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Great Performances: Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2013

Airs Friday, August 2, 2013 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Credit: Courtesy of Richard Schuster

Above: Vienna Philharmonic performs in the magnificent gardens of Austria’s Imperial Schönbrunn Palace.

Distinguished conductor Lorin Maazel leads the fifth annual Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2013 concert to be telecast on GREAT PERFORMANCES, Friday, August 2 on PBS (check local listings). This year’s gala concert revolves around the works of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, both of whom would have celebrated their 200th birthday this year, and features German Canadian tenor soloist Michael Schade.

Courtesy of Terry Linke

Lorin Maazel, conductor.

Courtesy of Harald Hoffman

German Canadian tenor soloist Michael Schade.

On his website, the maestro summarized the performance, “Hats off to the indomitable Vienna Philharmonic,” adding “Do I dare confess I loved every minute of this mad, fabulous evening?”

The outdoor concert in the magnificent baroque gardens of Imperial Schönbrunn Palace is free to thousands of attendees in Vienna, and serves the orchestra’s objective of making classical music accessible to a broad spectrum of concertgoers beyond its usual, core audience. The concert was recorded May 30 during a windswept rainstorm.

From Verdi comes the triumphal march from "Aida," the overtures to "La Forza del Destino" as well as "La mia letizia infondere" from "I Lombardi." The Wagner selections include the Grail Narrative from "Lohengrin" and music from his operas "The Mastersingers of Nuremberg," "Tristan and Isolde," and "Die Walküre.”

Despite the inclement weather, Maazel and his forces persevered: “The music-making seems to gain strength from the adverse conditions,” he later blogged. “Such memorable turns of phrase! The tenor, Michael Schade, undaunted, braves the elements for his two arias. Sings his heart out.”

Maazel, a former child prodigy, conducted his first concert at the age of nine years. In his career to date, he has worked with around 200 orchestras and is currently music director of the Munich Philharmonic, and executive and artistic director of the Castleton Festival.

He has a close relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic, and has conducted the New Year's Concert in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein (an annual tradition on GREAT PERFORMANCES) no fewer than 11 times.


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