The eagerly awaited line-up of Sir Georg Solti’s 100th anniversary Chicago concert has been announced by Angela Gheorghiu, the soprano who was one of the conductor’s protégées.
The 100th anniversary of Solti’s birth is being marked by a landmark concert in Chicago’s Symphony Center on his birthday, 21 October. Hosted by Lady Solti, the concert will feature a selection of music which Solti was particularly known for conducting. In a programme that will include operatic arias and ensembles from Mozart and Verdi, Gheorghiu will take a starring role, along with bass René Pape and alumni of the Solti Accademia and Solti Fountation US.
Valery Gergiev will conduct the World Orchestra for Peace and is joined by ‘past and present’ members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The concert, which will begin with Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro and end with Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra , includes Richard Strauss’s Don Juan. This is particularly fitting, given that Solti performed at the composer’s 85th birthday and funeral.
Born in Budapest in 1912, Solti became director of Bavarian State Opera in 1946. From 1956-1965 he recorded Wagner’s Ring Cycle with the Vienna Philharmonic. This Decca recording recently topped a BBC Music Magazine poll of ‘50 greatest recordings’.
In 1961 Solti took over as music director of London’s Royal Opera House (ROH). And during his ten-year helmship he raised its profile considerably, with notable productions of Richard Strauss operas including Der Rosenkavalier, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Arabella and Salome. He took part in a farewell gala at the ROH before his death in 1997. The ROH is celebrating Solti’s centennial in October with a special exhibition.
The same concert can also be seen at New York’s Carnegie Hall two days earlier, on 19 October and the anniversary will be marked at festivals and venues worldwide.