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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
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Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Saturday, October 21, 2017 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
URL Copied
Sir Antonio Pappano by Sheila Rock / EMI Classics, Barbara Hannigan by Elmer de Haas
Tragedy and rapture are the essence of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony. The storm-tossed finale’s three titanic hammer blows presaged personal tragedies in Mahler’s life, including his own mortal illness. Superstitious, he removed the third blow. But the symphony overflows with life-affirming joys as well, from peaceful memories of mountain pastures—listen for the cowbells—to the ecstatic portrait of his wife, Alma, that fills the first movement.

Part of: Mahler Symphonies and Orchestral Masterworks


Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Sir Antonio Pappano, Music Director and Conductor
Barbara Hannigan, Soprano


SALVATORE SCIARRINO La nuova Euridice secondo Rilke (NY Premiere)
MAHLER Symphony No. 6

Event Duration

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

The Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is proudly supported by Enel, Founding Partner and USA Tour Sponsor.

At a Glance

Many regard Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 as the darkest and most daunting of his nine works in the form. Certainly the violently shifting moods, maniacal marches, and devastating hammer blows support this impression. Just as he poured his most jubilant feelings into the Fifth, the composer told a friend that the Sixth expressed “the cruelties I’ve suffered and the pains I’ve felt.” Like his other symphonies, this work was considered chaotic, sprawling, or simply unplayable in his own time. Yet the more tranquil moments—the bucolic slow movement, the lyrical “Alma” theme—are as achingly beautiful as anything he wrote. What is most striking about the symphony is its closeness to the postmodern volatility of contemporary music, the constant switching from light to dark, from open-hearted song to grinding dissonance, from cosmic grandeur to vernacular triteness. In the Sixth, sublime terror co-exists with mocking triviality. Mahler was a kindred spirit who uncannily anticipated the eclecticism of the current day, and the frequency of Mahler performances suggests that they speak eloquently to the traumatic instability of our era. Also on the program is another challenging work, the cantata La nuova Euridice secondo Rilke, by Salvatore Sciarrino, commissioned by the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano in its New York premiere.


Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

The Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia was the first orchestra in Italy to devote itself exclusively to the symphonic repertoire, giving the premieres of works such as Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome. Founded in 1908, the orchestra has been conducted by some of the major musical figures of the 20th century—from Mahler, Debussy, Saint-Saëns, R. Strauss, Stravinsky, Sibelius, Hindemith, Toscanini, Furtwängler, de Sabata, Karajan, and Abbado to contemporary conductors who include Valery Gergiev, Christian Thielemann, Gustavo Dudamel, and Yuri Temirkanov. Its music directors have included Bernardino Molinari, Franco Ferrara, Fernando Previtali, Igor Markevitch, Thomas Schippers, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Daniele Gatti, and Myung-Whun Chung. Leonard Bernstein was honorary president from 1983 to 1990.

The orchestra has appeared at major music festivals that include the Proms in London, White Nights in St. Petersburg, and the Lucerne and Salzburg festivals, and it has performed in venues that have included the Philharmonie in Berlin, Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Royal Albert Hall in London, Salle Pleyel in Paris, La Scala in Milan, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and the Semperoper Dresden.

The orchestra records extensively for Warner Classics. Recent releases with Sir Antonio Pappano include Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with Angela Gheorghiu (Brit Award), Verdi’s Requiem (Gramophone Award), Rossini’s and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Anna Netrebko (Gramophone Editors’ Choice Award), Rossini’s William Tell, Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle, Verdi’s Quattro pezzi sacri, Britten’s War Requiem, and a CD entitled Rossini Overtures. A recent recording of Verdi’s Aida with Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann, and Erwin Schrott won numerous awards. Other recordings include Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Beatrice Rana, Brahms’s Violin Concerto with Janine Jansen, and
Saint-Saëns's Third Symphony and The Carnival of the Animals with Martha Argerich.


Antonio Pappano

Sir Antonio Pappano has been music director of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia since 2005; he has also been music director of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, since 2002. His past music directorships have included the Oslo Opera House, where he made his international debut, and Brussels’s Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (1991–2002).

Born in London in 1959 to Italian parents, Mr. Pappano studied piano, composition, and conducting in the US. He made debuts at the Vienna State Opera in 1993, at the Metropolitan Opera in 1997, and at the Bayreuth Festival in 1999. He has conducted many of the world’s major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic; the
Chicago and London symphony orchestras; the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras; the Berliner Philharmoniker; and the Vienna Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras. In April 2014, he made his debut at Teatro alla Scala in Milan with Berlioz’s Les Troyens.

Mr. Pappano records extensively for Warner Classics. Among his recordings are Britten’s War Requiem and Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome, Verdi’s Aida, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Beatrice Rana, Brahms’s Violin Concerto and Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with Janine Jansen, and Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Jan Lisiecki. Mr. Pappano and the
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia have recorded Nessun dorma: The Puccini Album with tenor Jonas Kaufmann, Schumann’s symphonies nos. 2 and 4, Elgar’s Symphony No. 1, and Verismo with soprano Anna Netrebko. In 2016, Mr. Pappano’s CD with mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Recording.

In 2012, Mr. Pappano was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music, and in the same year he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. In 2015, he received an honorary degree in music from the University of Rome Tor Vergata as well as the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal.

Barbara Hannigan

Soprano Barbara Hannigan divides her time between singing on the world’s major stages and conducting leading orchestras. She holds close relationships with ensembles that include the Berliner Philharmoniker, Munich Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. She has worked with prominent conductors and directors, including Rattle, Nagano, Salonen, Nelsons, Nézet-Séguin, Petrenko, Zinman, Jurowski, Pappano, Gilbert, Warlikowski, Kriegenburg, Marthaler, Mitchell, Waltz, and de Leeuw. Her commitment to contemporary music has led to collaborations with composers such as Boulez, Dutilleux, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Gerald Barry, Pascal Dusapin, and Hans Abrahamsen.

Notable operatic appearances include the title role in Lulu (La Monnaie and Hamburg State Opera), La voix humaine (Opéra de Paris), Die Soldaten (Bayerische Staatsoper), and Pelléas et Mélisande (Ruhrtriennale). She created the role of Agnès in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, which she most recently performed at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; this season she performs in Benjamin’s new work, Lessons in Love and Violence. In the 2016–2017 season, Ms. Hannigan made her debut at the Glyndebourne Festival as Ophelia in Brett Dean’s Hamlet.

In September 2017, Ms. Hannigan released her first album as a singer and conductor, titled Crazy Girl Crazy; a film titled Music Is Music, directed by Mathieu Amalric, accompanies the CD. Recent and upcoming conducting highlights include performances with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, Munich Philharmonic, and the new-music collective LUDWIG. She also appears in recital with pianist Reinbert de Leeuw in Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, as well as at the Vienna Konzerthaus.

In 2017, Ms. Hannigan created Equilibrium, a mentoring initiative for professional musicians in the first substantial phase of their careers. Their first production, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, is scheduled for the 2018–2019 season.

Ms. Hannigan’s recordings have garnered Gramophone, Edison, Victoires de la Musique, and Royal Philharmonic Society awards. Other honors include Singer of the Year (Opernwelt, 2013), Musical Personality of the Year (Syndicat de la presse française, 2012), and Germany’s Faust Award for her portrayal of Marie in Die Soldaten.

Recently appointed as a member to the Order of Canada, Ms. Hannigan has been the subject of the documentaries I’m a creative animal, produced at the 2014 Lucerne Festival, where she was Artiste Étoile; Dutch television’s Canadees podiumdier; and Mathieu Amalric’s short film C’est presque au bout du monde.


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