High resolution image here.
HOUSTON (May 9, 2019) – For its 2018–2019 Classical Series finale, the Houston Symphony under Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada performs Béla Bartók’s operatic masterpiece Bluebeard’s Castle in a gala-cast performance for two nights only at 8 p.m. May 16 & 17 in Jones Hall.
In the role of Judith is dramatic American mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, particularly renowned for her Wagnerian roles and her expansive three-octave range. DeYoung virtually owns the role of Judith on the world opera stage today. “I think [Bluebeard’s Castle] is one of the greatest pieces ever written,” she says, estimating that she’s sung Judith more than 100 times in her illustrious career, having recorded it commercially under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Joining her as Duke Bluebeard is German baritone Matthias Goerne in his Houston Symphony debut. One of his generation’s premier singers, Goerne is in high demand worldwide as much for recitals as for opera, and he is renowned for bringing a scrupulous attention to text and interpretive detail to his operatic roles.
Bluebeard’s Castle is Bartók’s first and only opera and is widely considered his masterpiece. Joining the musical team to bring this riveting psychological thriller to life is Creative Director Adam Larsen, who is designing and realizing the visual elements for this production. Larsen’s animated visual projections transform the Jones Hall stage into Duke Bluebeard’s enigmatic, foreboding castle. “There will be projections onto three layers of strings suspended above the orchestra,” says Larsen. “When a projection—for instance a door—hits the first layer, it passes through the second layer, but magnified, and even more so when it hits the third layer.”
Written by Béla Balázs, the opera’s libretto opens as the infamous Duke Bluebeard brings his new wife, Judith, home to his alarmingly dark castle. Declaring her love for Bluebeard, Judith sets about opening doors to bring light into the gloomy interior. One by one she opens seven doors, revealing a torture chamber, a weaponry, a treasury, a garden, the expanse of Bluebeard’s lands, and a lake of tears. Despite Bluebeard’s warnings and pleas, Judith opens the seventh and final door, to reveal Bluebeard’s three previous wives, which she must now join. Prior to the evening’s performance, audience members can enjoy an immersive experience.
Bluebeard’s Castle is part of the Frost Bank Gold Classics Series and the Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods End of Season Celebration, with leadership support from Bobby & Phoebe Tudor, The Humphreys Foundation and Houston Methodist. Bluebeard’s Castle takes place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call 713.224.7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday, 12–6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.
Thursday, May 16, 2019, 8 p.m.
Friday, May 17, 2019, 8 p.m.
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, music director
Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano (Judith)
Matthias Goerne, baritone (Bluebeard)
Bartók: Bluebeard’s Castle
About Andrés Orozco-Estrada
Andrés Orozco-Estrada holds the Roy and Lillie Cullen Chair and has served as the Houston Symphony’s music director and as chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra since the 2014–15 season. He was appointed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2015 as its principal guest conductor. In the 2021-22 season, he becomes chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony.
Andrés conducts many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Orchestre National de France, as well as major American orchestras in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Chicago. He has also led many successful concerts and opera performances at the Glyndebourne, Salzburg, and Styriarte festivals.
Highlights of the 2018–19 season include his concert with the Vienna Philharmonic for Mozart Week and a new production of Rigoletto at the Berlin State Opera. He conducts his debut concert at the BBC Proms with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and leads the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for the first time. As a guest, he returns to the Staatskapelle Dresden, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and The Philadelphia Orchestra. He and his Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra also perform Strauss’s Elektra in Frankfurt and Dortmund. In December, he led the Vienna Symphony with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Andrés continues his commitment to young musicians, conducting a concert with the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic and leading a joint education project of the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich with the Filarmónica Joven de Colombia, with whom he then tours.
His record releases with Pentatone have attracted great attention. He was praised for his “beguiling recording” (Gramophone) of Stravinsky’s The Firebird and The Rite of Spring with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, and his recording of Richard Strauss’s An Alpine Symphony with the same orchestra earned him a reputation as “a fine Straussian” (Gramophone). With the Houston Symphony, he has recorded Dvořák’s last four symphonies, a “vital Dvořák with warm colors” (Pizzicato). In addition, he has recorded the complete symphonies of Brahms and Mendelssohn.
Born in Medellín, Colombia, Andrés Orozco-Estrada began his musical education with the violin. He received his first conducting lessons at 15 and began studying in Vienna in 1997, where he entered the conducting class of Uroš Lajovic (a pupil of the legendary Hans Swarowsky) at the prestigious University of Music and Performing Arts. Andrés lives in Vienna.
About Michelle DeYoung
Michelle DeYoung has established herself as one of the most exciting artists of her generation. In demand throughout the world, she regularly appears with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, The MET Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. She has also performed at the prestigious festivals of Ravinia, Tanglewood, Saito Kinen, Edinburgh, and Lucerne. In Australia, she has appeared many times with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and recently sang Kundry in concert performances of Parsifal at Opera Australia.
Equally at home on the opera stage, Michelle has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Teatro alla Scala, Bayreuth Festival, Staatsoper Berlin, Paris Opera, Theater Basel, English National Opera, and the Tokyo Opera. Her many roles include the title roles in Samson et Dalilah and The Rape of Lucretia; Fricka, Sieglinde, and Waltraute in Der Ring des Nibelungen; Kundry in Parsifal; Venus in Tannhäuser; Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde; Eboli in Don Carlos; Amneris in Aida; Santuzza in Cavellaria Rusticana; Ježibaba in Rusalka; Marguerite in Le Damnation de Faust; Dido in Les Troyens; Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle; and Jocasta in Oedipus Rex. She also created the role of the Shaman in Tan Dun’s The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera.
A multi-Grammy® award-winning recording artist, Michelle’s impressive discography includes Das Rheingold and Die Walküre with Jaap van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (Naxos); Kindertotenlieder, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, and Das Klagende Lied with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS Media); Les Troyens with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live!); and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Bernard Haitink (CSO Resound) and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Manfred Honeck (Challenge Records International). Her first solo disc was released on the EMI label.
About Matthias Goerne
Matthias Goerne is one of today’s most versatile, internationally sought-after vocalists and a frequent guest at renowned festivals and concert halls. He has collaborated with the world’s leading orchestras, conductors, and pianists. Born in Weimar, he studied with Hans-Joachim Beyer in Leipzig and later with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
Matthias has appeared on the world’s principal opera stages, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro Real in Madrid, Paris National Opera, and the Vienna State Opera. His roles range from Wolfram, Amfortas, Wotan, Orest, and Jochanaan to the title roles in Béla Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Alban Berg’s Wozzeck.
Matthias’s artistry has been documented on numerous recordings, many of which have received prestigious awards, including four Grammy nominations, an ICMA Award, a Gramophone Classical Music Award, the BBC Music Magazine Vocal Award 2017, and a Diapason d’Or Arte. After his legendary recordings with Vladimir Ashkenazy and Alfred Brendel for Universal Music, he recorded a series of selected Schubert songs on 12 CDs for Harmonia Mundi (The Goerne/Schubert Edition) with eminent pianists. His latest recordings of Brahms songs with Christoph Eschenbach, of Schumann songs with Markus Hinterhäuser, of Mahler songs with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and of Wagner arias with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra have received rave reviews.
In addition to his residency with the New York Philharmonic, further highlights of the 2018–19 season include concerts with other top orchestras in the United States (Houston, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles), Europe and Japan. Furthermore, Matthias appears as Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde) at the Paris National Opera and as Amfortas (Parsifal) at the Vienna State Opera. Song recitals with Daniil Trifonov and Leif Ove Andsnes lead him to the Berliner Philharmonie, Philharmonie de Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona and other major European venues. Last but not least, Matthias appears as a guest at the 2019 summer festivals in Ravinia, Salzburg, and Verbier.
About the Houston Symphony
During the 2018–19 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fifth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston.
The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Naxos, Koch International Classics, Telarc, RCA Red Seal, Virgin Classics and, most recently, Dutch recording label PENTATONE. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.