The Alpine festival has assembled what could be the finest line-up of artists in 2015.
The Verbier Festival has announced its 2015 program, and the roll-call of artists scheduled to appear reads like a who’s-who of the world’s most in-demand classical artists.
In addition to the impressive list of international soloists, the program features performances by no less than six of the greatest conductors of our time who will all take to the stage at the festival’s pop-up concert hall, Salle des Combins. The annual event, which takes place in the heart of the Swiss Alps, will open on July 17 with the European comeback performance by legendary American maestro James Levine. Returning to the podium after eight years away from the continent, Levine will conduct the acclaimed Verbier Festival Orchestra as Conductor Laureate of the Festival.
Also making his return to the Festival after a seven-year absence is the great Indian Maestro Zubin Mehta, who directed the Australian World Orchestra’s 2013 season to great critical acclaim. He will conduct the VFO in Mahler’s epic Resurrection Symphony.
Controversial Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, who led the London Symphony Orchestra last year on their highly anticipated and critically lauded Australian tour will conduct Tchaikovsky’s heart-rending Symphony No6 Pathetique. Gergiev’s open support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government’s anti-gay laws and involvement in the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine have led to protests at many of the conductor’s performances, most recently at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in Janurary. The Polish-themed Saar Music Festival in Germany decided in November last year to withdraw an invitation to Gergiev to conduct during their 2015 season.
Maestros Manfred Honeck, Gianandrea Noseda and the Festival’s Music Director Charles Dutoit will also appear at the three week event. All six of these world-class conductors have shared a long association with the Verbier Festival, but there will also be a number of notable debut’s this year as well. Dutch baroque legend Ton Koopman will conduct the RIAS Kammerchor from Berlin in a performance of Mozart’s Requiem; quite possibly the finest cellist in the world, Norwegian Truls Mørk will join British conductor Paul McCreesh for a performance of Schumann’s Cello Concerto; and acclaimed German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff will be making his conducting debut at the festival to give the festival premiere of Bach’s St Matthew Passion.
In addition to the astounding orchestral selection on offer the Festival’s recital programme will also feature some of the world’s most accomplished performers. Romanian diva soprano Angela Gheorghiu, who will be appearing at the Sydney Opera House in October this year, Montenegrin guitarist heart-throb and former Limelight Magazine cover-star Miloš Karadaglić and piano virtuoso András Schiff will all give their Verbier Festival debut recitals at the Alpine town’s Church.
In addition to the dazzling list of classical performances on offer, Verbier will also be welcoming the Latin flair of the Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club. The passionate ambassadors of Cuban music are currently on their farewell world tour.
The Verbier Festival runs from the 17 July to 2 August. Tickets go on sale to the general public on 9 March 2015. A full list of this year’s programme is available at the Verbier Festival website.