New music at Santa Cecilia is enriched with the presence of an extraordinary figure, Peter Eötvös, who will be conducting – in its Italian premiere – Senza Sangue, his 2015 one-act opera, composed to a libretto by Marin Mezei taking inspiration from Alessandro Baricco’s novel by the same name (Without Blood). The plot traverses many decades: from the time when, in an unnamed Hispanic village, a little girl’s gaze meets that of the youth who has shot her father yet spares her life, to the moment the two meet again years later. The woman does not meet him to exact revenge, but to be saved by the man once more. She wishes to relive that gaze from so long ago: “he who saved us once can do it again and again.” As already announced, Eötvös’s new work, commissioned by Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai willbe presented in October 2017.
Accademia di Santa Cecilia has become a highly important showcase for new generations of conductors and performers alike, alternating alongside great maestros and soloists of well-established fame.
The Santa Cecilia Orchestra will be welcoming Rafael Payare for his debut on its podium. The young Venezuelan conductor is a virtuoso product of Josè Antonio Abreu’s El Sistema, in which he was trained. Payare, whose brilliant career has seen him conduct the world’s leading ensembles, was recently appointed Principal Conductor of the Castleton Festival in Virginia, founded by Lorin Maazel. At the concert, he will be joined by Luigi Piovano, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia’s first cello, for Concerto no. 2 by Saint-Saëns.
Also making his Santa Cecilia debut will be Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša, recently named by Gramophone as one of the ten orchestra conductors emerging on the musical landscape at the moment. Hrůša is currently Music Director and Chief Conductor of PKF–Prague Philharmonia and of the Glyndebourne Opera, and Principal Guest Conductor of Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Spain’s Gustavo Gimeno, currently Music Director of Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, will also be making his first appearance at Santa Cecilia.
Among soloists, there will be numerous piano debuts. It begins with Berlin’s Martin Helmchen, born in 1982, who will be conducted by David Afkham in Mozart’s Concerto no. 20 K466. In February, Seon-Jin Cho, winner of the 2015 Chopin Competition, will be making his Santa Cecilia debut, conducted in Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no. 3, by Valery Gergiev, who will open the programme with Concerto for Orchestra no. 1 “Naughty Limericks” by contemporary Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin. And it will be Andres Orozco Estrada (returning twice this season) conducting French pianist Bertrand Chamayou as he makes his first appearance at Santa Cecilia with Piano Concerto no. 2 by Saint-Saëns. The concert will open with György Ligeti’s Lontano.
Beethoven returns as Bulgarian pianist Evgeni Bozhanov makes his first appearance at Santa Cecilia, conducted by Juraj Valčuha in Concerto no. 3. Also making his debut will be the very young percussionist Simone Rubino who, at only 23 years of age, can already boast a formidable career. Conducted by Manfred Honeck, Rubino will take on Veni, Veni Emmanuel, a concerto for percussion and orchestra written in 1992 by Scottish composer James MacMillan. After the contemporary music featured in the concert conducted by Honeck, the theme of Beethoven will return with his Symphony no. 7 and continue with the arrival of Myung-Whun Chung, who will conduct Egmont, Choral Fantasy, and Symphony no. 3, the “Eroica.”
Daniel Harding will be returning with Mahler’sSymphony no. 2 ”the Resurrection,” which the Accademia is dedicating to Claudio Abbado. Santa Cecilia is also welcoming back Daniele Gatti as he continues his tribute to Schumann with Scene dal Faust di Goethe; Alan Gilbert with his overview of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (the same concert will also see the return of cellist Sol Gabetta) and with The Black Gondola by Liszt/Adams; Pablo Heras-Casado with Mozart and Mendelssohn; and Paavo Järvi, joined by Leonidas Kavakos on the violin, with Bartók and Brahms.
The great Ton Koopman is back with Händel’s Messiah, taking the podium for this occasion at Accademia Barocca di Santa Cecilia. Vladimir Jurowski will bring audiences Zemlinsky and Mahler, while Michael Tilson Thomas will be joined by Katia and Marielle Labeque for Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos K. 365.
Yuri Temirkanov will be closing the Season. Santa Cecilia’s Honorary Conductor will be in Rome for ten days, and, in his first appointment, will be conducting the famous young violinist Julia Fischer in Brahms’sViolin Concerto, Dvořák’sSymphony no. 9, and, lastly, an entire programme dedicated to Russian music, featuring Tchaikovsky andRachmaninoff.