London Symphony Orchestra opera and choral highlights

The 2009/10 London Symphony Orchestra season has a rich operatic and choral offering, including 4 concert performances of two operas and a number of major choral works. Highlights include Strauss’ Elektra, Verdi’s Otello, Haydn’s The Seasons, James MacMillan’s LSO commissioned St John Passion, Poulenc’s Gloria and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms with Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev, LSO President Sir Colin Davis, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Xian Zhang. Soloists include Gerald Finley, Matthias Goerne, Eva Johansson, Torsten Kerl, Christopher Maltman, Sally Matthews and Miah Persson.

Sir Colin Davis conducts two concert performances of Verdi’s Otello on Thursday 3 and Sunday 6 December. Davis is joined by Torsten Kerl in the title role, with Gerald Finley as Iago, Allan Clayton as Cassio, Anne Schwanewilms as Desdemona and Eufemia Tufano as Emilia.

On Tuesday 12 and Thursday 14 January Valery Gergiev conducts the Orchestra in a concert performance of Strauss’ Elektra, with Eva Johansson in the title role. The cast includes Matthias Goerne as Orest, Felicity Palmer as Klystemnaestra, Angela Denoke as Chrysothemis and Ian Storey as Aegisth.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner on Sunday 7 February. Soloists soprano Rebecca Evans, mezzo soprano Wilke te Brummelstroete, tenor Steve Davislim and bass-baritone Vuyani Mlinde join Gardiner’s own Monteverdi Choir in this performance which is coupled with the composer’s Symphony No.1.

Originally commissioned by the LSO for Sir Colin Davis’ 80th birthday in 2008, James MacMillan’s St. John Passion is revived on Sunday 28 February as part of an LSO Artist Portrait of the composer to celebrate his 50th birthday. Davis conducts this performance with baritone Christopher Maltman and the London Symphony Chorus.

Stravinsky’s formidable Symphony of Psalms is performed on Wednesday 12 and Wednesday 19 May, conducted by Valery Gergiev. The work is coupled with the composer’s Symphony in C and the world premiere of Macmillan’s Violin Concerto (12 May) and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G (19 May) with soloists Vadim Repin and Hélène Grimaud.

On Wednesday 16 June, 2010 Xian Zhang conducts the LSO in a performance of Poulenc’s Gloria, with soprano Sally Matthews. This idiosyncratic choral work includes an irreverent Laudemus te, inspired, he claimed, by ‘those frescoes of Gozzoli in which the angels are sticking out their tongues and also those serious Benedictine monks whom I spotted one day playing soccer.’

Haydn’s oratorio The Seasons is the final choral work performed in the LSO’s 2009/10 season. Sir Colin Davis leads the Orchestra and Chorus with soprano Miah Persson and baritone Andrew Foster-Williams on Sunday 27 June.

Tickets: £7- £32
Secure online booking at lso.co.uk (£1.50 booking fee)
Box office: 020 7638 8891 open Mon-Sat 9am – 8pm, Sun 11am-8pm (£2.50 booking fee)
In person at the Advance Box Office in the Barbican centre (Mon-Sat 9am – 9pm; Sun 12pm – 9pm)

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