Asher Fisch returns to Minneapolis to conduct Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks and opera selections by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss
American soprano Amber Wagner debuts with the Orchestra, May 12 and 13
Asher Fisch, a renowned Wagner interpreter and principal conductor of Seattle Opera, conducts the Minnesota Orchestra in opera and instrumental music by Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner in concerts on May 12 and 13. American soprano Amber Wagner (of no relation to the composer) joins Fisch and the Orchestra as they perform Wagner’s Prelude and “Liebestod” from Tristan and Isolde as well as Brunnhilde’s Immolation from the opera Götterdämmerung. The second half of the program features the music of Strauss—first, the orchestral Fantasy on Die Frau ohne Schatten, and then an audience favorite, Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks.
The concert is performed at the Orchestra’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Thursday, May 12, at 11 a.m., and Friday, May 13, at 8 p.m, with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $96. Tickets are available online at minnesotaorchestra.org and by phone at 612-371-5656. For purchasing details, refer to the section at the conclusion of this press release.
Asher Fisch, conductor
Asher Fisch, who is recognized for his interpretative command of core German and Italian repertoire of the Romantic and post-Romantic eras, conducted the Minnesota Orchestra in performances of Debussy’s La Mer in 2002. In 2014, he became the principal conductor and artistic advisor of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. His previous titles include principal guest conductor of the Seattle Opera, music director of the New Israeli Opera and chief conductor of the Wiener Volksoper. He has long maintained strong ties to the Bayerische Staatsoper and in the 2015-16 season conducts five operas there. Other orchestral engagements this season include concerts with the Melbourne Symphony, Staatskapelle Dresden, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Nashville Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony. He conducted the State Opera of South Australia’s Wagner Ring cycle in 2005 in Adelaide, which won ten Helpmann Awards, Australia’s premier music prize, including best opera and best music direction. More: opus3artists.com.
Amber Wagner, soprano
American soprano Amber Wagner, who makes her Minnesota Orchestra debut in these performances, has been widely praised for her operatic and symphonic performances. Last September she debuted with the Minnesota Opera in the title role of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, a role she recently reprised in her company debut with Palm Beach Opera. In the 2014-15 season, she returned to Lyric Opera of Chicago for a debut as Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore and as Elisabeth in Wagner’s Tannhäuser; she also returned to the roster of the Metropolitan Opera. Highlights of her recent orchestral engagements include Verdi’s Requiem with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice and the Houston Symphony. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Richard Tucker Career Grant Award, the Kirsten Flagstad Award from the George London Foundation and the Sullivan Foundation Career Grant; in addition, she was a winner of the Liederkranz Foundation Competition. More: imgartists.com.
Operatic Escapades and Merry Pranks
In Wagner’s operatic prelude to Tristan and Isolde, we hear a series of longing, surging phrases built on a dissonant harmony; the “Liebestod”—literally, “love-death”—is full of shimmering string tremolos, harp arpeggios and long crescendos. Then, in the concluding opera of his four-opera Ring cycle, Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), Wagner’s epic tale of Siegfried and Brünnhilde comes to a close. At the end of a plot marked with murder, deception, seduction and betrayal, the final scene, as performed here by soprano Amber Wagner, finds Brünnhilde consumed by fire and joining her lover in death.
In Strauss’ Fantasy on Die Frau ohne Schatten, an orchestral piece based on an opera he wrote three decades earlier, the composer packs in all of the drama you would find in a complete opera: he employs harmonies both sinister and sweet with music all at once delicate in the woodwinds, noble in the brass and glittering in the strings. And in Strauss’ famous ode to a German rogue, Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks presents several escapades, from a mad dash through the marketplace to a grim visit to the gallows. Horn and clarinet introduce the protagonist’s themes, heard in various guises throughout.
Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts
STRAUSS’ MERRY PRANKS
Asher Fisch, conductor
Amber Wagner, soprano
WAGNER Prelude and “Liebestod” from Tristan and Isolde
WAGNER Brünnhilde’s Immolation, from Götterdämmerung
STRAUSS Fantasy on Die Frau ohne Schatten
STRAUSS Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks
TICKET PURCHASING INFORMATION
Subscription packages and individual tickets can be purchased online at minnesotaorchestra.org, or by calling 612-371-5656 (612-371-5642 for subscriptions) or 800-292-4141. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Orchestra Hall Box Office, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and beginning two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, call 612-371-5656, or visit minnesotaorchestra.org. For subscriptions, call 612-371-5642 or visit minnesotaorchestra.org/subscribe. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.
All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.
The Star Tribune is the Minnesota Orchestra’s media partner for the 2015-16 season.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations
Emma Plehal, Public Relations Writer and Coordinator