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Tuesday September 13, 2022

Famed Scottish Maestro Sir Donald Runnicles Returns to Orchestra Hall to Conduct Vaughan Williams' Fantasia

The concerts also feature an overture from English composer Edward Elgar, an elegy by Kennedy Center composer in residence Carlos Simon and the melodies of Alban Berg to be sung by soprano Jacquelyn Stucker

It has been more than two decades since Sir Donald Runnicles last conducted the Minnesota Orchestra. Widely regarded as one of Scotland’s foremost voices in classical music, Runnicles serves concurrently as the general music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and music director of the Grand Teton Music Festival. Celebrated for his interpretations of Romantic repertoire, he leads concerts from October 13 to 15 that are punctuated by the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Edward Elgar.

Greatly influenced by English folk songs, Vaughan Williams constructed his Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis from a 16th-century chant tune, employing an unusual orchestration that calls for two separate string orchestras and a string quartet. Vaughan Williams was greatly influenced by fellow pioneering English composer Edward Elgar, whose concert overture In the South was inspired by a visit to the Italian countryside. These expressive works by both Vaughan Williams and Elgar are meant to evoke poetry.

Following this line of music with great lyricism, the program opens with a piece by Carlos Simon—one of the most in-demand classical composers working in the United States today. In Simon’s own words, his An Elegy: A Cry from the Grave is “an artistic reflection dedicated to those who have been murdered wrongfully by an oppressive power; namely Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown.” Originally arranged for a string quartet, Elegy has been subsequently reconfigured and will be performed by the Minnesota Orchestra’s full string section.

Rounding out the program is Seven Early Songs, a collection of short, melody-rich pieces by Alban Berg, the inventive 20th-century Austrian composer best known for his operas. American soprano Jacquelyn Stucker will join the Orchestra on stage for this rendition. An alumna of both the New England Conservatory and the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Stucker will make her Minnesota Orchestra debut with these performances.

The program will be performed across three days on Thursday, October 13, at 11 a.m., Friday, October 14, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 15, at 8 p.m. Part of the Orchestra’s Guarantors’ Week, these concerts are dedicated to donors who have been at the heart of the Orchestra since its inception in 1903. Ticket prices range from $12 to $89; the concerts are free to attend for young listeners ages 6 to 18 through the Hall Pass program—visit minnesotaorchestra.org/hallpass for details.


About Sir Donald Runnicles

Sir Donald Runnicles is the general music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and music director of the Grand Teton Music Festival, as well as principal guest conductor of both the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He is also conductor emeritus of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, having served as chief conductor from 2009 to 2016.

Runnicles’ 2021-22 season was highlighted by performances of the complete Ring Cycle at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Elektra at the Metropolitan Opera, and a concert version of Hansel and Gretel with the Atlanta Symphony. While he was music director of the San Francisco Opera he led the world premieres of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic and Conrad Susa’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses. His recording of Wagner arias with Jonas Kaufmann and the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin won the 2013 Gramophone Award for Best Vocal Recording. A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, he was appointed to the Order of the British Empire in 2004, and was made a Knight Bachelor in 2020.


About Jacquelyn Stucker

A hugely versatile artist, American soprano Jacquelyn Stucker masters a broad-ranging repertoire of concert works, recital, opera and contemporary music. With these October performances, she makes her Minnesota Orchestra debut.

In the 2022-23 season, Stucker returns to her alma mater, the Royal Opera House for a role debut as Pamina in The Magic Flute, and to the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. On the concert platform, she makes her debut with the Oslo Philharmonic and conductor Klaus Mäkelä for Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. She performed at the Royal Opera House last season as well, as Karolka in Jenůfa, and made house debuts at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in the title role of L’incoronazione di Poppea, and at Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía as Dalinda in Ariodante. Last season she also performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and Washington Concert Opera. Other recent highlights include her debut as Freia in Das Rheingold at Deutsche Oper Berlin; house and role debuts as Armida in Rinaldo at Glyndebourne; and a solo recital of U.K. premieres of music by John Harbison, Federico Favali and Mark Kilstofte. A graduate of the New England Conservatory with a doctorate in musical arts, she is an alumna of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.


Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts


Thursday, October 13, 2022, 11 a.m. / Orchestra Hall

Friday, October 14, 2022, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall

Saturday, October 15, 2022, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall


Minnesota Orchestra

Sir Donald Runnicles, conductor

Jacquelyn Stucker, soprano


SIMON An Elegy: A Cry from the Grave
BERG Seven Early Songs
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
ELGAR In the South (Alassio), Concert Overture


Tickets: $12 to $89 [Free tickets available for young listeners from ages 6 to 18, thanks to the Hall Pass program.]


Ticket Purchasing Information

Individual tickets and Minnesota Orchestra subscription packages can be purchased now at minnesotaorchestra.org or by calling 612-371-5656. For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662.

The Hall Pass program makes free tickets available for young listeners ages 6 to 18 for select Classical and Symphony in 60 concerts, and all kids under 18 for Family concerts. This program is sponsored by Cynthia and Jay Ihlenfeld.

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.

Details around COVID safety protocols can be found at minnesotaorchestra.org/safety

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change.


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