Led by Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård, Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, this concert presents the music of the 1920s from an international perspective. The programme opens with a suite from the opera The Love for Three Oranges by Sergei Prokofiev, who epitomised the cosmopolitan spirit of that time. First performed in Chicago in 1921, this was an opera by a Russian composer based on an Italian play and premiered at an American opera house in French. The audience reacted cautiously, but later the enchanting fairy-tale piece became probably Prokofiev’s most popular opera.
For those who still had the triumphant final chords from Jean Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony in their ears, the primarily lyrical Sixth came as a surprise. The symphonic composer had reinvented himself once again with modal colours. Premiered in 1923, the Sixth is already one of the farewell works of the composer who was to fall almost completely silent in the last 30 years of his life.
The concert ends with another contribution to the Kurt Weill focus of this online festival. While the genre designation in the title of the Threepenny Opera was intended as parody, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, again written in collaboration with Bertolt Brecht, is a real opera with a full orchestra. In almost all of Weill’s music theatre pieces, there are individual numbers that also became popular independently of their original context. The Alabama song from the Mahagonny opera has become particularly well-known.