German conductor Christoph Eschenbach leads the San Francisco Symphony and baritone Matthias Goerne in performances of Wagner’s “Die Frist ist um” (from The Flying Dutchman) and Wotan’s Farewell and Magic Fire Music (from Die Walküre), and the Orchestra performs Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World April 25-27 at Davies Symphony Hall.
On Sunday, April 28, Eschenbach and Goerne perform Schubert’s Die Winterreise in a recital at Davies Symphony Hall, marking Goerne’s SFS recital debut. In 2007, Eschenbach conducted the visiting Philadelphia Orchestra with Goerne as soloist performing orchestral arrangements of Schubert’s songs, including “Der Wegweiser” from Die Winterreise. The work saw its SFS debut in 1972 at War Memorial Opera House in a recital with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) and Norman Shetler (piano).
“Die Frist ist um” has made only one appearance on an SFS program, as part of the Orchestra’s semi-staged (and first complete) performance of The Flying Dutchman in 2003 during the MTT/SFS festival Innocence Undone: Wagner, Weill, and the Weimar Years. Wotan’s Farewell and Magic Fire Music from Wagner’s Die Walküre (the second of his Ring operas) received its SFS premiere under the Orchestra’s inaugural Music Director Henry Hadley in 1912. The Orchestra last performed the piece in 1986 under Conductor Erich Leinsdorf. Frequently performed by the Orchestra, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor also saw its SFS debut in 1912.
Christoph Eschenbach is Music Director of both the National Symphony Orchestra and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. Prior to assuming those positions in 2010, he was music director of the Orchestre de Paris and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Eschenbach made his San Francisco Symphony debut as a pianist in 1972 and his conducting debut in 1975. He appeared here most recently for two weeks of concerts in 2010, in which he led works by Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Zemlinsky, and Dalbavie. A distinguished concert pianist before his conducting career, Eschenbach began winning major piano competitions at age eleven and made his United States debut in 1969 with the Cleveland Orchestra and George Szell, with whom he later studied conducting. Eschenbach’s current season includes performances with the NDR Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, and Orchestre de Paris, as well as a tour of Germany with the London Philharmonic, concerts with the Israel Philharmonic, and a tour of Australia and Europe with the Australian Youth Orchestra. He returns to the Vienna State Opera to conduct performances of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio, leads the National Symphony at Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, and returns to the Boston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic.
Matthias Goerne made his SFS debut in 1996 singing bass in Bruckner’s Mass No. 3 in F minor. Most recently, he performed Brahms’ A German Requiem with MTT and the Orchestra in 2008. Goerne has been a regular performer at venues including Carnegie Hall and London’s Wigmore Hall, and with musical partners including Eschenbach and pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Leif Ove Andsnes and Alfred Brendel. He made his operatic debut in 1997 at the Salzburg Festival as Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. This season, Goerne sings Wolfram in Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the Bavarian State Opera and Amfortas in a concert version of Wagner’s Parsifal with the Teatro Real in Madrid. He will also appear with the Orchestre de Paris, Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and Filarmonica della Scala, as well as song recitals with Aimard and three Schubert cycles with Eschenbach at the Vienna Musikverein. He is currently recording an eleven-album series of Schubert songs for Harmonia Mundi.