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Black-Belt Ariel and Macedonian Marvel


The Boston Symphony Orchestra can hardly be accused of sticking with “same old same old” in the coming concerts, featuring two artists new to its roster and hardly known to the general music-going public. One is a Tae Kwon Do black-belt soprano in the role of Ariel for Thomas Adès’s The Tempest, the other a pianist from the East European Republic of Macedonia, that has sent few performers to the States.

Tonight and tomorrow night (March 25 and 26), in the BSO performance of scenes from Thomas Adès’s The Tempest, the Ariel is Israeli soprano Hilá Plitmann. In high demand for contemporary music, she sang Alice in del Tredici’s Final Alice, to be performed again in Pittsburg with Leonard Slatkin in early May, and is about to sing the role of Cecily Cardew in the world premiere of Gerald Barry’s Importance of Being Earnest.

Thomas Adès’s opera The Tempest, which premiered at Covent Garden in 2004, does not set Shakespeare’s original text but rather a libretto by Australian playwright Meredith Oakes that is based on the original drama. Ariel, Plitmann explained, “is a real trickster. Her scenes contain some of the most vocally challenging music I have ever encountered for my voice. It’s an exceptionally high tessitura. I find the music to be full of youth and energy and hence incredibly fun.” She added, “Ariel in Hebrew means ‘Lion of God’…I’d say this character is more like the ‘Harpy of God.’”

The concert, part of the BSO’s UnderScore Friday (repeated on Saturday evening) it to be conducted by Ades himself, making his BSO debut. English soprano Kate Royal and English tenor Toby Spence are also making their debuts; baritone Christopher Maltman is a returning artist. Other Tempest-themed works by Tchaikovsky and Sibelius are also on the program, and English violinist Anthony Marwood is performing Thomas Adès’s Violin Concerto, Concentric Paths.

Macedonian pianist Simon Trpceski is going debut at the BSO in the Liszt Piano concerto no. 2 in the concert conducted by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos on April 28, 29 and 30. Very well known already in his native republic and in Europe, Trpceski made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Baltimore Symphony this fall and is also scheduled to appear this year with the symphonies of Baltimore, Montreal, and Atlanta. BMInt will publish an interview with Trpceski in mid April, closer to the date of his appearance in Boston.

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