Performance Sunday, February 8, 2015 | 3 PM

The MET Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Please note that Elīna Garanča is unable to perform in this concert due to illness. Carnegie Hall and The MET Orchestra are immensely grateful to Anna Netrebko for agreeing to appear in her place.

Two second symphonies: Beethoven’s rooted in the Classical era and Schumann’s quintessentially Romantic, frame daring works by strikingly original 20th-century composers. Beethoven’s genial Symphony No. 2 is highly energetic and owes much to the symphonies of Haydn, while Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 features a melancholy third-movement Adagio that has one of the most breathtakingly beautiful melodies ever written.


  • The MET Orchestra
    James Levine, Music Director and Conductor
  • Anna Netrebko, Soprano


  • BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 2
  • DVOŘÁK "Song to the Moon" from Rusalka
  • R. STRAUSS "Cäcilie," Op. 27, No. 2
  • CARTER Three Illusions
  • SCHUMANN Symphony No. 2

Event Duration

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


  • 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 as many as seven times a week in repertory that this season encompasses 26 operas.

    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 six world premieres: John Harbison's Closer to My Own Life, Milton Babbitt's Piano Concerto No. 2 (1998), William Bolcom's Symphony No. 7 (2002), Hsueh-Yung Shen's Legend (2002), and Charles Wuorinen's Theologoumenon (2007) and Time Regained (2009).

    James Levine

    Music Director James Levine has developed a relationship with the Metropolitan Opera that is unparalleled in its history and unique in the musical world today. Since his company debut in 1971, he has led nearly 2,500 performances of 85 operas at the Met, both in New York and on tour. This season at the Met, he conducts a new production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and a revival of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (both of which will be transmitted live in HD), as well as revivals of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Verdi's Ernani, and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. He also leads all three concerts of the MET Orchestra's annual subscription series at Carnegie Hall and two concerts by the MET Chamber Ensemble in Weill and Zankel halls.

    Maestro Levine founded the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in 1980, and returned Wagner's complete Ring  to the repertoire in 1989 (in the first integral cycles in 50 years at the Met). He and the MET Orchestra began touring in concert in 1991, and since then they have performed around the world, including at Expo '92 in Seville, in Japan, across the US, and throughout Europe.

    In addition to his responsibilities at the Met, Mr. Levine has been a distinguished pianist and an active and avid recital collaborator, especially in lieder and song repertoire. He began accompanying such artists as Jennie Tourel, Hans Hotter, and Eleanor Steber more than 50 years ago, and since that time has given recitals with most of the great singers of our time. From 1973 to 1993, he was music director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; became chief conductor from 1999 to 2004 of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra; and served as music director of the Verbier Festival Youth Orchestra from 2000 to 2004. From 2004 to 2011, he was music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Between 1996 and 2000, he led more than a dozen concerts on the Three Tenors World Tour, and he was conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the soundtrack of Disney's Fantasia 2000. He has conducted every major orchestra in America and Europe. 

    More Info

  • Anna Netrebko

    Anna Netrebko is currently appearing in the Metropolitan Opera premiere of Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, with a limited run of performances through February 21. This season's engagements for the soprano also includeLady Macbeth in Macbeth in Rome and last fall at the Met, the title role of Anna Bolena at the Vienna State Opera and in Zurich, and Mimì in La Bohème at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Since making her Met debut in 2002 as Natasha in War and Peace, she has returned regularly to the company in the title roles of Anna Bolena, Manon, and Lucia di Lammermoor, as Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore, Norina in Don Pasquale, Antonia in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Donna Anna and Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Mimì and Musetta in La Bohème, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Elvira in I Puritani.

    Born in Krasnodar, Russia, Ms. Netrebko has sung at all the world's leading opera houses and festivals. Notable engagements include Violetta in La Traviata and Mimì at the Salzburg Festival, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, and Covent Garden; Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival and Covent Garden; the title role of Giovanna d'Arco at the Salzburg Festival; Ilia in Idomeneo and Gilda with Washington National Opera; Lucia and Juliette with Los Angeles Opera; Micaëla in Carmen, Mimì, and Manon with the Vienna State Opera; and numerous roles with St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre.

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Schumann's Symphony No. 2 (Adagio espressivo)
Berliner Philharmoniker | James Levine, Conductor
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36

Beethoven’s evolution as a symphonist was swift; only three years separated the completion of his still very Classical, Haydnesque First Symphony and that of the iconoclastic, revolutionary “Eroica,” which charted a new path not only for Beethoven, but for all Western music. In between, in late 1801 and 1802, the composer wrote his Symphony No. 2, which bridges the wide stylistic gulf between the works that bracket it on either side.

ELLIOTT CARTER  Three Illusions

Carter was an intellectual titan whose music ranged from neoclassical to thoroughly and thornily avant-garde, and everything in between. Among the 20th and 21st centuries’ most prolific, accomplished, and influential composers, he was one of America’s greatest musical figures. Each of the Three Illusions is a response to a seminal piece of the literary canon—“Micomicón” to Don Quixote, “Fons Juventatis” to Roman mythology, and “Utopia” to Thomas More’s work of the same name.

ROBERT SCHUMANN  Symphony No. 2 in C Major, Op. 61

Although the Second Symphony was the first major work Schumann composed after emerging from a mental breakdown that struck in August 1844, it is not glum, despairing music. In fact, three of the symphony’s four movements are in the sunny key of C major, and though there are moments of uncertainty and shadow, the music does not broadcast its composer’s psychosis. This music clearly shows the ongoing evolution of Schumann’s symphonic style—including recognition for his symphonic forebears, chiefly Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert—as well as his love and gratitude for his wife Clara, to whom he owed much of his recovery.

Program Notes
This performance is part of The MET Orchestra, and Sunday Afternoons.