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Tchaikovsky

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BBC broadcasts unprecedented celebration across television and radio in The Tchaikovsky Experience


The Tchaikovsky Experience on the BBC launches in January 2007 with a two-part drama documentary presented by Charles Hazlewood and starring Ed Stoppard as the composer on BBC Two.

 

The films are shot on location in Russia, and Hazlewood conducts artists from St Petersburg's celebrated Mariinsky Theatre in some of Tchaikovsky's best known works.

 

The celebrations reach their climax on BBC Radio 3 in February as the station continues its distinctive series of composer-focussed seasons.

 

This is brought to a spectacular close on 16 February with a live broadcast of the 1812 Overture performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra at London's Imperial War Museum.

 

The Tchaikovsky Experience celebrates the life and music of one of the most popular figures in western classical music in an unprecedented season across television, radio and online.

 

Programmes on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four will feature glorious performances by the Mariinsky Opera and Ballet companies, the Royal Ballet and the BBC Philharmonic.

 

The following month, Radio 3 will clear the schedules for one week (10-16 February 2007) to broadcast Tchaikovsky's complete works in tandem with those of another great Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky.

 

Highlights of The Tchaikovsky Experience include:

 

Swan Lake from the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg conducted by Valery Gergiev and introduced by Darcey Bussell (BBC One)

 

The Royal Ballet's new production of Sleeping Beauty with Alina Cojocaru dancing the role of Aurora (BBC Two)

 

Two productions of The Queen Of Spades: Valery Gergiev conducts a performance from the Mariinsky Theatre (BBC Four) and Radio 3 broadcasts the recent production from Covent Garden directed by Semyon Bychkov

 

A two-part drama-documentary about Tchaikovsky's life and music presented by Charles Hazlewood and featuring Ed Stoppard as the composer (BBC Two)

 

Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic precede their series of Tchaikovsky's symphonies (broadcast across weekdays at 6pm) with a live broadcast of the Manfred Symphony (Radio 3).

 

Specially-made recordings including the original version of Tchaikovsky's First Symphony, performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Ilan Volkov (Radio 3)

 

A unique BBC recording of Tchaikovsky's rarely heard opera Vakula The Smith conducted by Edward Downes in 1989, which includes Patricia Routledge narrating episodes from the original Gogol tale (Radio 3).

 

In February, Radio 3 will bring listeners a comprehensive exploration of works by both Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky in a musical feast which celebrates rarities alongside the more well-known works including live and specially recorded performances, legendary recordings and more recent interpretations.

 

Pierre Boulez, Valery Gergiev, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Robert Craft and Oliver Knussen are among the renowned exponents discussing the wealth of music by both composers.

 

The enduring popularity of this repertoire is reflected by the range of personalities who will share their personal reflections and anecdotes including choreographers Matthew Bourne and Siobhan Davies, theatre directors Richard Eyre and Nicholas Hytner, poet Craig Raine, historian Simon Schama and architect Daniel Libeskind.

 

They will be joined by regular Radio 3 presenters in what will be a vibrant and revealing journey for all audiences.

 

The Tchaikovsky Experience also offers a contemporary look at the homeland of these composers.

 

On BBC Two Charles Hazlewood visits St Petersburg and Moscow, the two Russian cities that figured most prominently in Tchaikovsky's life.

 

And Radio 3 broadcasts 10 audio postcards exploring aspects of Russian life and culture.

 

Radio 3 will be launching a dedicated website in support of BBC Television's celebration of Tchaikovsky.

 

Based on timelines for Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky, the website will offer viewers and listeners a wealth of articles, videos and listening experiences as well as full details of all the broadcasts.

 

A top 10 of both composers' works will be featured online and across the week on radio.

 

Adam Kemp, Commissioner, Arts, Performance and Religion, BBC Television, says: "The Tchaikovsky Experience across BBC Television is a first, both in terms of its extraordinary scale - 11 originated programmes across three channels - and its variety.

 

"This New Year celebration is a rare treat for all music lovers."

 

Roger Wright, Controller, Radio 3, says: "Listeners have responded to BBC Radio 3's unique Beethoven and Bach seasons with great enthusiasm.

 

"We hope that by presenting the complete works of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky alongside each other, it will enable a comprehensive exploration of both composers' outputs, providing both insight and unexpected delights."

 

The Tchaikovsky Experience Programme Information

 

This is subject to change, please check details before publication.

 

Week 3: Tchaikovsky drama/doc - BBC Two

 

Conductor Charles Hazlewood presents a new two-part drama/doc on the life of Tchaikovsky.

 

Charles travels through Russia to discover the country that formed the composer, visiting the two Russian cities that were most important in the composer's life, St Petersburg and Moscow, as well as the dacha at Klin, where Tchaikovsky spent much of the last 10 years of his life, writing some of his most famous works.

 

This journey through contemporary Russia is complemented by scenes of period drama based on Tchaikovsky's own prolific letters, diaries and those of his family and contemporaries.

 

Director Matthew Whiteman recreates some of the most important episodes in a busy and emotionally chaotic life, including Tchaikovsky's life-long struggle with his sexuality and the disastrous marriage to Antonina Milyukova.

 

Ed Stoppard as Tchaikovsky and Alice Glover as Antonina head a talented young cast.

 

All the music was shot on location in St Petersburg with Charles Hazlewood conducting the Mariinsky Young Philharmonic. Together Charles and this exciting new orchestra, made up of some of the most talented Russian musicians in their twenties, perform extracts from Romeo And Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty and the Fourth and Sixth Symphonies.

 

Two more gifted young Russian artists perform the most famous concertos: Natasha Paremsky plays the First Piano Concerto and Sasha Sitkovetsky the Violin Concerto.

 

Mariinsky principal Irina Matayeva sings the letter scene from Eugene Onegin and extracts from Swan Lake are danced by the great Russian ballerina, Uliana Lopatkina, partnered by Ilya Kuznetsev.

 

Week 3: Discovering Tchaikovsky - BBC Four

 

In the first of this pair of programmes, conductor Charles Hazlewood explores one of the works featured in each part of the BBC Two drama-documentaries.

 

In the first programme he examines the Fantasy Overture from Romeo And Juliet - Tchaikovsky's first mature masterpiece.

 

Working with the BBC Philharmonic Charles explores how Tchaikovsky distilled the essence of Shakespeare's great romantic tragedy into music, he looks at the composer's earliest versions of the piece and the programme ends with a complete performance of Romeo And Juliet.

 

Programme two focuses on Tchaikovsky's final work, and what many regard as his greatest achievement - the Sixth Symphony, The Pathetique.

 

Week 4: The Magic Of Swan Lake - BBC One

 

Presented by Britain's most celebrated ballerina, Darcey Bussell, this is the story of the most popular ballet of all time, Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.

 

Darcey demonstrates highlights of the dance with the Italian star Roberto Bolle and the next generation of children from the Royal Ballet School.

 

Using extracts from the Kirov Ballet's classic production, which has been especially recorded for BBC One, she shows how the romantic music combines with captivating dancing and dramatic choreography to bring to life the fairytale of love and heartbreak.

 

There are contributions from dancers, musicians and writers including Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, choreographer Matthew Bourne and Angelina Ballerina author Katharine Holabird.

 

Week 4: Swan Lake - BBC One

 

Darcey Bussell presents a version of Swan Lake specially created for BBC One based on the production by the world-famous Kirov Ballet at the Maryinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, conducted by the charismatic Russian maestro, Valery Gergiev.

 

At the heart of this spectacular performance is the compelling prima ballerina, Ulyana Lopatkina, in the demanding duel role of Odette, the white swan, and Odile, her black swan rival.

 

Week 4/5/6: Tchaikovsky: Masterclasses with the Royal Ballet - BBC Four

 

Three masterclasses, given by some of the greatest artists in the world of ballet today, explore the three greatest classical ballets in the repertoire: Tchaikovsky's trio of masterpieces: Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.

 

Sir Anthony Dowell, Dame Antoinette Sibley, Sir Peter Wright and Monica Mason guide dancers from the Royal Ballet company through key moments from these works.

 

Monica Mason and Anthony Dowell work on scenes from The Sleeping Beauty. This programme features a fascinating encounter between the great Cuban star Carlos Acosta and Sir Anthony.

 

Sir Peter Wright explores his production of The Nutcracker with the exciting young partnership of Caroline Duprot and Ludovic Ondiviela.

 

And Antoinette Sibley and Anthony Dowell work with members of the company on Swan Lake.

 

Week 5: The Sleeping Beauty - BBC Two

 

The Sleeping Beauty brings together all of the appeal of classical ballet in one great work.

 

There is the timeless fairy story of the young princess, the wicked witch Carabosse, a century of sleep and the awakening kiss of a handsome prince.

 

There is spectacle in the court scenes, a wealth of dances for the corps de ballet and wonderful opportunities for the soloists.

 

And there is a setting that takes its lead from richly colourful designs by Oliver Messel.

 

Petipa first choreographed The Sleeping Beauty in 1890 to Tchaikovsky's great musical score.

 

Then in 1946, when Ninette de Valois staged it for Sadler's Wells Ballet (later to become The Royal Ballet), it also entered the history and heart of the company, and it was this re-created historic production that was reawakened - like its heroine - for the start of the 75th anniversary celebrations.

 

Now the production returns to bring the entire company on stage in a wealth of dazzling dance and scenic splendour featuring young Royal Ballet stars Alina Cojocaru and Federico Bonelli.

 

Week 6: The Queen Of Spades - BBC Four

 

In the second production specially filmed for the Tchaikovsky Experience at the Mariinsky Theatre this summer during the White Nights Festival, Valery Gergiev conducts some of the greatest stars in his opera company in a performance of Tchaikovsky's spectacular drama, The Queen Of Spades.

 

The opera was premiered at the Mariinsky in 1890 and Pushkin's tale is set in the St Petersburg of Catherine the Great.

 

The cast is headed by Vladimir Galuzin, the finest exponent of the leading role of Herman on the world stage today.

 

The opera charts Herman's twin obsessions: his love for a seemingly unobtainable young woman, Lisa, played by Tatiana Borodina; and his quest to discover a winning card formula from Lisa's guardian, the Countess - the Queen Of Spades of the opera's title.

 

BBC Radio 3 broadcasts the complete works of Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky from Saturday 10 to Friday 16 February 2007.

 

CF2/Radio 3 Publicity

 

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Category: Radio 3; Factual & Arts TV
Date: 13.12.2006
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