Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Here’s a rare opportunity to hear the music as Berlioz would have when the piquant winds, warm brass, and crisp strings of a celebrated period-instrument orchestra make his vibrant colors and gorgeous melodies soar even higher. Moving tales inspired by Romantic poetry and classical antiquity are set to music by a quintessentially French Romantic. Berlioz cast the viola as the protagonist in Harold in Italy, a moody and melodic work recalling Byron’s wandering hero, while two legendary queens—Dido and Cleopatra—come to life in impassioned vocal music.
Part of: Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Artistic Director and Conductor
Lucile Richardot, Mezzo-Soprano
Antoine Tamestit, Viola
Le Corsaire Overture
La mort de Cléopâtre
Selections from Les Troyens, Part II
·· "Chasse Royale et Orage"
·· "Je vais mourir"
·· Air: "Adieu, fière cité"
Harold in Italy
"Le roi de Thulé" from La damnation de Faust, Op. 24
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
Public support for Carnegie Hall Live on WQXR is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.
At a Glance
This all-Berlioz concert presents masterpieces in various genres and periods from the career of one of music’s most daring innovators, performed on the instruments for which they were written. The earliest piece, La mort de Cléopâtre, is a student work, but it already has the morbid sensuality and harmonic instability that became Berlioz’s trademarks. Judged to be too radical by the Paris Conservatoire and never published in Berlioz’s lifetime, it has become, in our time, a harrowing showpiece for mezzo-soprano. Harold en Italie—a love letter to Italy and a cross between viola concerto and symphony—is a more mellow, flowing work, though it exhibits some of Berlioz’s boldest experiments in timbre, rhythm, and color. The most mature works on the program are a spectacular ballet scene and a heart-rending aria from Berlioz’s opera Les Troyens, the culmination of his life’s work. The concert opens with Le Corsaire Overture, one of Berlioz’s most exhilarating masterworks for orchestra.
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
Founded in 1989 by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR) aims to bring the stylistic fidelity and intensity of expression of the renowned English Baroque Soloists to the music of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
From its inception, the ORR won plaudits internationally, notably for its interpretation of the works of Beethoven, which it performed extensively and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon in the 1990s. The orchestra has also mounted successful tours of Beethoven symphonies and the Missa solemnis in Europe and the US, as well as a live recording of the Missa solemnis released by Soli Deo Gloria.
The orchestra has been acclaimed for its interpretations of all the major early Romantic composers, starting with Hector Berlioz. The ORR performed and recorded his Symphonie fantastique in the hall of the Paris Conservatoire, where the very first performance of the work took place in 1830. In 1993, together with the Monteverdi Choir, the orchestra gave the first modern performances of Berlioz’s newly rediscovered Messe solennelle. They later joined forces to perform L’enfance du Christ at the Proms, as well as the first complete staged performances in France of Berlioz’s masterpiece Les Troyens, given at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
Other critically acclaimed projects include Schumann Revealed (recordings of the complete Schumann symphonies and Das Paradies und die Peri), along with operas by Weber (Oberon and Der Freischütz), Bizet (Carmen), Chabrier (L’étoile), Verdi (Falstaff), and Debussy (Pelléas et Mélisande), which were performed in new productions in France, Italy, and London.
Most recently, the ORR has turned its focus again to Berlioz, performing the Symphonie fantastique and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 at the 2015 BBC Proms, followed by performances at the Edinburgh International Festival and Festival Berlioz. The orchestra returned to the Proms in 2016 with Roméo et Juliette as part of Shakespeare 400, and in 2017 with performances of La damnation de Faust. More recently, the orchestra toured a program of Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms with Kristian Bezuidenhout.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Sir John Eliot Gardiner is founder and artistic director of the Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR). A key figure in the early music revival and a pioneer of historically informed performances, he is a regular guest of the world’s leading symphony orchestras and conducts repertoire from the 17th through 20th centuries.
The breadth of Mr. Gardiner’s repertoire is illustrated in his extensive catalog of award-winning recordings with his own ensembles and leading orchestras. Since 2005, the Monteverdi ensembles have recorded on their independent label, Soli Deo Gloria, established to release the live recordings made during Mr. Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000. His many recording accolades include two Grammy awards; he has received more Gramophone awards than any other living artist.
Mr. Gardiner has conducted opera productions at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Vienna State Opera; and Teatro alla Scala. From 1983 to 1988, he was artistic director of Opéra de Lyon, where he founded its new orchestra. Following the success in 2008 of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the Royal Opera House, Mr. Gardiner returned in 2012 to conduct Rigoletto and again in 2013 for Le nozze di Figaro, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of his Royal Opera House debut. In the fall of 2015, he again returned to conduct Orphée et Eurydice with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, co-directed by Hofesh Shechter and John Fulljames.
An authority on the music of J. S. Bach, Mr. Gardiner is the author of Music in the Castle of Heaven: A Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach, published in October 2013 by Allen Lane and awarded the Fondation Singer-Polignac’s Prix des Muses. Among the numerous awards in recognition of his work—including the Concertgebouw Prize in 2016—Mr. Gardiner holds several honorary doctorates and was awarded a knighthood for his services to music in the 1998 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
More recently, Mr. Gardiner and the Monteverdi ensembles celebrated the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth with staged performances of his three surviving operas across Europe and in the US. Recordings in 2017 included two Bach releases with Soli Deo Gloria—the Magnificat in E-flat major and St. Matthew Passion—along with the London Symphony Orchestra recording of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2, “Lobgesang.”
Lucile Richardot started singing at age 11 in a children’s choir in the east of France. Before beginning her professional career, she worked as a journalist until she was 27. She graduated in 2008 from the Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris, and in 2011 from the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Paris, where she specialized in early music and studied under Margreet Hönig, Noelle Barker, Paul Esswood, Howard Crook, Jan van Elsacker, Martin Isepp, François Le Roux, Monique Zanetti, and Jill Feldman. In 2012, she founded her own ensemble, Tictactus, with two lutenist friends.
Ms. Richardot specializes in early music and contemporary repertoire both on stage and in concerts, performing with Solistes XXI (conducted by Rachid Safir), Ensemble Correspondances (Sébastien Daucé), Ensemble Pygmalion (Raphaël Pichon) and Le Poème Harmonique (Vincent Dumestre). In 2012, she sang the complete cycle of Monteverdi’s madrigals with Les Arts Florissants in performances conducted by Paul Agnew, who later invited her to perform Bach’s St. John Passion with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2009, Ms. Richardot premiered the role of First Aunt in Philippe Boesmans’s opera Yvonne, princesse de Bourgogne, performed at the Palais Garnier and Theater an der Wien. In 2014, she was invited by Ensemble InterContemporain to perform Luigi Nono’s Omaggio a György Kurtág at The Paris Autumn Festival. More recently, she toured Europe and the US with the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras led by Sir John Eliot Gardiner in celebrated performances of Monteverdi’s opera trilogy. She also took on the role of Lisea in Vivaldi’s Arsilda, regina di Ponto, which was performed in Europe with Collegium 1704 (Václav Luks). Alongside these projects, Ms. Richardot also recorded her first solo album with Ensemble Correspondances, Perpetual Night, a collection of 17th-century English consort songs.
In 2018, Ms. Richardot sings Goffredo in Handel’s Rinaldo with Le Caravansérail and debuts at the Aix-en-Provence Festival as the Sorceress/Spirit in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
Antoine Tamestit has been praised for “a flawless technique … [that] combines effortless musicality with an easy communicative power” (Bachtrack). In addition to his peerless technique and profound musicianship, he is known for the depth and beauty of his sound, with its rich, deep, and burnished quality. His repertoire is broad, ranging from the Baroque to the contemporary, and he has performed and recorded several world premieres.
In the 2018–2019 season, Mr. Tamestit is artist-in-residence with the SWR Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart. He will tour the US with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, and perform with the London Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo.
Mr. Tamestit is a founding member of Trio Zimmermann with Frank Peter Zimmermann and Christian Poltéra. Together, they have recorded a number of acclaimed CDs for BIS Records and played in Europe’s most famous concert halls and series.
Mr. Tamestit records for Harmonia Mundi and released Jörg Widmann’s Viola Concerto in February 2018. The concerto was composed for him, and was premiered in 2015 with the Orchestre de Paris and Paavo Järvi. Mr. Tamestit’s first release on Harmonia Mundi was Bel Canto: The Voice of the Viola with Cédric Tiberghien in February 2017.
Mr. Tamestit’s other world premiere performances and recordings include Thierry Escaich’s La Nuit des chants in 2018; Bruno Mantovani’s Concerto for Two Violas, written for Tabea Zimmermann and Mr. Tamestit; and Olga Neuwirth’s Remnants of Songs. Works composed for Mr. Tamestit also include Neuwirth’s Weariness heals wounds and Gérard Tamestit’s Sakura.
Together with Nobuko Imai, Mr. Tamestit is co-artistic director of the Viola Space Festival in Japan, which focuses on the development of viola repertoire and a wide range of education programs.
Antoine Tamestit plays on a viola made by Stradivarius in 1672, loaned by the Habisreutinger Foundation.