Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Donald Runnicles Conducts Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in April
San Francisco Opera in May and June

Conductor Donald Runnicles resumes his role this spring as Principal Guest Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra when he leads performances of Mahler’s “Tragic” Symphony No. 6 on Thursday, April 23 and Friday, April 24 at the Atlanta Symphony Hall. Maestro Runnicles has a long and celebrated history in this southern city, being currently in his eighth season as Principal Guest Conductor of the orchestra, a post he will hold through the 2010-11 season. This will be his fourth engagement of the season in Atlanta , following previous visits in November, January, and February.

After his performances in Atlanta, Runnicles will return to San Francisco, where he is completing his 17th and final season as the company’s Musical Director and Principal Conductor. To celebrate his amazing career in San Francisco, the company is staging a gala concert of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, featuring an internationally renowned cast, on May 29 at 8pm in the War Memorial Opera House. The special one-night performance of this choral masterwork will feature guest appearances by soprano Patricia Racette, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, tenor Stefano Secco, and bass Andrea Silvestrelli. At the helm of this glorious evening will be Maestro Runnicles leading the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

Before concluding his tenure as Music Director in San Francisco, Runnicles will lead the company’s production of Verdi’s La traviata, featuring superstar soprano Anna Netrebko as Violetta. Opening on Saturday, June 13, the production will continue on June 16, 19, 25, 28, and 29, and July 1, 2, and 5. Although this is his final season as Music Director, Runnicles will continue to work with the San Francisco Opera, including conducting the company’s new “Ring” cycle that continues with Die Walküre next season. Since taking the directorship of the company in 1992, Runnicles has led the San Francisco Opera in over 60 productions and several premieres, including the world premiere of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic. After this season, Runnicles will start two new exciting European appointments, when he assumes his roles as the General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Before heading to Europe to assume these posts, however, Runnicles will spend the summer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming , where he will led his fourth season as Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival. The festival just announced its season schedule, with seven weeks of first-rate music making by the Grand Teton Festival Orchestra led by some of the world’s top-notch conductors and joined by several world-renowned guest artists, including soprano Christine Brewer, baritone Thomas Hampson, and cellist Lynn Harrell. Speaking about the terrific festival orchestra, Runnicles raves: “The virtuosity and power of the Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra are as breathtaking as the splendor of the Tetons themselves … . The Grand Teton Music Festival deserves to be a compulsory stop on any music lover’s summer itinerary.”

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