René Jacobs conducts B'Rock and the Musica Aeterna chorus in the Italian version of this rarely performed masterpiece.
12, 14, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28 Aug 2016
What is truth, and how much pain are we willing to suffer for it? These pertinent questions were the inspiration for And You Must Suffer, the new version of the St John Passion.
And You Must Suffer
09, 11 Sep 2016
28, 29 Mar 2017
How are we to deal with the global crisis? The director Wouter Van Looy puts this question in Earth Diver, inspired by two controversial philosophers.
21, 22, 23, 24 Sep 2016
To celebrate the new cultural season, B'Rock gives an exclusive concert of La Senna Festeggianti, one of the highlights of Vivaldi's vocal oeuvre, on 29 September.
La Senna Festeggiante exclusive
29 Sep 2016
For this explosion of brilliant Venetian colour alla francese, B'Rock joins forces with three spuperb singers: soprano Karina Gauvin, contralto Sonia Prina and bass Ugo Guagliardo.
La Senna Festeggiante
30 Sep 2016
11, 13, 14 Jan 2017
Are baroque instruments only suited to baroque music? Not in B'Rock's world.
28 Oct 2016
05 Nov 2016
Since we all have to die, it is better to meet death dancing: this is what Jean Gilles' Requiem seems to tell us.
09, 12, 13, 16, 17 Nov 2016
When you hear the jubilant words 'Jauchzet, frohlocket!', you know it's time for your annual encounter with the finest Christmas music of all time.
15, 16, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22 Dec 2016
This series, entitled I SAY TO YOU, will offer alternative New Year concerts in which music and speech enter into an inspiring dialogue. The main guest in the first in the series is Dyab Abou Jahjah.
I Say To You
07 Jan 2017
Vivaldi threw his unique range of seductive techniques into the struggle: compelling ritornelli, sparkling melodies, virtuoso dialogues between the soloist(s) and the orchestra, and a matchless rhythmic verve.
Harmonic Inspirations I
06, 10 Jan 2017
26 Feb 2017
02 Mar 2017
03, 10 May 2017
A feast of innovative string music with works from Antonio Vivaldi, Gyorgy Ligeti, Steve Reich, Karel Goeyvaerts and Matt Wright.
Harmonic Inspirations II
16, 17 Feb 2017
B'Rock and a cast of superb singers, conducted by René Jacobs, tell this story of fidelity and seduction, doubt and catharsis.
Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
14, 16, 18, 19, 22 Mar 2017
With their selection from such 'late' works as the Haffner, Prague and 'Jupiter' symphonies, B'Rock demonstrates how Mozart's disarming cantabile prompts even the instrumentalists to sing.
Mozart. Life, love & lust
31 May 2017
02, 04, 06, 07, 09 Jun 2017
Last Friday, B'Rock opened this year's Ruhrtriennale with the opera Alceste conducted by René Jacobs and directed by Johan Simons. The international press was well represented and responded with much enthusiasm:
"Sidderende strijkers, hees hout, doorgraverskoper: elke noot liftte mee op de ragfijne emoties uit het libretto. Samen met de regie leverde het een toneelavond op vol edele eenvoud en stille grootsheid." **** - De Standaard
"René Jacobs und das großartige B'Rock Orchestra treiben Gluck alles Gravitätische aus, der Klang ist transparent, zart, pulsiert in bebender Empfindsamkeit." - Tagesspiegel
"Je wordt onmiddellijk aangestoken door de pijlsnel reagerende orkestmusici en het hammerklavier, harp en cello spelende groepje continuospelers daarachter. Met fantasie en een zeldzame verfijning maken ze iedere emotionele schakering in het gemoed van de gekwelde Alceste voelbaar." - Volkskrant
"Das Ensemble überzeugt aber vor allem musikalisch. Die Leitung liegt in den Händen von René Jacobs, der das Orchester B'Rock zu feurigem, über die gesamte Strecke höchst inspiriertem und mitreißendem Spiel anhält." - Musik Heute
"De muziek staat nadrukkelijk centraal, en wordt onder oudemuziekcoryfee René Jacobs dynamisch en secuur uitgevoerd." - NRC Handelsblad
"Musikalisch ist der Abend aber immer ein Genuss." - General Anzeiger
"Un suono trasparente, avvolgente e di grande bellezza." - Giornale della Musica
"Die Musik ist pure Pracht und Herrlichkeit, bis zur letzten, dem Finale angeklebten Chaconne. Die von Jacobs handverlesenen Musiker des B'Rock Orchestra tauchen die Affektstürme, in denen König und Königin schier vergehen, in die buntesten, schillerndsten Farben." - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
There are still five performances at the Ruhrtriennale and we also travel to Innsbruck for a concert version of Alceste at the Innsbrucker Festwochen on 23 August.
B'Rock opens this year's Ruhtriennale with Christoph Willibald Gluck's Alceste conducted by René Jacobs on 12 August.
Writing Alceste in 1767, Gluck used Euripides' tragedy as the basis for an uncompromising composition. During the course of the 18th century, late baroque opera had developed into an empty spectacle for castrato virtuosi and star singers. Gluck, by contrast, made drama central to his work, giving the genre a new degree of sharpness and clarity. Over 100 years after Claudio Monteverdi, Christoph Willibald Gluck became the second great composer to reinvent European opera. Gluck's reform operas are products of the European Enlightenment and were written in times of great social and political turnaround. The ancien régime was coming to an end and the bourgeoisie was gaining power and influence. Gluck was one of the first composers to give the new consciousness and sentiments of the bourgeoisie a musical voice. While gods and mythological creatures lie at the centre of Baroque opera, Gluck chooses a woman of flesh and blood as his protagonist: a woman who is free to determine her own destiny.
It was René Jacobs, who suggested to Johan Simons that they should realise a new production of this rarely performed Italian version of Alceste together. The world-famous baroque conductor finds some sections of Gluck's highly dramatic opera "even better than Euripides". "Words can only express about 60% of what Alceste feels inside," says Jacobs, "but Gluck has placed orchestral motifs in between the sung lines which tell us far more about the character of the heroine."
For the last few years our motto has been: beyond baroque. In the 2016–2017 season, in dialogue with an increasingly extensive and international audience, we shall again be continuing to define our role and significance as a baroque orchestra in the here and now.
At the present time we are faced with political, social and cultural tensions that we have not experienced for decades. Our thoughts and feelings on European cultural identity, on what we have in common and what divides us, and on our shared future, are put into sharp focus. The cracks and contrasts are becoming ever larger. Music and art are able to reconcile and unite. They enrich us with special insights and stimulate our critical thought. A great deal has already been written about the healing power of music, and we remain absolutely convinced it is true. So it is no surprise that several of our productions are once again linked to such current topics as multiculturalism, religion, environment, despair, exile and uncertainty.
From The Creation, in which Haydn's Die Schöpfung is set against an impressive video installation by Julian Rosefeldt, through Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria and Gluck's Alceste, to And You Must Suffer, in which Bach's St John Passion is combined with the Arabic poetry of Etel Adnan. I SAY TO YOU is a new series of alternative New Year concerts we are starting with NTGent, in which music and the spoken word enter into an inspiring dialogue. The main guest this first time is Dyab Abou Jahjah, an enfant terrible in the social debate, but also a human rights activist, columnist, a former leading light in the Arab- European League, and the founder of Movement X. In his talk he draws up a present-day balance of topics such as barbarism and the ideals of the French Revolution.
The Baroque of course remains our first love, but are our instruments suited only to early music? Not in the B'Rock world, where past and present sometimes sample each other with curiosity and sometimes embrace each other like old friends.
The 2016-2017 season reads like a perfect rendering of our mission: sparkling, fully-committed concerts, keen and bold choices from the repertoire, lively music theatre, opera and a variety of in-between forms. In this regard we like to be inspired and enthused by leading soloists, conductors, directors, artists and thinkers. Such familiar artists as René Jacobs, Peter Dijkstra, Andreas Spering, Pierre Audi, Johan Simons, Wouter Van Looy and Muziektheater Transparant will be joining us again, but we also have some new and refreshing partners including Lionel Meunier, Vox Luminis, ChorWerk Ruhr and the Musica Aeterna chorus from Perm in Russia.
Music that is newly composed but suited to our historical instruments plays an increasing part in our work. We are certainly looking forward to the production entitled Baroque 360°, in which we shall be giving the first performances of three new solo concertos for baroque ensemble plus a single, special solo instrument: the Japanese sho, live electronics and the human voice.
Lastly, we are proud to announce a new, structural partnership with NTGent, and two long-term residencies at deSingel and the Opéra de Rouen. We thank our partners and you, our fine and generous audience. We hope to be able to welcome you once again to our new season.