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GREAT PERFORMANCES: Boston Symphony Orchestra: Andris Nelsons’ Inaugural Concert

Airs Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 12:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Jonas Kaufmann, Kristine Opolais and Andris Nelsons as seen in GREAT PERFORMA...

Credit: Courtesy of Chris Lee

Above: Jonas Kaufmann, Kristine Opolais and Andris Nelsons as seen in GREAT PERFORMANCES "Boston Symphony Orchestra: Andris Nelsons Inaugural Concert."

Watch television’s longest-running performing arts anthology, GREAT PERFORMANCES, to enjoy the best in music, dance and theater.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Chris Lee

Andris Nelsons conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra in his inaugural concert as music director.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Chris Lee

Kristine Opolais and Andris Nelsons as seen in GREAT PERFORMANCES "Boston Symphony Orchestra: Andris Nelsons Inaugural Concert."

This wide-ranging, one-night-only event celebrates the start of Boston Symphony Orchestra music director Andris Nelsons’ tenure as the 15th music director of the orchestra and features two of the conductor’s close colleagues, the acclaimed Latvian soprano Kristine Opolais and the internationally acclaimed German tenor Jonas Kaufmann.

Each sings selections from the Wagnerian and Italian verismo repertoires, they then join forces for a powerful duet from Puccini’s "Manon Lescaut." The concert opens with Wagner’s "Tannhäuser" Overture—the work that first inspired a five-year-old Nelsons to a life in music—and closes with Respighi’s spectacular orchestral showcase, "Pines of Rome."

"Boston Symphony Orchestra: Andris Nelsons’ Inaugural Concert" was directed by Bill Cosel. For GREAT PERFORMANCES, John Walker is producer. Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

Past episodes of GREAT PERFORMANCES are available for online viewing. GREAT PERFORMANCES is on Facebook, and you can follow @GPerfPBS on Twitter.

Boston Symphony Orchestra is on Facebook, Google +, and you can follow @BostonSymphony on Twitter.

"Pines of Rome" with Andris Nelsons, BSO Music Director

Composed in 1924 by Ottorino Respighi, "Pines of Rome" is the second orchestral work in his "Roman trilogy." "Fountains of Rome" (1917) is the first and "Roman Festivals" (1926) is the third. The four movements of "Pines of Rome" depict the city's trees in different locations at different times of the day.

Jonas Kaufmann and Kristine Opolais: "Tu, tu, amore? Tu?"

Jonas Kaufmann and Kristine Opolais—both frequent collaborators with conductor Andris Nelsons, Opolais' husband—join Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra to perform the duet “Tu, tu, amore? Tu?” from Puccini’s opera "Manon Lescaut." In an interview, Kaufmann jokes that performing a physically passionate duet on stage with Opolais while her husband conducts is simply part of the opera business.

Andris Nelsons Conducts Intermezzo from "Cavalleria Rusticana"

"Cavalleria Rusticana" is a one-act opera by Pietro Mascagni, which received its U.S. premiere in 1891 in Philadelphia. The tragic love story is set in a Sicilian village. Its symphonic Intermezzo has been heard outside opera houses in film soundtracks including "Raging Bull" and "The Godfather Part III." Andris Nelsons conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra in his inaugural concert with the BSO.

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