Mantzaros / Mozart / Beethoven, George Petrou
From the intricate and sensitive hand of popular conductor George Petrou comes a very special concert of 18th- and 19th-century classics that the talented musicians of Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice expertly bring to life. With landmark works by Nikolaos Mantzaros, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven, the evening is ripe with beautiful melodies and raw emotion. Petrou, born and raised in Greece, completed his conservatory studies in Athens, graduating piano with honours. A specialisation in London, at the Royal College and the Royal Academy of Music, turned him on to conducting. Since then, Petrou has made a name for himself as a unique interpreter of Baroque and Classical music, and he regularly leads international orchestras to concoct fresh-sounding, unique interpretations of popular pieces. At Teatro Malibran, magic is about to happen.
The programme opens with the overture to the cantata Ulisse agli Elisi by Nikolaos Mantzaros, the Greek-Italian maestro from Corfu who ushered in the era of Ionian music in the early 19th century. The piece stands out with its clever use of musical dynamics and effortlessly alternates between grand, bombastic themes and gentle passages that seamlessly switch from melancholy to playful and back. The influence of Mozart on Mantzaros is clear even to the untrained ear, so it is only natural for the evening to progress to a piece by the Austrian wunderkind, namely his Symphony No 36 in C Major K 425, also known as the Linz Symphony. Mozart composed the piece in four short days during a stopover in Linz and premiered it there on 4 November 1783.
Symphony No 7 in A Major by Ludwig Van Beethoven is the third and final piece. The grand work, first performed on 8 December 1813 in Vienna, was one of the composer’s masterpieces inspired by European nations’ resistance to Napoleon. Each of the four movements celebrates patriotism in the face of the cruel. The punctuated rhythms and the tonal tension between the principal key of A and the regularly occurring C and F hint at the military undertone and the stresses of conquest, resistance, and liberation. George Petrou masterfully directs La Fenice’s orchestra through each of the evening’s outstanding works, bringing together their unique qualities into a memorable, exciting performance.