The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has announced the much anticipated culmination of Sir Andrew Davis’ Mahler symphony cycle, unveiling what will be a massive performance of Mahler’s choral Eighth Symphony in the Margaret Court Arena next year. The symphony has been dubbed the “Symphony of a Thousand” (though not by the composer) and while the work is often performed with fewer performers, Sir Andrew is taking the moniker literally.

Sir Andrew Davis

The orchestra’s outgoing Chief Conductor – who returns next year as Conductor Laureate – will lead 130 orchestral players, and an international cast of singers to include sopranos Mathilda Edge, Erin Wall, Siobhan Stagg, as well as Christianne Stotjin and Lauren Decker singing the alto parts, and Joshua Hopkins and Shenyang in the baritone and bass roles respectively, with the tenor soloist to be confirmed. The performance will also feature the MSO Chorus, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Gondwana Choirs, Sydney Children’s Choir, and the National Boys Choir of Australia, bringing the cast to 1000 performers.

“Performances of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony tend to be rarities simply because of the huge forces required,” Sir Andrew Davis said. “It will of course be the final chapter of the journey that the MSO and I have made through all of Mahler’s symphonies during my time as Chief Conductor. It is a huge cosmic vision and I am counting down the days until I can share this truly transformative experience.”

Sir Andrew discusses the epic performance, and his tenure at the MSO, in Limelight’s upcoming November issue.

“Artists from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and around Australia will descend on the city of Melbourne for this larger-than-life musical celebration,” MSO Managing Director Sophie Galaise said. “It will be Melbourne’s musical event of the year.”

The performance will take place on October 24, 2020, with tickets now on pre-sale for MSO Subscribers, before they go on sale to the public on October 9 at 10am.