Performance Friday, May 17, 2013 | 8 PM

The Philadelphia Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
When Sir Simon Rattle and Barbara Hannigan get together to perform Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, you never know what will happen. In 2010, Hannigan shoved Mr. Rattle out of the way and conducted the orchestra herself, part of a performance that perfectly “conveyed Ligeti’s parody of a secret-police chief with scalpel-edge sharpness” (The New York Times). Also featuring Beethoven’s evocative “Pastoral” Symphony and music from Berg’s Wozzeck, it’s an evening of unpredictable theatricality you won’t want to miss.


  • The Philadelphia Orchestra
    Sir Simon Rattle, Conductor
  • Barbara Hannigan, Soprano


  • WEBERN Passacaglia, Op. 1
  • BERG Three Fragments from Wozzeck
  • LIGETI Mysteries of the Macabre
  • BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6, "Pastoral"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • The Philadelphia Orchestra

    Renowned for its distinctive sound, beloved for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for an unrivaled legacy of "firsts" in music making, The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world.

    The Philadelphia Orchestra has cultivated an extraordinary history of artistic leaders in its 112 seasons, including music directors Fritz Scheel, Carl Pohlig, Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, Riccardo Muti, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Christoph Eschenbach, and Charles Dutoit (who served as chief conductor from 2008 to 2012). With the 2012-2013 season, Yannick Nézet-Séguin becomes the eighth music director of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Named music director designate in 2010, Mr. Nézet-Séguin brings a vision that extends beyond symphonic music into the vivid world of opera and choral music.

    Philadelphia is home, and the orchestra nurtures an important relationship not only with patrons who support the main season at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, but also those who enjoy the orchestra's other area performances at the Mann Center, Penn's Landing, and other venues. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association also continues to own the Academy of Music-a National Historic Landmark.

    Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, the orchestra is a global ambassador for Philadelphia and for the United States. Having been the first American orchestra to perform in China, in 1973 at the request of President Nixon, today The Philadelphia Orchestra boasts a new partnership with the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. The orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, while also enjoying a three-week residency in Saratoga Springs, NY, and a strong partnership with the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.

    The ensemble maintains an important Philadelphia tradition of presenting educational programs for students of all ages. Today, the orchestra executes myriad education and community partnership programs that serve nearly 50,000 annually, including its Neighborhood Concert Series, Sound All Around and Family Concerts, and eZseatU. 

    In February 2013, the orchestra announced a recording project with Deutsche Grammophon, in which Yannick and the ensemble will record Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Visit for more information.

    Sir Simon Rattle

    Sir Simon Rattle made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 1993, conducting Mahler's Symphony No. 9, and has been a familiar presence on the podium with the Philadelphians ever since. He has been chief conductor and artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2002. From 1980 to 1998, he was principal conductor and artistic adviser, then music director, of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, recording and touring extensively with the ensemble. Recent season highlights have included projects with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Metropolitan Opera, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

    An exclusive EMI artist for many years, Mr. Rattle has made more than 70 recordings for the label, which have received numerous international awards. Recent releases with the Berliner Philharmoniker include Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and Bizet's Carmen. Other recordings include Brahms's Requiem, which won a Grammy Award in 2008 for Best Choral Performance; Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, which won the 2009 Grammy for Best Choral Performance; Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique; Mahler's Second and Ninth symphonies;  and Bruckner's Symphony No. 9.  Withthe Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, he has recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos with Alfred Brendel.

    Born in Liverpool, Mr. Rattle studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He was knighted in 1994 by the Queen of England and has received many other distinctions in recognition of his artistic activities. Since taking up his appointment with the Berliner Philharmoniker, he has broken new ground with the educational program Zukunft@Bphil. He and the Philharmoniker were appointed international UNICEF Ambassadors, the first time the honor has been conferred on an artistic ensemble. In 2013, Mr. Rattle and the Philharmoniker begin a residency at the Baden-Baden Easter Festival, performing Mozart's The Magic Flute and a series of concerts. Highlights of upcoming seasons include opera performances in Vienna, Berlin, and London, and at the Salzburg Festival; extensive touring with the Berliner Philharmoniker; and projects with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and The Philadelphia Orchestra.


    More Info

  • Barbara Hannigan

    Soprano Barbara Hannigan makes her Philadelphia Orchestra debut with these performances. A frequent guest of the Berliner Philharmoniker, she has also appeared with most of the other leading orchestras worldwide, with such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Pierre Boulez, Reinbert de Leeuw, Vladimir Jurowski, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kurt Masur, Alan Gilbert, and Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Ms. Hannigan made her own conducting debut in 2010 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, leading Stravinsky's Renard.

    Much sought after in contemporary music, Ms. Hannigan has given more than 75 world premieres. Her operatic repertory has recently expanded to the roles of Agnes in George Benjamin's Written on Skin, created for the Aix-en-Provence Festival in July 2012 and recently performed to much acclaim at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; and Berg's Lulu at La Monnaie in Brussels. She has sung the title role in Stravinsky's Le rossignol, Gepopo/Venus in Ligeti's Le grand macabre, and Armida in Handel's Rinaldo, and she will make role debuts as Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Mélisande in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, and Marie in Zimmermann's Die Soldaten in the coming seasons. Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre, a tour de force for soprano and orchestra, has become a signature work, which she has sung-and sometimes also conducted-at the Salzburg Festival, Lincoln Center, Disney Hall, Berlin Philharmonie, Théâtre du Châtelet, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and Vienna's Konzerthaus.

    Ms. Hannigan's talent for programming has also been widely recognized, most recently in London as co-curator of the Southbank Centre's innovative festival The Rest Is Noise, based on Alex Ross's seminal book of the same name. Last season saw her undertake an acclaimed European tour with Boulez's Pli selon pli conducted by the composer. Born and brought up in Canada, Ms. Hannigan received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Toronto, studying with Mary Morrison. She continued her studies at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with Meinard Kraak and privately with Neil Semer.


    More Info


Berg's Wozzeck 
The Philadelphia Orchestra | Eugene Ormandy, Conductor
Boston Records

At a Glance

From murder and mystery to ultimate "thankful feelings after the storm," tonight's program offers a wide range of moods that span darkness to light.

Anton Webern and Alban Berg, together with their teacher Arnold Schoenberg, formed the so-called Second Viennese School, and emerged in the early-20th century as central figures in musical modernism. Webern's lush Passacaglia, Op. 1, generously displays the Romantic origins of these composers. Berg's opera Wozzeck, a brilliant transformation of Georg Büchner's searing play, made the composer's international fame upon its Berlin premiere in 1925. We hear three excerpts from the opera that Berg had presented a year earlier-a sort of preview of coming attractions.

The opposite happened in the case of Hungarian composer György Ligeti's thrilling opera Le grande macabre, which premiered in 1978. A decade later, arrangements under the title Mysteries of the Macabre were made out of the dazzling music sung by Chief of the Secret Political Police, a coloratura soprano role performed tonight by Barbara Hannigan.

The "Pastoral" is Beethoven's most explicitly programmatic symphony. He detailed his extramusical ideas in sketches and gave each of the five movements a title, tracing a walk through the country, strolling by a stream, hearing birds sing, encountering peasants dancing, and being caught in a furious downpour with thunder and lightning before the concluding "Shepherds' hymn-Happy and thankful feelings after the storm." Beethoven's ultimate aim, he said, was "more an expression of feeling than painting."


Program Notes



From the Carnegie Hall Archives: A Brief History of The Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall

The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Robert L. Turner in support of the 2012-2013 season.
This performance is part of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Philadelphia Too.