Performance Friday, November 16, 2012 | 7 PM

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
The Monteverdi Choir

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
In the hands of Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his period-instrument ensemble, Beethoven takes on a distinctive vibrancy and jubilant excitement that leaves audiences breathless. Last season, they brought four of Beethoven’s symphonies to Carnegie Hall, and on this concert they return with The Monteverdi Choir for the monumental Ninth and its celebrated Ode to Joy.


  • Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique'
    The Monteverdi Choir
    Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Artistic Director and Conductor
  • Elisabeth Meister, Soprano
  • Jennifer Johnston, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Michael Spyres, Tenor
  • Matthew Rose, Bass


  • Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt
  • Symphony No. 9


  • Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

    The Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique was founded by Sir John Eliot Gardiner in 1989 with the aim of bringing to the music of the 19th and early-20th centuries an equivalent stylistic fidelity and intensity of expression characteristic of his renowned period-instrument orchestra, the English Baroque Soloists.

    From its inception-in performances and a recording of Brahms's Ein deutsches Requiem-the ORR won plaudits internationally, notably for its interpretation of the works of Beethoven, which it performed extensively and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon in the 1990s. In 2011, the orchestra returned to this repertoire for the first time in nearly 20 years, with a successful tour of Beethoven symphonies in Europe and the US.

    The orchestra has been acclaimed for its interpretations of all the major early Romantic composers, starting with Berlioz. The ORR performed and recorded his Symphonie fantastique in the hall of the old Paris Conservatoire, where the very first performance took place in 1830. In 1993, together with The Monteverdi Choir, the orchestra gave the first modern performances of the newly rediscovered Messe solennelle. Ten years later, they joined forces to perform L'enfance du Christ at the BBC Proms, as well the first complete staged performances in France of Berlioz's masterpiece Les Troyens at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

    Other critically acclaimed initiatives by the ORR have included a project entitled Schumann Revealed, given at the Barbican in 1997, that led to recordings of the complete Schumann symphonies and Das Paradies und die Peri. This was followed a decade later by Brahms: Roots and Memory, given at the Salle Pleyel and the Royal Festival Hall in 2007-2008, in which Brahms's four symphonies were set in the context of his most significant choral works and music of the 16th to 19th centuries that he himself transcribed and conducted. The project was recorded for the ensemble's own label, Soli Deo Gloria.

    Operas by Weber (Oberon and Le Freyschütz), Bizet (Carmen), Chabrier (L'étoile), Verdi (Falstaff), and Debussy (Pelléas et Mélisande) have been performed in new productions in France, Italy, and (some) in London.

    Recent concerts have included performances of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande at the BBC Proms and works by Brahms, Bruckner's Mass in E Minor, and Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms.   Touring engagements for 2013 will include Berlioz's La damnation de Faust and Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 8.

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    The Monteverdi Choir

    The Monteverdi Choir, founded in 1964, is famous for its passionate, committed, and virtuosic singing. Over the past 45 years, it has been consistently acclaimed as one of the best choirs in the world, noted for its ability to switch composer, language, and idiom with complete stylistic conviction. The choir is also a fertile training ground for future generations of choral and solo singers: Choir members often step out to sing solo parts, and many former choristers have gone on to spectacular solo careers. Since 2007, the Monteverdi Apprentice Scheme has added an exciting new dimension to its profile.

    The choir has undertaken a number of trailblazing tours, including the ambitious Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, during which it performed all 198 of Bach's sacred cantatas throughout Europe to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the composer's death. The entire tour was recorded by the company's own record label, Soli Deo Gloria. Another large-scale project in 2004 took the musicians on the road to Santiago de Compostela, where they performed a cappella Spanish polyphony in churches en route.

    The choir has more than 100 recordings to its name and has won numerous prizes. It regularly participates in staged opera productions, and is currently involved in a five-year residency at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, through which it appeared in Le Freyschütz (Weber), L'étoile (Chabrier), and Carmen (Bizet).

    In the past two years, the choir has sung in several performances of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner. In 2011-2012, it took part in a variety of projects across other repertoires, including-together with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique-music by Brahms, Bruckner, and Stravinsky; as well as tours and recordings of a cappella English Renaissance music and Bach Ascension Cantatas   along with the English Baroque Soloists. It also began new collaborations with the Berlin-based Mahler Chamber Orchestra (Schumann's Manfred) and the Orchestre National de France (Berlioz's Grande messe des morts).

    Future touring engagements in 2013 include Bach's St. John Passion and B-Minor Mass in Europe, and the Christmas Oratorio at the Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne. The choir's collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra continues with performances of Stravinsky's Oedipus rex.

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    Sir John Eliot Gardiner

    One of the most versatile conductors of our time, Sir John Eliot Gardiner appears regularly with leading symphony orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Czech Philharmonic. Formerly artistic director of the Opéra de Lyon, he has conducted new productions of L'étoile, Carmen, Pelléas et Mélisande, and most recently the Weber-Berlioz Le Freyschütz at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. His most recent appearance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, was with Rigoletto in April 2012. In July, he finished the season with performances of Berlioz's Grande messe des morts at the Festival de Saint-Denis with the Orchestre National de France and The Monteverdi Choir.

    Acknowledged as a key figure in the early music revival of the past four decades, Mr. Gardiner is the founder and artistic director of the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, English Baroque Soloists, and The Monteverdi Choir, recently voted best choir in the world. With them, he has undertaken a number of ambitious large-scale tours. Most recently, he opened the Salzburg Festival 2012 with a performance of Haydn's Die Schöpfung with The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists. Their touring engagements in 2013 include performances of Berlioz's La damnation de Faust in Europe and Buenos Aires,   and Bach's Christmas Oratorio at the Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne.

    The extent of Mr. Gardiner's repertoire is illustrated by more than 250 recordings he has made for major record companies and by numerous international awards, including most recently Gramophone's Special Achievement Award for live recordings of Bach's complete church cantatas.

    In recognition of his work, Mr. Gardiner has received several international prizes, and honorary doctorates from the University of Lyon, New England Conservatory of Music, and University of Cremona. In 1992, he became an Honorary Fellow of both King's College London and the Royal Academy of Music, and in 2007-2008 a Visiting Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1990 and a Knight Bachelor in the 1998 Queen's Birthday Honours. In April 2008, he was awarded the Royal Academy of Music / Kohn Foundation's prestigious Bach Prize. He was nominated as a Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1996 and made Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 2010.

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  • Elisabeth Meister

    The 2011-2012 season saw British soprano Elisabeth Meister in the title roles Aida and Lucrezia Borgia, as well as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser for Teatro Municipal de Santiago. In addition, she performed First Lady in Die Zauberflöte and covered the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos for Lyric Opera of Chicago. The 2012-2013 season includes performances for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Helmwige and cover for Sieglinde in Die Walküre, Third Norn in Götterdämmerung, Ker in The Minotaur, and cover for the title roles in Gloriana and Turandot

    A former member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Ms. Meister's roles included Pale Lady in The Gambler, Fox in The Cunning Little Vixen, High Priestess in Aida, Costanza in L'isola disabitata, First Lady in Die Zauberflöte,  and Dama in Macbeth. In addition, she covered the leading roles in Der Rosenkavalier, Aida,  and Anna Nicole, as well as Polina in The Gambler and Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes

    Ms. Meister's concert repertoire includes Dvorˇák's Stabat Mater; Elgar's Caractacus, The Dream ofGerontius,  and The Kingdom; Haydn's Die Schöpfung  and Nelson Mass; Mahler's  Symphony No. 8; Mendelssohn's Elijah; Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor  avnd Requiem; Orff's Carmina Burana;  Rossini's Petite messe solennelle and Stabat Mater; Tippett's A Child of Our Time; Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony;  and Verdi's Requiem, among many other works.  

    Ms. Meister was born in Bristol and was educated at the Backwell School before moving to London to train at the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She sang with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and Welsh National Opera choruses before continuing her development at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice, where she studied with Dennis O'Neill. She continues her studies at the Royal Opera House with Paul Farrington and Andrew Watts. 

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  • Jennifer Johnston

    The young dramatic mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston is a BBC New Generation Artist, and was named by BBC Music Magazine as a Rising Star and the Financial Times as the Face to Watch in Opera. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including second prize in the Montserrat Caballé International Singing Competition, two Susan Chilcott Scholarships, and a Wingate Scholarship.

    Ms. Johnston has appeared in operas at the Salzburg Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Opéra de Lille, Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts, Scottish Opera, and Opera North.

    Ms. Johnston has performed with many of the world's greatest orchestras, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, The Hallé, The English Concert, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the batons of Bernard Haitink, Jaap van Zweden, Robert Spano, Leonard Slatkin, Thomas Dausgaard, Martyn Brabbins, and Alondra de la Parra. Her repertoire spans the centuries, from Bach's St. Matthew Passion and Handel's Messiah to Verdi's Requiem, Mahler's Second and Third symphonies, and Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius, Berio's O King, Andriessen's De Staat, and Stravinsky's Pulcinella.

    A noted recitalist, Ms. Johnston has appeared at the Cheltenham, City of London, Perth, and Aldeburgh festivals and broadcasts regularly on Radio 3, partnered by Graham Johnson, Malcolm Martineau, Alisdair Hogarth, and Joseph Middleton. Her growing discography includes Britten songs with Martineau for Onyx Classics (2011) and Thuille songs with Middleton for Champs Hill Records (due for release in 2013).

    Ms. Johnston's engagements in the 2012-2013 season include Second Norn in Götterdämmerung at the Bavarian State Opera and Munich Opera Festival, Jocasta in Oedipus rex with the London Symphony Orchestra for Sir John Eliot Gardiner's 70th birthday in London and Paris, her solo recital debut at the Wigmore Hall with Joseph Middleton, and a tour of Europe and the USA, including Haydn's Missa in tempore belli, Handel's Messiah, Britten's Spring Symphony, and Bach's B-Minor Mass.

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  • Michael Spyres

    Michael Spyres was born in Mansfield, Missouri, where he grew up in a family of musicians. He began his studies in the US and continued them at the Vienna Conservatory.

    In October 2011, Mr. Spyres performed at Teatro alla Scala in Milan as Rodrigo in Rossini's La donna del lago, conducted by Roberto Abbado. Further engagements during the 2011-2012 season included a concert tour of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony  with the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir John Eliot Gardiner in London, Birmingham, Munich, Hannover, and Hamburg; Candide for his debut at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma; his first Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Minnesota Opera; Masaniello in Auber's La muette de Portici in Paris (Opéra-Comique co-production with La Monnaie in Brussels); Liszt's Faust Symphony in Liège; Berlioz's Requiem  with Sir John Eliot Gardiner at the Festival de Saint-Denis; and Baldassare in Rossini's Ciro in Babilonia at the Caramoor Festival and for his debut at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro.

    In 2012-2013, Mr. Spyres makes his role debut as Faust in Berlioz's La damnation de Faust at the Vlaamse Opera, directed by Terry Gilliam. He will also be heard in Beethoven's Missa solemnis and  Ninth Symphony  in Orange County, Valencia, and Madrid. His other engagements include Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola at Palm Beach Opera; Masaniello in La muette de Portici in Bari; Verdi's Requiem  in Porto; Candide at the Vlaamse Opera; Rodrigo in Rossini's La donna del lago for his debut at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; and Arnold in Guillaume Tell at the Rossini in Wildbad festival (including a CD and DVD recording for Naxos). He will also sing a concert in Moscow in February 2013.

    Mr. Spyres has recorded Rossini's La gazzetta, Otello,  and Le siège de Corinthe for Naxos. His first recital CD-including arias by Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, Meyerbeer, Bizet, and Puccini-was released in 2011.

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  • Matthew Rose

    British bass Matthew Rose studied at the Curtis Institute of Music before becoming a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

    For the Royal Opera, Mr. Rose's roles have included Polyphemus (Acis and Galatea), Masetto (Don Giovanni), Haraschta (The Cunning Little Vixen), and Colline (La bohème). In 2006, he made an acclaimed debut at the Glyndebourne Festival as Bottom (A Midsummer Night's Dream)-for which he received the John Christie Award-and has since sung the role at Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera, Opéra National de Lyon, and Houston Grand Opera. Other roles include Nick Shadow (The Rake's Progress) at the Glyndebourne Festival and for the Gothenburg Opera; Leporello (Don Giovanni) at the Glyndebourne Festival and in Santa Fe; and Mozart's Figaro for the Welsh National Opera, Opéra de Lille, and Bavarian State Opera.

    Mr. Rose's engagements this season include his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Colline; Sparafucile (Rigoletto) for the Royal Opera, and Claggart (Billy Budd) at the English National Opera. His future engagements include returns to the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera, and Glyndebourne Festival, as well as his debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

    In concert, Mr. Rose has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival, BBC Proms, and Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. His future engagements include the London Symphony Orchestra with Sir Colin Davis, Daniel Harding, and Michael Tilson Thomas; Los Angeles Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel; Staatskapelle Dresden with Sir Charles Mackerras; BBC Symphony Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis, Jiří Bělohlávek, and Marc Minkowski; London Philharmonic Orchestra with Yannick Nézet-Séguin; Boston Symphony Orchestra with Charles Dutoit; and Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with Antonio Pappano. His recital appearances include the Brighton, Chester, and Cheltenham international festivals; Amsterdam's Concertgebouw; and London's Wigmore Hall.

    Already a prolific recording artist, Mr. Rose's releases include Walter (Guillaume Tell); Der Steuermann (Tristan und Isolde); Ratcliffe (Billy Budd), which won a Grammy Award; bel canto arias with Natalie Dessay and Evelino Pido; Handel's Messiah with Stephen Cleobury and the King's College Choir, Cambridge; Tippett's A Child of Our Time; Berlioz's L'enfance du Christ; and Liszt lieder with Iain Burnside. His roles on DVD include Nick Shadow (The Rake's Progress) and Mr. Flint (Billy Budd) from Glyndebourne, and Polyphemus (Acis and Galatea) from Covent Garden.

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Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (Molto vivace)
Archiv Produktion

At a Glance

This concert presents two daring choral-orchestral specimens of Beethoven's late style. Though brief, the seldom-performed cantata Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage) is a harbinger of Beethoven's Ninth, one of the most epic and innovative of all symphonies. Beethoven's large-scale fusion of vocal and symphonic writing—from the abyss of nothingness in the opening to the "Ode to Joy" in the finale—profoundly influenced not only the Romantic movement, but Mahler and modern composers as well. For this performance, Sir John Eliot Gardiner uses period instruments and brings back the bracing tempos many believe Beethoven intended.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Weekends at Carnegie Hall.