During July and August each summer, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra presents a season of concerts in the Cour d’Honneur du Palais.
This tradition dates back to 1959, when His Serene Highness Prince Rainier III and Louis Frémaux – Musical Director of the Philharmonic – launched a summer season of concerts which have since become a ‘must’ on the calendars of music lovers throughout the world.
From 17th July to 7th August this summer, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II will host six concerts under the stars in the elegant Court of Honour, each led by an illustrious figure from the world of conducting, and a prestigious line-up of international guest soloists.
In the opening concert, Semyon Bychkov directs the Orchestra in an all-French programme, with Katia and Marielle Labèque (pictured above) playing Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, followed by Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique.
Gianluigi Gelmetti, Music Director of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, takes the podium for the next performance, also featuring French music. Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is followed by a relatively unknown work, La Symphonie Interrompue (Interrupted Symphony) by Monegasque composer, Léo Ferré. Soprano Katarzyna Medlarska is the soloist in this work, and also in the first of three pieces by Ravel – his Alborada del gracioso. Two enduring Ravel favourites follow – the Pavane for a Dead Princess and the ever-popular Bolero.
Taking centre stage for the next two concerts is young Japanese conductor Kazuki Yamada, described by The Telegraph (London) as “a star in the making”. The first features the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No 2 – with Russian soloist Roustem Saitkoulov, winner of the 2003 Monte-Carlo Piano Masters – and Dvorak’s Symphony No 8.
The guest artists in the following concert conducted by Kazuki Yamada are all Russian – violinist Vadim Repin, cellist Alexander Kniazev, and pianist Nikolai Lugansky. They play Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, in a programme which also features Debussy’s three symphonic sketches, La Mer.
Italian conductor Maurizio Benini leads the penultimate concert in a programme of music from the films. It features extracts from Maurice Jarre’s scores for Lawrence of Arabia, A Passage to India and Doctor Zhivago, and Nino Rota’s La Strada, Amarcord and Il Gattopardo (The Leopard).
The final peformance features just one work, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, in which the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic is directed by young Venezuelan conductor, Rafael Payare, a graduate of his country’s celebrated El Sistema, and former Principal Horn of the Simon Bolivar Orchestra. The soloists are soprano Ilaria Del Prete, tenor Mark Milhofer and baritone Dominik Köninger, with the Chorus of the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Director Pablo Assante.
For further information please visit the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra website, where details for reservations can also be found.
Cour d’Honneur du Palais
Palais de Monaco
Place du Palais
98000 Monaco Ville
All images courtesy Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo; photo of Katia and Marielle Labèque by Umberto Nicoletti; photo of Kazuki Yamada by Marco Borggreve