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About the program

Carl Maria von Weber’s three-act romantic opera was born under a lucky star – despite the intrigue which surrounded the Italian music director, the work premiered in Berlin’s recently-renovated Prussian Court Opera House in 1820. Soon, the Freischütz was winning plaudits from operatic audiences across the Germanic world. Within a year of its premiere, the opera featured on the programme of twenty theatres, and since then it has gone from strength to strength. Considered the founding work of German romantic opera, it influenced many composers of the age, including the young Richard Wagner. Today, the Overture and the Huntsmen’s Chorus are guaranteed to be well-received by concert audiences.

“A symphony owed to the greatness of the human spirit, a song in praise of free and happy mankind. I wouldn’t dare to say that I chose the subject – rather it had been budding inside me when it finally blossomed,” wrote Prokofiev. Fifteen years after his Fourth symphony, as the second world war approached its climax, in 1944 the composer took a little over a month to write his Fifth. Reflecting contemporary world events, the work’s tone is serious, almost elevated. The 1945 Moscow premiere was conducted by the composer himself.


Carl Maria von Weber: Der Freischütz (The Marksman) – overture
Franz Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major
Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100


Iván Fischer


Marc-André Hamelin, piano