BEIJING MUSIC FESTIVAL 2013: Tribute to the Masters
Now in its 16th year, the annual Beijing Music Festival finds itself at the forefront of numerous anniversary celebrations. First and foremost is the 200th anniversary of the births of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, two composers united in operatic stature and divided in nearly everything else. Alongside those Italian and German figures this year is another notable commemoration in the centenary of Benjamin Britten, England’s most prominent musical figure of the 20th century.
Our tributes to the above composers include a full-scale BMF co-production with the Salzburg Easter Festival of Wagner’s final tour de force, Parsifal, and semi-staged middle-period blockbusters by Verdi (La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Rigoletto) as well as a concert performance Britten’s Peter Grimes. Choral music is also a highlight this year, with Britten’s pioneering War Requiem led by Maestro Charles Dutoit and two concerts of Verdi’s choral music, including his Messa daReqiuem.
Among living composers, few have commanded as much significance in our time as Krzysztof Penderecki, now in his 80th year. The BMF revisits a 2007 landmark work—Penderecki’s Symphony No. 8, co-commissioned by the BMF—with the composer on the podium as well as an all-strings all-Penderecki concert. Looking to Chinese-born composers, we find Beijing-born Zhou Long, a familiar figure to Beijing Music Festival audiences, now celebrating his 60th birthday. Zhou’s opera Madame White Snake, a BMF success in 2010, was later awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Music. The world premiere of Zhou Long’s Nine Odes, a new BMF commission, features an internationally renowned all-Chinese cast performing an orchestral setting ofthe epic poetry of Warring States period patriotic statesman Qu Yuan.