26/09/2015 and 27/09/2015
Beethoven: Violin Romance No. 2 in F Major, Op 50
Berg: Violin concerto "To the Memory of an Angel"
Béla Bartók: Duke Bluebeard's Castle op. 11 BB 62
Featuring: Andrea Rost, Mikhail Petrenko, Kristóf Baráti
Conductor: András Keller
Born in 1916, Manon Gropius was the daughter of the widow of Gustav Mahler and the founder of Bauhaus, Walter Gropius. Max Reinhardt offered the role of First Angel to the legendary beauty in a revival of his and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s adaptation of Calderón’s The Great Theater of the World for the Salzburg Festival of 1934, although the girl’s stepfather Franz Werfel, who was then living with Alma, forbade the 18-year-old Manon from taking on the role. Just a year later, the angelic Manon was dead, which shocked many artists of the time, among them Alban Berg who was then working on a violin concerto (and the opera Lulu). He completed the violin concerto, which became his most popular work, in a month and dedicated it ‘to the memory of an angel’. In an inspired choice, music director of Concerto Budapest, András Keller, has paired this work with Bartók’s only opera, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, which is a work whose lead female role, Judit, is a similarly angelic, pure and naive being to that which Manon could have been (and who in her short lifetime was courted by numerous ‘bluebeards’). Soloist for the concerto is Kristóf Baráti, recent recipient of the Kossuth Prize, while the female role in the Bartók work that plumbs the depths of the soul is taken by Andrea Rost, also a Kossuth Prize laureate, who performs this part for the first time. Her partner playing the duke is Mikhail Petrenko.