Alexander Shelley

Thu 13.12.18 20:30
BOZAR

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Ein Sommernachtstraum, op. 21, (Scherzo ; Nocturne ; Hochzeitsmarsch)

Dmitry Shostakovich, Hamlet Incidental Music, op. 32 (1932)

Richard Strauss, Macbeth, TrV 163, op. 23

Of Direst Cruelty - Shakespeare in concert 

The scampering feet of impatient fairies can be heard in the Overture of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When Mendelssohn first read Shakespeare’s play, the seventeen-year-old composer was so enthusiastic that he wrote a concert overture full of the most fantastic effects.

Dreams deteriorate into nightmares. The evil that lurks in all of us awakens. A wandering castle ghost reveals to Hamlet his father's murderer. The young prince is intent on revenge. In 1932 a young Shostakovich was asked to compose the music to a staged version of Hamlet. The theatre debut of Nikolaj Akimov, in which Ophelia appeared on stage as a drunk prostitute and Hamlet was portrayed as an exuberant bon vivant, developed into a national scandal. Although critics' opinions varied significantly, they all agreed on one thing: Shostakovich’s music was by far the best thing about it.

Macbeth is the least frequently performed of Strauss’ symphonic poems. Craving power, General Macbeth - heavily influenced by his wife - causes a bloodbath in order to achieve his ambitions. Lady Macbeth: “Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe topful / Of direst cruelty!” Shakespeare’s direst cruelties are in good hands with maestro Alexander Shelley.

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Alexander Shelley

Born in London in October 1979, Alexander, the son of celebrated concert pianists, studied cello and conducting in Germany and first gained widespread attention when he w