Hugh Wolff & Nelson Freire (piano)
Thomas Adès, Dances from Powder Her Face
Ludwig van Beethoven, Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 5 in Es-Dur, op. 73 "Emperor"
Igor Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring
Re: Beethoven - Scandalous stories! (in response to Beethoven's Third Symphony, "Eroica")
Polaroids of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, naked (except for her pearl necklace) and giving a blowjob to an unknown man led to a storm of indignation in puritanical England. Her alleged lover, the Minister of Defence, was forced to resign. In Dances from Powder Her Face (1995) — Adès’ opera inspired by the life of the Duchess of Argyll — British tongue-in-cheek humour meets the turbulent rhythms of tango and jazz to reflect the irony of human fate: driven into poverty, the once decadent socialite can no longer pay for her shabby room.
The ballet Le Sacre du Printemps (1913) about the selfless sacrifice of a young virgin caused such a scandal on its opening night that it caused a riot, between the outraged bourgeoisie audience and the avant-garde. As the audience erupted, Diaghileff is said to have even flashed the house lights on and off to calm them down. Beethoven’s last piano concerto also met with a mixed reception when it was finally presented in Vienna. The music, which was far ahead of its time, did not appeal to the aristocratic ladies who had invited the composer to their charity event. Fortunately, times have since changed. The Grammy Award winner Nelson Freire performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 with imperial allure.
Copresentation: La Monnaie as part of Beethoven cycle.
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Born in Paris to American parents, Wolff spent his early years in London and Washington DC.
Born in Boa Esperança, a small town in the interior of the state of Minas Gerais (Brazil), Nelson Freire is now a universally acclaimed artist.