Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – Dazzling Variations on a Theme of Paganini at #EnescuOnline with the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège
Enescu Festival Online continues between April 3 and 6 with Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège conducted by Tiberiu Soare and two soloists of international caliber: soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci and pianist Denis Kozhukhin. The George Enescu Festival is the only classical music festival that offers free access to its prestigious archive, as it receives permission from the artists.
Performed on the Romanian Athenaeum stage in the 2019 Enescu Festival, the program includes Variations on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra by Witold Lutosławski, Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini for piano and orchestra op. 43 by Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Francis Poulenc’s opera for soprano and orchestra La Voix Humaine.
Established as one of the finest sopranos of her generation, Anna Caterina Antonacci won prestigious prizes at the Voci Verdiane, Callas and Pavarotti competitions. From the brilliant Rossini of her early years, she moved on to Rossini serio and operas including Mose in Egitto, Semiramide, Ermione, and Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra. She expanded her repertoire to include such roles as Donizetti’s queens, Mozart’s Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Elettra (Idomeneo) and Vitellia (La Clemenza di Tito). Gluck’s Armide, staged by Pier Luigi Pizzi and directed by Riccardo Muti followed, which opened the 1996/97 season at La Scala. She interpreted Alceste in Parma and Salzburg, and Cherubini’s Medea in Toulouse and at the Theatre du Chatelet. Her triumph as Cassandra in the Chatelet’s 2003 production of Les Troyens with Sir John Eliot Gardiner signaled a shift towards the great heroines of the French repertoire, following in Régine Crespin’s footsteps.
Winner of the First Prize in the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels at the age of 23, Denis Kozhukhin has established himself as one of the greatest pianists of his generation. Kozhukhin’s performances have been praised by critics as “spellbinding”, “majestic”, and “mesmerizing”. The 2018/19 season brought about his debut at the BBC Proms, performing Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1. Kozhukhin frequently appears with many of the leading international orchestras, such as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony, Staatskapelle Berlin, Chicago Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra.
Founded in 1960, the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège is French-speaking Belgium’s only professional symphony orchestra and it is supported by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. The OPRL performs in Liège – in the prestigious setting of the Salle Philharmonique (1887) – and throughout Belgium, as well as in great concert halls and at major festivals around Europe, in Japan and the United States. The Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège has collaborated with renowned artists and directors, such as Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Renaud Capuçon, Nicholas Angelich, Gary Hoffman, Adrien La Marca, and commissioned works by Éric Tanguy (2017), Philippe Boesmans, Fazil Say (2019) and the emerging Belgian composer Gwenaël Gray (2019).