Budapest Festival Orchestra
Press reviews March 18, 2016

Iván Fischer returns to La Scala Mahler's Third Symphony

The Hungarian maestro conducts the Budapest Festival Orchestra. “It's a dream to be here with this epic music, a mural filled with fantastic visions” (Corriere della Sera - Milano/Giuseppina Manin)

It’s been 10 years since we’ve heard it at La Scala. The last time, in 2006, the director was Gustavo Dudamel. Iván Fischer, the Hungarian conductor and composer is coming to bring Mahler’s Third back to La Scala. On Monday night he will be on the podium with 179 outstanding musicians under him, from the Budapest Festival Orchestra, singers from the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Choir of the Accademia della Scala, and the soloist Gerhild Romberger (8 pm, 105/5 euros). “It's a dream to be here with this epic music, a thrilling mural filled with fantastic visions. If we will perform well — promises Fischer — it will bring tears to the eyes of the audience.

This is a likely prediction as the Festival Orchestra, which he founded in 1983, is considered among the top ten in the world.
“The secret of the Festival Orchestra is that it was born as a radical music laboratory. For over 30 years we have been exploring every possibility. We are a family of artists who play in different configurations, there are groups dedicated to baroque, others that are more contemporary, or folk-like. We play for adults and children, indoors and outdoors… Then we’ll come together for musical masterpieces like the Third Symphony of Mahler. In this way we all become more creative, more involved emotionally, more able to understand the essence of this extraordinary music.”

While orchestras sweep away frontiers, Europe is raising them up. His country is among those which are building walls against those coming from outside.
“I think it's a momentary recoil. What matters is that, except in the Balkans, Europe has not had wars for the past 70 years. Before, this was a blood-soaked continent, where nations were pitted against each other. Now we are experiencing a difficult process of integration. But music can help remind us that other people, wherever they come from, have feelings like our own.”

He, like his brother Adam, also a conductor, and the pianist Andras Schiff, have lined up against Hungary’s current xenophobic policies. Can you create an alliance among musicians to curb social and cultural trends?
“That’s not just possible, it's happening! In Berlin we held a wonderful concert, when Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle and I conducted three orchestras to welcome the refugees. It was an experience that filled our hearts with joy. Ours and also theirs.”

Despite what is happening in the world, you can see signs of hope for the future?
“Yes. The coming generations have an important task before them. Against the rat race of finance and technology, they must find the courage to go back, and aim at conserving nature, and appreciate beauty and art. We must fight to share resources from rich countries with the rest of the world. Many young people I've met agree with all this. I am optimistic.”

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