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One of the most prestigious orchestras of our time, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, will include South Africa in its six-continent world tour next year. The orchestra, ranked No 1 in the world by Gramophone, the British specialist magazine in classical music reporting and reviewing, will visit our shores on March 9-12.
Apart from presenting one concert in each of three of our main cities – Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria – the orchestra will, according to Bongani Thembe, its host and the chief executive and artistic director of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO), “will be participating in educational and community-related work in Cape Town and Umlazi township in Durban”.
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) boasts 120 musicians with 20 different nationalities in its midst, of whom 70 percent are Dutch.
The orchestra will be conducted by the famous Swiss-born conductor Charles DuToit, 76.
Renowned Dutch violinist Janine Jansen, 34, who is rated among the top five female violinists in the world, will also join the tour.
The orchestra’s debut concert will be in the Artscape Opera House, Cape Town, at 8pm on March 9. From there it will travel to Durban for the second concert, in the city hall at 7pm on March 10. The final appearance will be in the State Theatre in Pretoria at 7.30pm on March 12.
The repertoire selected for this tour is drawn from romantic music from Germany, Russia and the Netherlands. The concert opens with the concert overture Cyrano de Bergerac by the late-romantic Dutch composer Johan Wagenaar (1862-1941).
Inspired by the central personality of Edmond Rostand’s play of the same name, each of the seven themes featured in the work represents a different side of the protagonist’s character.
This will be followed by Tchaikovsky’s evergreen and extremely virtuoso Violin Concerto in D major, Opus 35 and the majestic Symphony No 1 in C minor, Opus 68 by Brahms.
Both the RCO and KZNPO are celebrating historic milestones next year. It’s the RCO’s 125th anniversary, marked by its ambitious world tour of 42 concerts on six continents. It is the first time ever that any symphonic orchestra has visited six continents in a single year.
The KZNPO is celebrating 30 years of musical excellence, not only in its home province but in the whole of South Africa. For the third year in a row it will be the orchestra in residence at next year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The orchestra has hosted international superstars of the likes of pianist/conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, soprano Renée Fleming, and conductor Zubin Mehta, but throughout their 30 years also integrated music into the learning experience of youths.
Part of the Concertgebouw’s youth outreach programme in townships will be to stage the orchestral fairy tale Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev, conducted by Otto Tausk. It is also the orchestra’s aim to introduce music and the various instruments used in an entertaining way and aimed at those who have never experienced those in a live environment.
• Tickets for the three main RCO concerts can be booked through Computicket.