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The Philadelphia Orchestra

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
You don’t need dancers and scenery to make ballet and opera thrilling when you have the electrifying Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the podium. Some of Tchaikovsky's most glorious melodies make his dramatic Swan Lake one of his most timeless ballets. While best known for his orchestral music, Bartók’s opera Bluebeard’s Castle is a riveting one-act psychological drama. The opera’s vocal writing is marvelously expressive and its sumptuous orchestral music is stunning, such as the hair-raising moment when Bluebeard’s kingdom is revealed to his new wife, and also the profound sadness of the lake of tears in the opera’s climactic scene.


The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Music Director and Conductor
Michelle DeYoung, Mezzo-Soprano
John Relyea, Bass


TCHAIKOVSKY Selections from Swan Lake

BARTÓK Bluebeard's Castle

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission.

Pre-Concert Talk

Pre-concert talk starts at 7:00 PM in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage with Ara Guzelimian, Provost and Dean, The Juilliard School.

At a Glance

Despite centuries of marvelous music connected with dance before him, when Tchaikovsky wrote Swan Lake, his first full-scale ballet, he created a masterpiece that set new standards and led to his subsequent ballets The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. While Tchaikovsky looked to France for his models, later composers, such as Stravinsky, saw his accomplishment as opening new possibilities. Tonight we hear selections from Swan Lake, in which an evil sorcerer turns the Princess Odette into a swan, including a series of ethnic dances as part of a great ball.

Bartók’s searing one-act opera Bluebeard’s Castle features just two singers—Bluebeard and his latest wife, Judith—in an intense psychodrama. The piece unfolds as the seven doors of Bluebeard’s castle open to reveal a series of horrors and sorrows endured by his previous wives. Judith would be well advised not to open the last door, but … 


The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and ...

The Philadelphia Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world, renowned for its distinctive sound, desired for its keen ability to capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences, and admired for a legacy of imagination and innovation on and off the concert stage. The orchestra is inspiring the future and transforming its rich tradition of achievement, sustaining the highest level of artistic quality, but also challenging--and exceeding--that level, by creating powerful musical experiences for audiences at home and around the world.

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin's connection to the orchestra's musicians has been praised by both concertgoers and critics since his inaugural season in 2012. Under his leadership the orchestra returned to recording, with two celebrated CDs on the prestigious Deutsche Grammophon label, continuing its history of recording success. The orchestra also reaches thousands of listeners on the radio with weekly Sunday-afternoon broadcasts on WRTI-FM.

Philadelphia is home, and the orchestra continues to discover new and inventive ways to nurture its relationship with its loyal patrons at its home in the Kimmel Center, and also with those who enjoy the orchestra's area performances at the Mann Center, Penn's Landing, and other cultural, civic, and learning venues. The orchestra maintains a strong commitment to collaborations with cultural and community organizations on a regional and national level, all of which create greater access and engagement with classical music as an art form.

The Philadelphia Orchestra serves as a catalyst for cultural activity across Philadelphia's many communities, building an offstage presence as strong as its onstage one. With Mr. Nézet-Séguin, a dedicated body of musicians, and one of the nation's richest arts ecosystems, the orchestra has launched its HEAR initiative, a portfolio of integrated initiatives that promotes Health, champions music Education, eliminates barriers to Accessing the orchestra, and maximizes impact through Research. The orchestra's award-winning Collaborative Learning programs engage more than 50,000 students, families, and community members through programs such as PlayINs, Side-By-Sides, PopUP Concerts, free Neighborhood Concerts, School Concerts, and residency work in Philadelphia and abroad.

Through concerts, tours, residencies, presentations, and recordings, The Philadelphia Orchestra is a global ambassador for Philadelphia and for the US. Having been the first American orchestra to perform in China (at the request of President Nixon in 1973), the ensemble today boasts a new partnership with Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts and the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, and in 2017 will be the first-ever Western orchestra to appear in Mongolia. The orchestra annually performs at Carnegie Hall while also enjoying summer residencies in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Vail. For more information on The Philadelphia Orchestra, please visit philorch.org.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now confirmed to lead The Philadelphia Orchestra through the 2025-2026 season, an extraordinary and significant long-term commitment. Additionally, he becomes music director of the Metropolitan Opera beginning with the 2021-2022 season. Yannick is an inspired leader of the orchestra. His intensely collaborative style, deeply rooted musical curiosity, and boundless enthusiasm have been heralded by critics and audiences alike. The New York Times has called him "phenomenal," adding that under his baton, "the ensemble, famous for its glowing strings and homogenous richness, has never sounded better." Highlights of his fifth season include an exploration of American sounds, with works by Leonard Bernstein, Christopher Rouse, Mason Bates, and Christopher Theofanidis; a Music of Paris festival; and the continuation of a focus on opera and sacred vocal works, with Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle and Mozart's C-Minor Mass.

Yannick has established himself as a musical leader of the highest caliber and one of the most thrilling talents of his generation. He has been music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra since 2008, and artistic director and principal conductor of Montreal's Orchestre Métropolitain since 2000. He was also principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008 to 2014. He has made wildly successful appearances with the world's most revered ensembles and has conducted critically acclaimed performances at many of the leading opera houses.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Deutsche Grammophon (DG) enjoy a long-term collaboration. Under his leadership, The Philadelphia Orchestra returned to recording with two CDs on that label. He continues fruitful recording relationships with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra on DG, EMI Classics, and BIS Records; the London Philharmonic Orchestra for the LPO label; and the Orchestre Métropolitain for ATMA Classique.

A native of Montreal, Yannick studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at Montreal's Conservatory of Music and continued his studies with renowned conductor Carlo Maria Giulini; he also studied choral conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt at Westminster Choir College. Among Yannick's honors are an appointment as Companion of the Order of Canada, Musical America's 2016 Artist of the Year, Canada's National Arts Centre Award, the Prix Denise-Pelletier, and honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec, Curtis Institute of Music, and Westminster Choir College. To read Yannick's full bio, please visit philorch.org/conductor.

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Michelle DeYoung

Mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2012. She has appeared with many of the world's leading ensembles, including the New York and Los  ...

Mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung made her Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 2012. She has appeared with many of the world's leading ensembles, including the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics; the Vienna and Royal philharmonic orchestras; the Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, BBC, and São Paulo symphony orchestras; San Francisco Symphony; the Cleveland, Minnesota, Royal Concertgebouw, MET, and Bavarian State orchestras; the MET Chamber Ensemble; London's Philharmonia Orchestra; Orchestre de Paris; and Staatskapelle Berlin. She has also appeared at the festivals of Ravinia, Tanglewood, Aspen, Cincinnati, Saito Kinen, Edinburgh, Salzburg, and Lucerne.

Ms. DeYoung has sung at many of the world's great opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera, La Scala, Bayreuth Festival, Staatsoper Berlin, Hamburg State Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Théâtre du Châtelet, Opéra de Nice, Theater Basel, and Tokyo Opera. She was also named the 2015 Artist in Residence at Wolf Trap Opera. Her many performances include the title roles in Saint-Saëns's Samson et Dalila and Britten's The Rape of Lucretia; Fricka, Sieglinde, and Waltraute in Wagner's Ring cycle; Kundry in Wagner's Parsifal; Venus in Wagner's Tannhäuser; Brangäne in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde; Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos; Amneris in Verdi's Aida; Marguerite in Berlioz's La damnation de Faust; Dido in Berlioz's Les Troyens; Gertrude in Thomas's Hamlet; and Jocasta in Stravinsky's Oedipus rex. She also created the role of the Shaman in Tan Dun's The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera.

Ms. DeYoung's recording of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder and Symphony No. 3 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony was awarded the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album. She also won 2001 Grammys 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 of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Bernard Haitink. Her first solo disc was released on the EMI label.

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John Relyea

Canadian bass John Relyea has appeared in many of the world's most celebrated opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera (where he is an alumnus  ...

Canadian bass John Relyea has appeared in many of the world's most celebrated opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera (where he is an alumnus of the Merola Opera Program and a former Adler Fellow), Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Opéra de Paris, Teatro alla Scala, Bavarian State Opera, Vienna State Opera, Theater an der Wien, Mariinsky Theatre, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. This season he returned to the Met for Rossini's Guillaume Tell and debuted at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. He has performed the title roles in Verdi's Attila, Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, and Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle; Zaccaria in Verdi's Nabucco; Bertram in Meyerbeer's Robert le diable; Pagano in Verdi's I Lombardi; Raimondo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; Colline in Puccini's La bohème; Don Alfonso in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia; Don Basilio in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia; and Alidoro in Rossini's La Cenerentola.

Mr. Relyea made his Philadelphia Orchestra debut in 1998. This season he appears in concert with the New York Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, and the Dallas and NDR symphony orchestras. He performs regularly with orchestras that include the Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Swedish Radio symphony orchestras; the Cleveland, Philharmonia, and Scottish Chamber orchestras; and the Berliner Philharmoniker. He has also appeared at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Lucerne, and Mostly Mozart festivals, and at the BBC Proms. In recital, he has been presented in Weill Recital Hall and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wigmore Hall in London, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, and on the University of Chicago Presents series.

Mr. Relyea's recordings include Verdi's Requiem (LSO Live); Mozart's Idomeneo with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (EMI); Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with Sir Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (EMI); and the Metropolitan Opera's DVD presentations of Mozart's Don Giovanni, Bellini's I puritani, Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Deutsche Grammophon), and Verdi's Macbeth (Metropolitan Opera HD Live series). He is the winner of the 2009 Beverly Sills Award and the 2003 Richard Tucker Award.

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