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Ian Bostridge
Thomas Adès

Sunday, October 23, 2016 2 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
URL Copied
Introverted, melancholy, and melodic are but a few words that hint at the depth and power of Schubert’s Winterreise. This two-dozen song cycle wanders through an icy winter landscape, telling tales of alienation and loneliness. Liszt spoke of Schubert’s gift for “dramatizing lyrical inspirations to the highest degree,” and Winterreise is the quintessential example. Tenor Ian Bostridge and composer-pianist Thomas Adès performed the work together at the Barbican in England. The Telegraph wrote that it was “without doubt the most extraordinary, riveting, uncanny performance I have ever witnessed.” The duo reunites at Carnegie Hall with this towering masterpiece.


Ian Bostridge, Tenor
Thomas Adès, Piano


SCHUBERT Winterreise

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 75 minutes with no intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating. 

At a Glance

One of Franz Schubert's greatest masterpieces is his mammoth song cycle (a succession of 24 songs) entitled Winterreise, or Winter Journey, composed in 1827 on poems by a Prussian poet named Wilhelm Müller (1794–1827). In this bleakly beautiful confrontation with ultimate things, a wayfarer who has been rejected in love goes on a quest through the wintry landscape of his soul in search of reasons for his difference from other human beings.

Along the way, he ponders the nature of his journey—a symbol of life itself from Homer on—and heroically but unsuccessfully attempts to put aside his grief in order to continue living. He is tempted by inner voices proffering death in the fifth song ("The Linden Tree") but never attempts suicide, although he longs for death with increasing fervor as the journey continues. Throughout, he probes his inner self for answers to his questions about existence, and the questions finally lead to a grim epiphany in the 20th song ("The Signpost"), in which he recognizes a stark and awful fate. At the end, he sees himself in the hallucinatory image of a hurdy-gurdy player, grinding away at his instrument despite the fact that no one can hear him.

In early 19th-century Europe, songs were generally considered to be trifles intended for amateur music making at home. Schubert, his ambitions monumental from the start, would not have it that way and composed two song cycles on poetry by Müller (Die schöne Müllerin, or The Beautiful Miller Maidof 1823 is the other), whose depth and breadth are audible to all with ears, eyes, and hearts. Never again would anyone be able to say that "song" was not the equal of symphonies, operas, or string quartets in profundity.


Ian Bostridge

Ian Bostridge's international career has included performances at all the world's major concert halls and the Edinburgh, Munich, Vienna, Aldeburgh, Salzburg, and Schubertiade festivals, as well as artistic residencies at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Philharmonie Luxembourg, London's Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall, and Hamburg's Laeiszhalle.

In opera, he has performed the roles of Lysander (A Midsummer Night's Dream) with Opera Australia at the Edinburgh International Festival; Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) and Jupiter (Semele) with the English National Opera; Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), and Caliban (Thomas Adès's The Tempest) with the Royal Opera; Nerone (L'incoronazione di Poppea), Tom Rakewell (The Rake's Progress), and Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia) with the Bavarian State Opera; and Don Ottavio with the Vienna State Opera. He has also sung Aschenbach (Death in Venice) with the English National Opera and in Brussels and Luxembourg.

Recent engagements include a tour of Asia with guitarist Xuefei Yang and singing the Evangelist in a staged version of Bach's St. Matthew Passion with the Hamburg State Opera. Highlights of the 2016-2017 season include his opera debut at Milan's Teatro alla Scala as Peter Quint, an American recital tour of Schubert's Winterreisse with Mr. Adès, a staged Schubert project with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performances of Hans Zender's Winterreise in Taipei and Perth, and Britten's Curlew River in Hamburg and Madrid.

Mr. Bostridge's award-winning recordings include works by Schubert with Graham Johnson (Gramophone Award, 1996); The Rake's Progress with Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Grammy Award, 1999); works by Schumann with Julius Drake (Gramophone Award, 1998); The Turn of the Screw (Gramophone Award, 2003) and Billy Budd (Grammy Award, 2010) with Daniel Harding; and Mr. Adès's The Tempest (Gramophone Award, 2010). He has also recorded recital programs of Schubert, Wolf, and Britten with Antonio Pappano.

Mr. Bostridge has worked with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic under conductors who include Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pappano, Riccardo Muti, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Daniel Harding, and Donald Runnicles. He also sang the world premiere of Henze's Opfergang with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome under Mr. Pappano.

Mr. Bostridge was elected an honorary fellow of Corpus Christi College in 2001, received an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in 2003, and was made a Commander in the Order of the British Empire in 2004. In 2014, he was named the Humanitas visiting professor of classical music at the University of Oxford; two years later, he was awarded The Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize for nonfiction writing in recognition of his book Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession.

Thomas Adès

Composer, pianist, and conductor Thomas Adès was born in London in 1971. Among his compositions are three operas, including The Exterminating Angel, which received its premiere at the Salzburg Festival this past summer. It will also be performed at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Danish Opera, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in coming seasons. His first opera, Powder Her Face, received its premiere at the Almeida Theatre in 1995 as part of the Cheltenham Festival. The Tempest was commissioned by the Royal Opera House in 2004, with subsequent productions at the Vienna State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. His orchestral works include Asyla (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, 1997); Violin Concerto, "Concentric Paths" (Berliner Festspiele at the BBC Proms, 2005); Tevot (Berliner Philharmoniker at Carnegie Hall, 2007); In Seven Days: Piano Concerto with Moving Image (Los Angeles Philharmonic at London's Royal Festival Hall, 2008); Polaris (New World Symphony, 2011); and Totentanz for mezzo-soprano, baritone, and orchestra (BBC Proms, 2013).

Mr. Adès was recently appointed the Boston Symphony Orchestra's first artistic partner. Starting this fall, he will serve as a conductor, pianist, curator, and educator for members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra community in Boston and at the Tanglewood Festival. He also coaches piano and chamber music at the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, and guest conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, among others. He has led opera productions with the Royal Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Salzburg Festival, and Zurich Opera. Future conducting plans include Totentanz with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

From 1999 to 2008, Mr. Adès was the artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival. His many awards include the Grawemeyer Award for Asyla; the Royal Philharmonic Society's Large-Scale Composition Award for Asyla, The Tempest, and Tevot; the Ernst von Siemens Composers' Prize for Arcadiana; and the British Composer Award for The Four Quarters. His recording of The Tempest at the Royal Opera House (EMI) won the Contemporary category of the 2010 Gramophone Awards, and his DVD of the Metropolitan Opera production of The Tempest won the Diapason d'Or de l'année in 2013, a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 2014, and an ECHO Klassik Award for DVD Recording of the Year in 2014. Mr. Adès was also awarded Denmark's prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize in 2015.

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