Opera in Concert

Maximum musical enjoyment results when an opera performance concentrates solely on the sound of the orchestra and the singing.

Jakub Józef Orliński
Jakub Józef Orliński © Jiyang Chen

»Opera is a journey into your own soul«, says the acclaimed young countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński, who is involved in two opera productions in the Grand Hall this season. The Elbphilharmonie may not be an opera house – but you can still experience first-class music theatre here nevertheless. Without scenery or a velvet curtain, but with all the more musical intensity.

The spectrum ranges from George Frideric Handel’s magnificent Baroque operas to minimal music by the American composer Philip Glass, who spectacularly suspended the sense of time in his hypnotic 1976 work about Albert Einstein. Each individual production boasts great voices: the incomparable Cecilia Bartoli performs in Mozart’s final dramatic work »La clemenza di Tito«, while Julia Lezhneva leads the cast of singers in his opera of love and betrayal »Così fan tutte«.

Salome Jicia takes on the title role in Bellini’s hit opera »Norma«, whose melodies Richard Wagner once described as »more beautiful than dreams«. Then, as Wagner’s »Siegfried«, Simon O’Neill swings the sword (musically) under Sir Simon Rattle, as part of a cast of soloists that is truly spectacular right down to the supporting roles. Magdalena Kožená embodies Handel’s magician »Alcina«, while Orliński as a Pharaoh takes us to ancient Egypt. Thomas Hengelbrock and his Balthasar Neumann Ensemble open the series with Gluck’s »Orfeo ed Euridice«, which stripped away all the Baroque airs and graces from the genre; and the NDR’s music festival closes with a swinging »Porgy and Bess«.

Events of the spotlight