Performance Sunday, January 15, 2012 | 3 PM

The MET Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Fabio Luisi has graciously agreed to replace James Levine as conductor for this performance. Mr. Levine has cancelled his appearance as he continues his rehabilitation from a fall last September that necessitated emergency back surgery.


  • The MET Orchestra
    Fabio Luisi, Principal Conductor
  • Anthony McGill, Clarinet
  • Stephen Williamson, Clarinet
  • Renée Fleming, Soprano


  • MOZART Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622
  • MAHLER "Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft"
  • MAHLER "Liebst du um Schönheit"
  • MAHLER "Um Mitternacht"
  • MAHLER "Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder"
  • MAHLER "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen"
  • COPLAND Clarinet Concerto
  • BARBER "Give Me Some Music" from Antony and Cleopatra
  • HERRMANN "I Have Dreamt" from Wuthering Heights
  • BARBER "Do Not Utter a Word, Anatol" from Vanessa


  • 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 32-week New York season, when the company performs seven times a week in repertory that normally encompasses approximately 27 operas.

    Arturo Toscanini conducted almost 500 performances at the Met, and Gustav Mahler, during the few years he was in New York, conducted 54 Met performances. More recently, many of the world's great conductors have led the orchestra: Walter, Beecham, Reiner, Mitropoulos, Kempe, Szell, Böhm, Solti, Maazel, Bernstein, Mehta, Abbado, Karajan, Dohnányi, Haitink, Tennstedt, Ozawa, Gergiev, Barenboim, and Muti. Carlos Kleiber's only US opera performances were with the MET Orchestra.

    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 five world premieres: Babbitt's Piano Concerto No. 2 (1998), Bolcom's Symphony No. 7 (2002), Shen's Legend (2002), and Wuorinen's Theologoumenon (2007) and Time Regained (2009).

    The orchestra's high standing led to its first commercial recordings in nearly 20 years: Wagner's complete Ring cycle, conducted by James Levine. Recorded by Deutsche Grammophon over a period of three years, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, and Götterdämmerung were winners of an unprecedented three consecutive Grammy Awards in 1989, 1990, and 1991 for Best Opera Recording. Other recordings under Maestro Levine include L'elisir d'amore, Idomeneo, Le nozze di Figaro, Der fliegende Holländer, Parsifal, Erwartung, Manon Lescaut, and seven Verdi operas. Maestro Levine has also led the orchestra for recordings of Wagner overtures, Verdi ballet music, an all-Berg disc with Renée Fleming, and aria albums with Bryn Terfel, Kathleen Battle, and Ms. Fleming. The orchestra's first symphonic recordings are pairings of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition with Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps; Beethoven's "Eroica" with Schubert's "Unfinished" symphonies; and Richard Strauss's Don Quixote and Tod und Verklärung.

    In spring 1991 the orchestra, under the leadership of Maestro Levine, began concert touring. They have since traveled across the US and to Europe (including their debut at the Salzburg Festival in 2002), as well as annually to Carnegie Hall.

    Fabio Luisi

    Fabio Luisi was named principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in September 2011. He made his Met debut in 2005, leading Verdi's Don Carlo, and has since returned to the company for performances of Die Ägyptische Helena, Simon Boccanegra, Turandot, Elektra, Le Nozze di Figaro, Hansel and Gretel, Ariadne auf Naxos, Rigoletto, Tosca, Lulu, and Das Rheingold. This past summer, he joined the company for a tour of Japan, leading Don Carlo, La Bohème, and a concert with the MET Orchestra in Tokyo. He has previously conducted the MET Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on two occasions: last May with soloist Natalie Dessay and this past October. This season, Maestro Luisi appears at the Met conducting Don Giovanni, Wagner's Ring cycle, Massenet's Manon, and La Traviata.

    A native of Genoa, Italy, Maestro Luisi is currently chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony and artistic director of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. He served as general music director of the Saxon State Opera and Staatskapelle Dresden from 2007 to 2010, artistic director of the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig from 1999 to 2007, music director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande from 1997 to 2002, and chief conductor of Austria's Tonkünstler Orchestra from 1995 to 2000. He has appeared with many of the world's most renowned orchestras and opera companies, including the New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, the Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras, the Philadelphia Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Berlin's Deutsche Oper and State Opera, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2002.


    More Info

  • Anthony McGill

    Anthony McGill is principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Before joining the Met in 2004, he served as associate principal clarinet of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and on January 20, 2009, performed John Williams's Air and Simple Gifts with Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and Gabriela Montero at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. He has also appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras that include the Baltimore Symphony and New Jersey Symphony orchestras and the San Diego Symphony. In addition to today's performance at Carnegie Hall, other engagements this season include performances with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and, with his brother Demarre McGill, the world premiere of a concerto for flute and clarinet by Joel Puckett with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.

    Mr. McGill has collaborated with many musicians, including Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Gil Shaham, Midori, Mitsuko Uchida, and Lang Lang, and appeared at such festivals as Tanglewood, Marlboro, Mainly Mozart, Music@Menlo, Grand Teton, Interlochen, Music from Angel Fire, Bridgehampton, and Sarasota. He currently serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Mannes College The New School for Music, and Bard College Conservatory of Music.

    More Info

  • Stephen Williamson

    Stephen Williamson is currently principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Prior to joining the CSO, he served as principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra from 2003 to 2011, and has appeared with a wide variety of orchestras throughout his extensive career, including the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Opera. He was recently appointed principal clarinet with Japan's Saito Kinen Festival Orchestra, and this past August performed Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in Japan with the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra under Fabio Luisi. He currently serves on the clarinet faculty at Columbia University and Mannes College The New School for Music, as well as the Pacific Music Festival.

    Mr. Williamson received his bachelor's degree and performer's certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and his master's degree from The Juilliard School. He was Grand Prize Winner of the 1994 Boosey & Hawkes / Buffet Crampon First Annual North American Clarinet Competition; he has also earned awards at the Concert Artists Guild Competition and the Coleman International Chamber Music Competition.

    More Info

  • Renée Fleming

    Soprano Renée Fleming is one of the most celebrated artists of today and appears regularly in the world's leading opera houses and musical venues. Over the past few seasons, in addition to singing, she has also hosted a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts, including the Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD series and Live From Lincoln Center on PBS. Highlights of the current season include the title roles of Handel's Rodelinda at the Met, Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia at the San Francisco Opera, Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at Baden-Baden, and Arabella at both the Vienna State Opera and the Paris Opera. Additional engagements include a concert celebrating the grand opening of the new Royal Opera House in Oman, a concert with Dmitri Hvorostovsky at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Strauss's Four Last Songs with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Since making her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1991 as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Ms. Fleming has appeared with the company in more than 200 performances, including seven Live in HD presentations. A three-time Grammy winner, she most recently received the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for Verismo, a CD that features a collection of rarely heard Italian arias. Her artistry has been an inspiration to many other prominent artists, such as Chuck Close, Robert Wilson, and Francesco Clemente, and among her numerous awards are Sweden's Polar Music Prize (2008), the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur from the French government (2005), honorary membership in the Royal Academy of Music (2003), and a 2003 honorary doctorate from The Juilliard School, where she was also commencement speaker. Ms. Fleming is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of The Carnegie Hall Corporation, the Board of Sing for Hope, and the Advisory Board of the White Nights Foundation of America. In 2010, she was named the first-ever creative consultant at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Visit for more information.


    More Info


Berg Lulu Suite (Lied der Lulu. Comodo)
The MET Orchestra; James Levine, Conductor; Renée Fleming, Soprano

At a Glance

Dating from the last months of his life, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto stands as his final purely instrumental work. Like almost all of his late music for clarinet, the concerto was inspired by and written for the virtuoso Anton Stadler, a slightly seedy character and friend of Mozart’s whose artistry won universal approval and acclaim.

Though Gustav Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder are commonly performed together, the composer did not intend for them to be, as is evident from the wide variation of instrumentation and the lack of clear musical connections between songs. Mahler chose texts by Friedrich Rückert—a college professor and writer best known as an outstanding translator of Oriental poetry—that perfectly capture in music the spirit of such great German lyric poets as Goethe and Heine.

A fearsomely accomplished and complete musician, Benny Goodman was a first-rate classical player in addition to his storied exploits in jazz. He was also a powerful advocate for his instrument, and, using the money from his success as a band leader, he commissioned works for the clarinet that endure as part of the standard classical repertoire today, including Aaron Copland’s masterful 1947 Clarinet Concerto.

Best known for his Adagio for Strings, Samuel Barber also composed many other instrumental works, more than 50 songs, and three operas. Today, we hear one aria from each of his full-length operas: Antony and Cleopatra, based on Shakespeare; and Vanessa, the composer’s first opera, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1958. Bernard Herrmann’s legacy rests mainly on his music for the screen, including multiple collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock; his only opera, Wuthering Heights, was completed in 1951.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Song of the Siren - Students.

Part of