Voices on the Stairs

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Overheard following the Wednesday afternoon rehearsal of the Final Scene from Richard Strauss’ Capriccio, with guest soprano Karita Mattila.

Karita Mattila: I love this hall.
Concertmaster David Halen: This hall loves you.

Karita Mattila Photo credit: Marica Rosengard
Karita Mattila
Photo credit: Marica Rosengard

A Huge Orchestral Sea

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It’s not hard to find the musicians of the St. Louis Symphony throughout the summer months. Visit any major music festival in the country–Aspen, Boulder, Sun Valley, Chautauqua, Boonville, MO (David Halen runs that one)–and you may find a few St. Louis Symphony musicians in the orchestra. Offer to buy them a beer or a chardonnay after the show.

David Robertson would probably appreciate a beer as well. He’s back in the U.S. from Sydney, Australia, where he is music director of the orchestra there, and has already traveled from the Aspen Music Festival and School to Santa Fe, where he is conducting a production of Richard Strauss’ Salome with Santa Fe Opera. Opening night is Wednesday, July 22.

The St. Louis Symphony isn’t performing Salome this season–although it did memorably with Deborah Voigt a few seasons back–but there is plenty of Strauss to go around in 1516. Robertson conducts an all-Strauss program September 25-26, with Principal Cello Daniel Lee and Principal Viola Beth Guterman Chu playing Don Quixote, and Karita Mattila singing the Final Scene from Capriccio. The all-Strauss concerts are among the musicians’ hot picks for next season.

The Oscar Wilde references aside, Robertson gives a good primer to the music of Strauss in this clip from Santa Fe Opera, especially the West Coast surfer analogies.

New Things

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Before we settled in to record an interview for the Saturday night broadcast of the Symphony’s concert on St. Louis Public Radio, I asked Karita Mattila if it was all right to discuss that this will be her premiere performance of Schoenberg’s Erwartung. I asked because some artists prefer not to make that part of the story of their performance, for a host of reasons.

Karita Mattila
Karita Mattila   Photo credit: Marcia Rosengard

“Why not?” Mattila said. “I’m 53. Is that not a good time to try new things?”