Thursday 6 Dec 2018, 7.30pmRoyal Festival Hall, London

Philharmonia Box Office : 020 7921 3907

Santtu-Matias Rouvali conductor

Sophie Bevan soprano

Richard Strauss Suite, Der Rosenkavalier

Richard Strauss Four Last Songs


Richard Strauss An Alpine Symphony

Principal Guest Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali brings his “imaginative, often spectacular musicality” (LA Times) to three Strauss masterpieces.

He opens with the suite from Der Rosenkavalier, an opera so successful that special trains ran from Berlin to Dresden to whisk audiences to its opening run. The music paints vivid portraits of the four main characters – the Marschallin, Octavian, the young lover she knows she cannot keep, the graceful Sophie and the foolish Baron von Ochs – and their aristocratic world.

Composed when he was 84, Strauss’s late masterpiece, the Four Last Songs, speak of gratitude for a life well lived, the riches of creation, and the joy of human love. Strauss wrote to soprano Kirsten Flagstad that his Four Last Songs ‘should be at your disposal for a world premiere… with a first-class conductor and orchestra’. And it was with the Philharmonia Orchestra that she gave the first performance – acclaimed British soprano Sophie Bevan follows in illustrious footsteps.

In the Alpine Symphony, Strauss calls upon a 125-player orchestra, including organ, cowbells and wind and thunder machines, to describe a day in the mountains. Inspired by an expedition Strauss took part in aged 15, the piece vividly depicts dawn, rivers and meadows; a hunting party in the distance; the struggles of the climbers and triumph when they reach the summit; a storm as they descend; and the peaceful return of night. Strauss wrote in his journal that for him the piece represented ‘the worship of eternal, magnificent nature’. 



  • Prices: £58 (premium); £45; £36; £28; £19; £12
  • Discounts: Subscription discounts available; under-18s and concessions discounts available; £8 tickets for students via Student Pulse one month before the concert (limited availability)
  • Running time: 130 minutes, including 20-minute interval
  • Staging: Surtitles will be displayed - please note these are not visible from choir seats