpensinfonie coupled with Till Eulenspiegel (which followed a series of benchmark Strauss recordings that included Ein Heldenleben and Metamorphosen, Daphne with Renée Fleming, and Elektra with Deborah Polaski). With the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, he has made recordings of works by Mahler, Shostakovich, and Rachmaninoff, as well as the complete cycle of Brahms's symphonies and the Verdi Requiem.

    More Info

  • Michelle DeYoung

    Michelle DeYoung has appeared with many of the world's leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Bavarian State Opera Orchestra, and Staatskapelle Berlin.

    She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1994 and has been heard with the company as Fricka in Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde, the Shaman in the world premiere of Tan Dun's The First Emperor, Didon in Les Troyens, and Venus in Tannhäuser. She has also appeared with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, La Scala, Berlin's Staatsoper, Opéra de Paris, Théâtre du Châtelet, and at the Bayreuth Festival.

    Ms. DeYoung's recording of Kindertotenlieder and Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony was awarded the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album. She was also awarded the 2001 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording for Les Troyens with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra. Her growing discography includes recordings with the Chicago, Pittsburgh, and BBC symphony orchestras, and Minnesota Orchestra.

    This season, Ms. DeYoung makes return appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (in Boston and at Carnegie Hall), Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and The Philadelphia Orchestra, and appears in Europe with the Finnish and Swedish radio symphony orchestras, Royal Flemish Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, and Hamburg State Opera.

    More Info


Strauss's Eine Alpensinfonie (Sonnenaufgang) 
Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra | Semyon Bychkov, Conductor

At a Glance

RICHARD WAGNER  Overture to Tannhäuser

Tannhäuser, based on medieval Germanic legend, tells the tale of its eponymous hero, a 13th-century knight and minstrel struggling with the competing merits of sacred and profane love. Its overture introduces the opera's main musical themes—representing the virtuous and spiritual fulfillment of faith and love, and the sensuous pleasures of the flesh—and forms an articulate musical illustration that requires no words to communicate Tannhäuser's dilemma.

RICHARD WAGNER  Wesendonck Lieder

The presumed affair between Wagner and Mathilde Wesendonck—the wife of the composer's wealthy patron—is the subject of much debate, but what is certain is that their mutual infatuation provided inspiration for some of Wagner's greatest music, including these five powerful, technically accomplished and beautiful songs. In the melodramatic, all-devouring emotion of their texts (written by Mathilde) and the yearning, chromatic intensity of their musical language, these five songs point directly toward the composer's ultimate paean to forbidden and transformative love, Tristan und Isolde.

RICHARD STRAUSS  Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64

For Eine Alpensinfonie, the composer's last and most extravagant symphonic poem, Strauss revisited his memory of a late summer's hike through the Bavarian Alps as a 14-year-old in 1878. Composed between 1911 and 1915, Eine Alpensinfonie—scored for an enormous orchestra of some 125-150 players, including offstage brass, a menagerie of alternate wind instruments, harps, celesta, organ, and a battery of percussion—is a dramatic and vivid musical depiction of a 24-hour Alpine climb, both ascent and descent.

Program Notes
$10 student rush tickets available in the balcony and center balcony. 
This performance is part of The MET Orchestra.