James Levine And The BSO Perform Verd's Powerful

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In Concert At Symphony Hall


Thurs. Jan. 29, 8 p.m., Sat. Jan. 31, 8 p.m., Tues. Feb. 3, 8 p.m.

Continuing his ardent and insightful commitment to leading theBoston Symphony Orchestrain concert performances of opera,James Levineleads the orchestra, theTanglewood Festival Chorus,John Oliver,conductor, and a stellar cast of vocalists in Verdi’s stirringSimon Boccanegra, January 29 and 30 and February 3. BaritoneJos é van Damsings the title role, for which he has received international acclaim, along with sopranoBarbara Frittolias Amelia Grimaldi,Marcello Giordanias Gabriele Adorno, and bass-baritoneJames Morrisin one of his signature roles as Jacopo Fiesco. Maestro Levine will participate in the BSO’s Pre-Concert Talk aboutSimon Boccanegraon Tuesday, February 3, at 6:30 p.m.

Verdi’s great operaSimon Boccanegrais rife with themes of unknown identities, thwarted love, betrayal, and political machinations. Genoa’s first Doge, or elected leader, Simon Boccanegra was a plebian who has risen to power via others’ greed, an event related in the opera’s Prologue. The three acts of the opera proper take place twenty-four years later and tell the story of Simon’s reunion with his long-lost daughter and reconciliation with his oldest enemy. Originally written and produced in 1857,Simon Boccanegrawas extensively revised by Verdi many years later. Its 1881 version, which met with the success denied the original, is the version we know today.Simon Boccanegrashows Verdi breaking free of the stale clichés of Romantic grand opera to create a work of searing and compelling emotion.

Photos and full artist biographies are available in the BSO’s online press kit at www.bso.org/presskit.

BARBARA FRITTOLI (Amelia Grimaldi)
Born in Milan, soprano Barbara Frittoli is known for her plush sound and expressive musicality. She is a frequent guest artist in the world’s great opera houses, including Glyndebourne, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Metropolitan Opera, where she made her debut in 1995 as Micaela inCarmen. She has been acclaimed in performances ranging fromCos ì fan tutte(Fiordiligi) toLuisa Miller(title role.) She also has a vast concert repertoire, embracing music from Haydn’sCreationto Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. She was recently featured at the Bologna Festival in a Liederabend featuring songs by Beethoven, Schubert, and Duparc. Her discography includes several full opera recordings, such as Puccini’sIl trittico,Il barbiere di Siviglia, Turandot,andLa boh è me, as well as on CDs of arias by Mozart and Verdi.

Hailed for his remarkable versatility and thrilling high range, tenor Marcello Giordani is in demand by the world’s major opera houses and symphony orchestras. His repertory encompasses a wide range of roles, from the bel canto heroes of Donizetti and Bellini to the more dramatic roles of Verdi and Puccini. More recently, he has been featured in the great vocal works of Berlioz, such asBenvenuto Celliniin the Met’s premiere production,La Damnation de Faust, which marked his BSO debut, andLes Troyens, which he performed with the BSO last season. Just days prior, Giordani appeared before the Pope to sing “Panis Angelicus” during the Papal Mass in Yankee Stadium. In August, he participated in a series of Global Harmony concerts in Beijing during the Olympic Games. A favorite guest at the Metropolitan Opera, he will participate in the Met’s 125th Anniversary Gala in March 2009. He was the special guest at the recital of the Marilyn Horne Foundation and gave a private recital at the Supreme Court at the invitation of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. His frequent television appearances include the Richard Tucker Gala and St. Patrick’s Cathedral’s Christmas midnight mass. His discography includes two solo recordings and the first studio recording of Verdi’sJerusalem, and he is featured on the Met’s DVD ofManon Lescautand Maggio Musicale Fiorentino’sLa forza del destino, which appeared in movie theaters throughout the U.S and Europe.

JOS É VAN DAM (Simon Boccanegra)
World-renowned in concert, opera and recital, José van Dam is one of today’s most honored interpreters of the bass-baritone repertoire, admired for his musical intelligence and full, round tone. Since his operatic debut as Don Basilio in Rossini’sIl barbiere di Sivigliaat the Paris Opera in 1961, he has been a regular guest at the world’s major opera houses and music festivals. His most famous roles include Falstaff, Wozzeck, Simon Boccanegra, Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov, the four villains inLes Contes d’Hoffmann, and Mephistopheles in Gounod’sFaust.Highly regarded for his interpretations of art song, he has concertized at the great recital halls of the world. A two-time Grammy winner, he has an extensive discography, including Berlioz’Rom é o et Juliettewith the BSO under Ozawa andSimon Boccanegrawith Claudio Abbado and the Orchestra of La Scala. His numerous awards include Berlin’s “Kammersanger,” the German Music Critics’ Prize, Gold Medal of the Belgian Press, France’s Diapason d’Or, and the European Critics’ Prize for Messiaen’sSt. Fran ç ois d’Assise, the title role of which he created for the work’s world premiere. He also portrayed the title role in the Oscar nominated filmLe Ma î tre de musique(The Music Teacher.) He sang the role of Méphistophélès in the BSO’s performances under James Levine of Berlioz’sLa Damnation de Faustat Symphony Hall, at Tanglewood, and on tour in Europe in 2007.

JAMES MORRIS (Jacopo Fiesco)
Arguably the world’s reigning Wagnerian bass-baritone, James Morris is known for the deep resonance and rich tonal colors of his voice, as well as his charismatic stage presence. He is considered one of the greatest interpreters of the role of Wotan (Der Ring des Nibelungen) and The Dutchman. However, he is also acclaimed in repertoire ranging from Mozart to Wagner, Puccini to Stravinsky, and he is in high demand for the great bass-baritone roles, such as Don Giovanni, Scarpia inTosca, and Fiesco inSimon Bocanegra. He has performed in virtually every international opera house and has appeared with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States. He has been featured in several televised events at the Metropolitan Opera and appears frequently in recitals around the world. His extensive discography features aria CDs and numerous full operas, including twoRingcycles. His orchestra recordings include Haydn’sCreation, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and the Requiems of Fauré and Mozart. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his performance in Edward Thomas’Desire Under the Elms.

Tickets for the regular-season Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as Friday afternoons, are priced from $29 to $105; concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons are priced from $30 to $115. Open rehearsal tickets are priced at $19 each (general admission). Tickets may be purchased by phone through SymphonyCharge (617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200), in person at the Symphony Hall Box Office (301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston), or online through the BSO’s website (www.bso.org).

The Symphony Hall Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday; when there are concerts, the box office remains open through intermission. American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club, and Discover, as well as personal checks (in person or by mail) and cash (in person only) are all accepted at the box office. SymphonyCharge is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is a $5.50 service fee for each ticket purchased online or by phone. A limited number of rush tickets for Boston Symphony Orchestra subscription concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons are set aside to be sold on the day of a performance. These tickets are sold at $9 each, one to a customer, at the Symphony Hall Box Office on Fridays beginning at 10 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 5 p.m. Gift certificates are available in any amount and may be used toward the purchase of tickets (subject to availability) to any Boston Symphony Orchestra or Boston Pops performance at Symphony Hall or Tanglewood. Gift certificates may also be used at the Symphony Shop to purchase merchandise.

Patrons with disabilities can access Symphony Hall through the Massachusetts Avenue lobby or the Cohen Wing on Huntington Avenue. An access service center, accessible restrooms, and elevators are available inside the Cohen Wing entrance. For ticket information, call the Disability Services Information Line at 617-638-9431 or TDD/TTY 617-638-9289.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra offers 30-minute Pre-Concert Talks in Symphony Hall before all BSO subscription concerts, beginning at 6:45 p.m. prior to the 8 p.m. evening concerts and at 12:15 p.m. prior to Friday-afternoon concerts. Open Rehearsal Talks begin one hour before the start of all Thursday-morning and Wednesday-evening Open Rehearsals. These informative talks, which include recorded musical examples, enhance the concert going experience by providing valuable insight into the music being performed.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s extensive website,www.bso.orgis the largest and most-visited orchestral website in the country, receiving more than 6.3 million visitors annually and generating $40 million in revenue since its launch in 1996. The BSO’s website offers fans information and music beyond the concert hall, providing interactive new media that includes “Classical Companion,” an interactive supplement of special BSO concerts that provides interviews with composers and performers, archival images, and video and sound clips. BSO Concert Preview Podcasts, focusing on each of the programs of the BSO’s 2008-2009 season, are available throughwww.bso.organd on iTunes.

BSO concerts can be heard regularly on the radio. The Friday-afternoon concerts are broadcast on WGBH 89.7 FM, and the Saturday-evening concerts are broadcast on WCRB 99.5 FM. Both stations also stream the concerts live through their websites atwww.wgbh.organdwww.wcrb.com.

Symphony Café offers buffet-style dining from 5:30 p.m. until concert time for all evening Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts. In addition, Symphony Café is open for lunch prior to Friday afternoon concerts. Patrons enjoy the convenience of pre-concert dining at the Café in the unique ambiance of historic Symphony Hall. The cost of dinner is $32.50 per person; the cost of lunch is $19.50. The Café is located in Higginson Hall; patrons enter through the Cohen Wing entrance on Huntington Avenue. Please call 617-638-9328 for reservations.

The Symphony Shop, located in the Cohen Wing on Huntington Avenue, is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., and from one hour before concert time through intermission. A satellite shop, located on the first-balcony level, is open only during concerts. Merchandise may also be purchased by visiting the BSO website atwww.bso.org.

The Boston Symphony Association of Volunteers offers free public tours of Symphony Hall Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. (October 8 - December 3, 2008 and January 7- May 20, 2009), and the second Saturday of every month at 2:00 pm (October 13 - December 6, 2008 and January 10 - May 9, 2009) during the BSO season. Tours begin at the Massachusetts Avenue lobby entrance. Schedule subject to change. Please email bsav@bso.org, or call 617-638-9391 to confirm specific dates and times.

UBS will continue its partnership with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as its exclusive season sponsor, building on the mutually successful partnership that began in 2003. EMC Corporation is the supporting partner of the 2008-09 BSO season. Pre-concert Talks and the Symphony Cafe are supported by New England Coffee, official coffee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston, together with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, is the official hotel of the BSO. Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation is the official chauffeured transportation provider of the BSO; Shreve, Crump & Low is the official jeweler of the BSO.

All programs and artists are subject to change. For current program information, dial 617-CONCERT (266-2378). For further information, call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492. The Boston Symphony Orchestra is online atwww.bso.org.

Bernadette Horgan, Director of Public Relations (bhorgan@bso.org) 617-638-9285
Kathleen Drohan, Associate Director of Public Relations (kdrohan@bso.org) 617-638-9286

# # #


Thursday, January 29, 8 p.m.
Saturday, January 31, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, February 3, 8 p.m.

JAMES LEVINE, conductor
JOSÉ VAN DAM, baritone

VERDI Simon Boccanegra, concert performance, sung in Italian with supertitles

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bsoBSO Press Release, January 15, 2009


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