Every year, the Berliner Philharmoniker hold a kind of classical-music fête with a bright, cheerful concert to end the season. In 2009 about 22,000 people had come together at the Berlin Waldbühne to enjoy the traditional summer picnic concert. The theme of the evening was “Russian rhythms”, and star conductor Sir Simon Rattle, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Yefim Bronfman, one of the most famous pianists in the world today, presented a superb selection of Russian music.
With the European Concert the Berliner Philharmoniker celebrate the anniversary of their founding in 1882. Performed each year in another European city, this year’s concert takes place in Naples. Together with charismatic conductor Riccardo Muti and Violeta Urmana, one of the leading sopranos in the Italian dramatic genre, they present the overture of Verdi’s magnificent opera La forza del destino and La canzone dei ricordi by Giuseppe Martucci, who died in Naples. Schubert’s “Great” C major Symphony completes this memorable concert at the awe-inspiring Teatro San Carlo.
This acclaimed new production of Lucrezia Borgia from the Bavarian State Opera is supplemented by a fascinating portrait of the soprano Edita Gruberova, the prima donna assoluta of bel canto. In addition to rehearsal footage from Lucrezia Borgia, the film shows Gruberova in the title role of Norma and as Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux as well as in other archival recordings of great historical interest.