Sony Classical is proud to announce the release of this year’s Summer Night Concert 2020 with the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Valery Gergiev with tenor Jonas Kaufmann as soloist.
The Summer Night Concert was performed this year on September 18th 2020. It is an annual open-air event, which has been held since 2008. The previous series was the “Concert for Europe”, which took place from 2004 until 2007. The park of Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna/Austria is the magical setting for the concert. The illustrious conductors who have previously led the orchestra at this event are Georges Prêtre, Daniel Barenboim, Franz Welser-Möst, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Christoph Eschenbach, Zubin Mehta, Semyon Bychkov and Gustavo Dudamel.
This is the fourth time that Valery Gergiev has conducted one of these concerts: he first appeared with the orchestra in 1997 and has conducted the Summer Night Concerts in 2007, 2011 and 2018. Valery Gergiev is a vivid representative of the St Petersburg conducting school. His debut at the Mariinsky (then Kirov) Theatre came in 1978 with Prokofiev's War and Peace. In 1988 Valery Gergiev was appointed Music Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, and in 1996 he became its Artistic and General Director. He successfully collaborates with the world's great opera houses, works with the World Orchestra for Peace (which he has directed since 1997), the Philharmonic Orchestras of Berlin, Paris, Vienna, New York and Los Angeles, the Symphony Orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Boston and San Francisco, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Amsterdam) and many other ensembles. From 1995 to 2008 Valery Gergiev was Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (of which he remains an honorary conductor to this day), and from 2007 to 2015 of the London Symphony Orchestra. Since autumn 2015 the maestro has headed the Munich Philharmonic.
This year’s programme featured the star tenor Jonas Kaufmann, who is appearing at one of these concerts for the very first time, even though he has been performing with the orchestra to great acclaim for the last two decades. Since his sensational début at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in a performance of “La Traviata” in 2006, Jonas Kaufmann has numbered among the top stars on the operatic horizon. The international press has singled him out as the “new king of tenors”. Insiders praise him as the most important German tenor since Fritz Wunderlich. Kaufmann is just as much in demand internationally in the Italian and French repertoires as he is in German opera. He has sung Massenet’s Werther in Paris and Vienna, Cavaradossi in Puccini’s “Tosca” in London, at the Met and La Scala. His intensive characterizations of Don José in Bizet’s “Carmen” and Werther in Massenet’s opera took opera fans throughout the world by storm.
The 177-year old tradition of the Vienna Philharmonic goes back to 1842, when Otto Nicolai conducted a Grand Concert with all members of the imperial “Hof-Operntheater”. This event was originally called “Philharmonic Academy” and is regarded as the origin of the orchestra. Since its founding, the orchestra has been managed by the administrative committee – a democratically elected body – and works with artistic, organisational and financial autonomy. All decisions are reached on a democratic basis during the general meeting of all members.