29 December at 10:00: broadcast on Rai 2
Streaming on demand available on RaiPlay
Making an exceptional appearance, Kirill Petrenko, the current Music Director of Berliner Philharmoniker, will be conducting Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in the can’t-miss Christmas Concert to be held on 23 December (live on Rai Radio 3 and streamed on RaiPlay from Auditorium Parco della Musica, Santa Cecilia Hall, 8:30 PM) and to be rebroadcast on RAI DUE on 29 December at 10:00 AM. The concert was made possible with support from Enel, a founding member of Accademia Santa Cecilia, which every year renews its involvement on the occasion of one of the country’s most important events. In its mission to promote art, great music, and young artists, the company supports partnerships with leading national institutions, with a view to enhancing the country’s cultural heritage. In addition to the Berliner Philharmoniker events, a unique concert available for streaming only in Italy is one that can’t be missed, featuring Igor Levit, a pianist of Russian origin who years ago adopted Germany as his home, where he lives in Berlin. Currently one of the pianists most popular with the public and critics alike, he is endowed with a strong personality and great awareness of the role a musician must play in the world today, in terms not only of musical commitment, but of civic and political commitment as well. After the suspension of the concert scheduled with Antonio Pappano in the spring of 2020, Levit will be performing for the first time on the Santa Cecilia stage with Piano Concerto no. 1 written by a twenty-year-old Sergei Prokofiev in 1911, when the composer was still a Conservatory student. An acclaimed interpreter of Beethoven – much of whose piano works he has recorded, although his repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the contemporary –, in 2019 Levit won the fifth edition of the International Beethoven Prize, and was defined by The New York Times as one of his generation’s most important pianists.
The event is therefore truly a special one, given that Kirill Petrenko reserves the privilege of his baton for only two Italian institutions: Orchestra di Santa Cecilia – which he conducted during the last season with a memorable Symphony no. 9 by Beethoven – and the RAI National Symphony Orchestra; due to his collaboration with these two ensembles, in May 2020 he was awarded the prestigious Premio Abbiati as the year’s Best Conductor.
The Russian conductor had already led Santa Cecilia’s Orchestra in past seasons: in November 2010 in Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, and in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (Leningrad), while in 2013, on the occasion of the bicentennial of Richard Wagner’s birth, he visited Santa Cecilia again to conduct Das Rheingold.
Endowed with a shy magnetism accompanied by extreme concentration in interpreting scores, Kirill Petrenko is adored by musicians and unanimously extolled by the public for the expressiveness with which he manages to render the most profound soul of every composer. The Santa Cecilia concert will open with the solemn opening with the horn to introduce the Overture of Oberon, the final opera, based on a romantic fantasy, that Carl Maria von Weber – founder of the German National Opera – composed when already ill, commissioned by London’s Covent Garden.
After the homage to the German repertoire and the exuberance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no. 1, the concert, in perfect symmetry with the first piece, will end with the horns from the opening of Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 (the “Great”).