Thursday 11 Jun 2020, 7.30pmRoyal Festival Hall, London

Philharmonia Box Office : 020 7921 3907

Esa-Pekka Salonen conductor

Olena Tokar soprano

Rebecca Nelsen soprano

Wallis Giunta mezzo soprano

Ed Lyon tenor

Roderick Williams baritone

Philharmonia Voices

Mozart Der Schauspieldirektor


Mahler Das klagende Lied (original version 1880)


Extraordinary operatic masterworks by Mozart and Mahler close our season in an evening of high stakes and drama conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Filled with Mozart’s effortless wit and ear for melody, Der Schauspieldirektor follows the comical story of an impresario struggling to contain the wilful temperament of two new sopranos he tries to hire for his theatre company. Perfectly formed arias underpin this send-up of opera personalities, culminating in ‘Ich bin die erste Sängerin’, in which the two sopranos sing higher and higher in an attempt to outdo each other and win higher pay. But is all not lost – a compromise is reached, large salaries are agreed for both, and the entire cast come together to caution others against their narcissism.

A far greater prize awaits the two brothers in Mahler’s tragic fairy-tale cantata: they hunt for a flower that will win them the queen’s hand in marriage. But treachery is afoot – one kills the other and wins the throne. Will he receive his comeuppance? The answer lies in Mahler’s masterful music.

Scored for an orchestra of 110 musicians, this passionate masterpiece of Wagnerian proportions is the closest Mahler ever came to writing an opera. Over 50 minutes, orchestra and singers build in intensity and power, until finally the queen faints and the wedding guests flee, as around them the royal castle collapses to the ground.



  • 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: 120 minutes, including 20 minute interval
  • Staging: Surtitles will be displayed
  • Please note: Choir stalls are not on sale
  • Before the concert: FREE MMSF Young Artists Recital, 6pm, Royal Festival Hall

This concert is part of the Salonen Series series