210-year-old Lucerne Symphony to sway Mumbai

  • Pankti Mehta Kadakia, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 03, 2016 00:28 IST
Florence-based soprano Jessica Pratt

Western music lovers have a lot to look forward to this week.

The 210-year-old Lucerne Syerform in India for the first time, as will Florence-based soprano Jessica Pratt and Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvilli, all at the city’s National Centre for the Performing Arts.

“It has been a dream of ours to perform for Indian audiences,” says LSO executive director Numa Bischof Ullmann. “A few years ago, we had an unforgettable collaboration with [Indian sitarist and composer] Anoushka Shankar, when we performed the late Ravi Shankar’s Symphony together. It was incredible, and the first performance of this piece in Switzerland. At the time, I had a dream that one day we will bring our orchestra to India.”

Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvilli

The LSO features musicians from more than 15 countries and, under its chief conductor James Gaffigan, is said to have a special flair for Antonín Dvořák’s music; they will perform two of the composer’s pieces in Mumbai, along with pieces by Beethoven, Weber and Grieg.

They have had a decade-long association with Buniatishvilli, who will perform with the orchestra. “Playing together feels very natural, but at the same time it is never predictable — that makes a concert exciting,” says Ullmann. “Khatia puts the audience on fire.”

Pratt, meanwhile, says she is very excited to be performing in a country she has wanted to visit for years. “The audience will be treated to a full range of emotions through opera scenes, and the highlight may well be the mad scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor, a dramatic tragedy by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti,” she adds.

Through Jessica Pratt’s recital, the audience will see various stories based on fine Italian literature, accompanied by great music, says Khushroo N Suntook, chairman of the NCPA. “We are also proud to present the LSO, an orchestra with a rich history and a fantastic conductor, and delighted to have rising star pianist Khatia Buniatishvili,” he adds.

(Pratt will perform on Tuesday, with the NCPA’s Symphony Orchestra of India. The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and Buniatishvilli will play two events, on Thursday and Friday. Tickets are available on bookmyshow.com)

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