The New Circus of Vietnam celebrates the end of the year at the Grand Théâtre
Photo: Kirk Edwards
Luxembourg’s two premier cultural venues, the Philharmonie and the Grand Théâtre, have earned a reputation for attracting some of the finest talent in the world.
Under the leadership of two relatively new and relatively young directors the Philharmonie and the Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg are forging ahead with innovative and exciting programmes for the 2018-19 season. Stephan Gehmacher, 45, has been at the helm of the Philharmonie since 2013. He has built on the groundwork laid by his predecessor, Matthias Naske, by developing a wide-ranging season that focuses not only on the greats of classical music, but also contemporary, jazz and world music and a fantastic educational programme for kids of all ages. Tom Leick, 48, took over from his mentor Frank Feitler at the Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg in 2015 and has also managed to put together an exciting season for 2018-19.
It includes some truly world-class theatre, dance and opera, and the evolution of Leick’s own baby, the TalentLab programme that encourages and promotes young local artists.
As usual, the Philharmonie welcomes three artists in residence next season. Acclaimed classical pianist Yuja Wang (who will also tour with the OPL), conductor Philippe Herreweghe, who specialises in period performance of Bach in particular, and jazz pianist and composer Brad Mehldau.
The venue will also host performances from some of the outstanding classical music talent in the world today, including Spanish conductor, viola player and composer Jordi Savall, Chinese superstar pianist Lang Lang (currently recovering from an injury to his arm), award-winning French soprano Patricia Petibon and British conductor Sir Simon Rattle, who returns for his annual visit with the London Symphony Orchestra. Other world-renowned orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw will also make guest appearances.
But Luxembourg artists are also given a chance to shine in the Phil spotlight, with vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher teaming up with the OPL for his new project, and
Gast Waltzing reprising his Grammy award-winning performance with Angélique Kidjo. And the Rainy Days festival has put the United Instruments of Lucilin and Noise Watchers on its programme.
Photo: Monika Rittershaus. Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré is one of the superstars of world music who will perform at the Phil next season
Also appearing at Rainy Days is iconic German industrial noise outfit Einstürzende Neubauten. And a whole series of concerts by other non-classical artists has also been lined up. They include singer Gregory Porter, Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré (pictured above), Icelandic sound artist Ólafur Arnalds, jazz guitar legend Bill Frisell, and the hugely entertaining pianist Chilly Gonzales is also on the programme.
And, of course, the Philharmonie will host a wide range of other classical, jazz and world music concerts in its auditorium and chamber music hall, as well as children’s performances and workshops aimed at children, and ciné-concerts including live scores of The English Patient and Buster Keaton’s The General.
Over at the Grand Théâtre, the season opens with a new production, in English, of The Beggar’s Opera by Ian Burton and Robert Carsen. Robert Wilson’s award-winning staging of La Traviata (pictured below) follows in October, and the great director returns in April 2019 for a world premier of his version of The Jungle Book (in French with songs in English) for which he has worked with American pop sisters CocoRosie. Leonard Bernstein’s only full-length opera,
A Quiet Place, also comes to the Grand Théâtre courtesy of Opera Zuid. And a visually stunning version of Beethoven’s Fidelio is also on the programme.
There is a reprise for the home-grown production of Rumpelstilzchen (with English surtitles), and the popular Douglas Rintoul returns to Luxembourg in November with a production of Mike Leigh’s classic 1970s dark situation comedy Abigail’s Party. And local director Anne Simon has picked another edgy and witty play, Aaron Posner’s Stupid Fucking Bird, for a run at the Capucins in January.
It will feature some of Simon’s favourite actors, including Isaac Bush and Larisa Faber.
Photo: Grand Théâtre. Robert Wilson’s award-winning staging of La Traviata comes to Luxembourg in October
The undoubted highlight of another superlative dance season comes in June next year when Akram Khan and 46 dancers from the English National Ballet, together with the OPL, perform Giselle. The production features visual and costume design by Tim Yip, who worked on Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
But there are plenty of other highlights in the dance programme including a residency for the Hofesh Shechter Company in October. December sees the Ballet BC perform in Luxembourg for the first time, as well as a visit from the New Zealand Dance Company. The traditional end-of-year shows feature the acrobatics and music of the New Circus of Vietnam.
The Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires stops off on its world tour in January. Angelin Preljocaj brings his piece Gravité to the theatre in January, and William Forsythe’s A Quiet Evening of Dance is performed in June.