MUSIC DIRECTOR MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS LEADS THE SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY, SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY CHORUS, SOLOISTS AND ACTORS IN AN ALL-NEW MULTI-MEDIA PRODUCTION DIRECTED AND DESIGNED BY JAMES DARRAH.
Two-hour performance features specially curated music for Peer Gynt written by Grieg, Schnittke and Robin Holloway
SAN FRANCISCO, January 2— Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) leads the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and San Francisco Symphony Chorus in an all-new semi-staged production of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt January 17, 18 & 19 at 8:00 pm at Davies Symphony Hall. To achieve Tilson Thomas’ vision for accessing this epic drama, the production will utilize selections from music for Peer Gynt written by three composers, enhanced by original video projections, actors and theatrical elements. For these performances MTT has chosen a combination of musical excerpts written for Peer Gynt by composers of diverse eras and nationalities; Edvard Grieg, Alfred Schnittke and never-performed-before music by Robin Holloway. Combined, these selections will express Tilson Thomas’ unique imagining of this great work of Scandinavian literature and poetry. The performances will be sung and acted in English.
Of his choosing to perform Peer Gynt with the San Francisco Symphony this season MTT said, “Peer Gynt is a gigantic, sprawling play, probably best known through Grieg’s music. I don’t think that people have an idea of what a challenging and provocative play it is—filled with questions about life, and love, and all of those things. Both Alfred Schnittke and Robin Holloway produced huge scores for Peer Gynt. This program is a wonderful opportunity to connect Ibsen’s play with these three composers. Given the vast length of the [original] play—four hours!—we can offer a musical and dramatic snapshot of both music and text [in our abridged production.]” Semi-staged productions such as this one, Debussy’s Le martyre de Saint Sebastien and Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle last season plus the upcoming performances of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis in June reflect Michael Tilson Thomas’s creative vision and passion for combining theater and classical repertoire in a fresh, contemporary way setting stories in a new context for the concert hall.
James Darrah will direct and design these performances. Darrah designed new productions of Handel’s Teseo and Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Médée for Chicago Opera Theater in their 2011 and 2012 seasons. He made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut with Luciano Berio’s Recital for Cathy while working as an assistant to director Christopher Alden for the LA Phil Don Giovanni. Of the staging for the SFS production of Peer Gynt Darrah said, “to fully integrate the staged, musical, and visual components, the Symphony production’s design envelops the orchestra into its scope. The direction moves the action into a minimalist dreamscape, allowing an intimate connection with the text and characters. Production inspiration is drawn from experimental modern photography using mirrors, reflections, and shadow play. The costumes are a timeless re-imagining of modern dress in a myriad of silhouettes.”
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY
Davies Symphony Hall
$31-$150. Tickets are available at sfsymphony.org, by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office, on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco.