‘Wozzeck’ highlights Salonen, Philharmonia Orchestra

Courtesy PhotoMusical great: Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts London’s Philharmonia Orchestra in various programs in Berkeley this week.

Courtesy PhotoMusical great: Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts London’s Philharmonia Orchestra in various programs in Berkeley this week.

Describing a partly staged performance of Alban Berg’s opera “Wozzeck” in London, British classical music critic Gavin Dixon asked: “How do Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia achieve such superhuman levels of searing intensity? And … how do they sustain it, without significant interruption, for the duration of an entire concert?”

The London-based Philharmonia Orchestra, one of the world’s most distinguished groups, will play the 90-minute piece — which Dixon called “a truly exhilarating, emotionally draining, experience” — on Saturday in Berkeley.

#link_box { width: 150px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #8A0808; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 12px; text-align: center; } #link_box h2 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 10px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

The concert is part of a four-day Cal Performances residency by the internationally renowned Finnish composer-conductor. Salonen, 54, who has been making music for three decades, led the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1992 through 2009 before becoming the Philharmonia’s principal conductor and artistic adviser.

“Wozzeck,” based on German playwright Georg Büchner’s drama about a naive, poor man who is hounded to a tragic end, represents one of the earliest and most prominent examples of atonality. With its stark and gripping story, text and music, Berg’s almost century-old opera is as modern and dramatic as anything in the genre.

In Berkeley, Johan Reuter sings the title role. The cast includes Angela Denoke as Marie, Hubert Francis as the Drum Major, the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus and members of the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir.

Local student musicians — 25 instrumentalists and 30 in the chorus — will tour with the Philharmonia as it goes on to Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall and New York’s Avery Fisher Hall.

“These kinds of experiences for our UC Berkeley students are life-changing,” says Matías Tarnopolsky, director of Cal Performances.

The Salonen-Philharmonia residence in Berkeley begins at 8 p.m. Thursday in Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley campus with a concert of four works by Salonen, who will introduce them. On Friday in Zellerbach Hall, Salonen leads the Philharmonia in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.” On Sunday, the program is Mahler’s Symphony No. 9.

artsEsa-Pekka SalonenmusicPhilharmonia OrchestraPop Music & Jazz

Just Posted

A large crack winds its way up a sidewalk along China Basin Street in Mission Bay on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s sinking sidewalks: Is climate change to blame?

‘In the last couple months, it’s been a noticeable change’

For years, Facebook employees have identified serious harms and proposed potential fixes. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have rejected the remedies, causing whisteblowers to multiple. (Eric Thayer/The New York Times)
Facebook’s problems at the top: Social media giant is not listening to whistleblowers

Whistleblowers multiply, but Zuckerberg and Sandberg don’t heed their warnings

Maria Jimenez swabs her 7-year-old daughter Glendy Perez for a COVID-19 test at Canal Alliance in San Rafael on Sept. 25. (Penni Gladstone/CalMatters)
Rapid COVID-19 tests in short supply in California

‘The U.S. gets a D- when it comes to testing’

Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo led a late-game comeback against the Packers, but San Francisco lost, 30-28, on a late field goal. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)
The Packers beat the Niners in a heartbreaker: Don’t panic

San Francisco is no better and no worse than you thought they were.

A new ruling will thwart the growth of solar installation companies like Luminalt, which was founded in an Outer Sunset garage and is majority woman owned. (Philip Cheung, New York Times)
A threat to California’s solar future and diverse employment pathways

A new ruling creates barriers to entering the clean energy workforce

Most Read