The soprano Elisabete Matos performs the “Four Last Songs” by Richard Strauss, accompanied by the Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon (OML) directed by maestro Kristjan Järvi, on Sunday at the Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB) in Lisbon.
Richard Strauss who composed more than 200 songs, completed this short cycle in 1948, at the age of 84, and did not even watch his debut. Born in Munich in 1864, Richard Strauss died in September of the following year in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, also in Germany.
Three of the songs have poems by Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), winner of the Nobel Prize in 1946, and another by Joseph Von Eichendorff (1788-1857).
In addition to the “Four Last Songs”, the program of the concert in the CCB’s large auditorium is complemented by the symphonic poem “Macbeth”, written by the German composer in 1880, and Antonín Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8.
“To interpret the Four Last Songs that Strauss wrote and did not get to hear the premiere, is for me, in this ripe moment of life, a privilege, an opportunity to reflect on childhood and the beauty of innocence,” said the soprano.
Elisabete Matos began her musical studies at the Calouste Gulbenkian Conservatory of Music in Braga, having premiered at the age of 18, at the Coliseum of Porto, in the role of “Frasquita”, in the opera “Cármen”, by Bizet.
The singer, born in Caldas das Taipas, in the municipality of Guimarães, started to stand out after being placed 2nd in the Hans Gabor Belvedere International Singing Contest in Villach, Austria, in 1995, and started his international career in 1997, after performing at the Hamburg Opera in Germany, Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” as Dona Elvira, and Verdi’s “Falstaff” and “Alice Ford”.
In 2010, Elisabete Matos debuted at the Metropolitan in New York, starring in the opera “La Faniculla del West” by Puccini
Since 2012, Elisabete Matos is a guest professor at the School of Applied Arts at the Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco.
In 2013, the one that is named as the most international Portuguese soprano, celebrated the 25th anniversary of her artistic career with a recital at the National Theater of S. Carlos in Lisbon and the edition of a photobiography, having been distinguished by the Portuguese Government with the Cultural Merit Medal.
Maestro Kristjan Järvi, 46, heads the OML for the first time Sunday.
A native of Tallinn, he emigrated as a child, with his family, to the United States, having lived in New York, but in 2015 he returned to the Estonian capital. Kristjan Järvi is the youngest son of conductor Neeme Järvi, brother of Paavo Järvi, head of the NHK Symphony, and flutist Maarika Järvi.
The press reports that Kristjan Järvi has built his reputation as “one of the most insightful and innovative programmers in the classical music scene.”
According to the OML, Kristjan Järvi “challenges musical orthodoxy, always seeking new ideas and concepts in the work she develops regularly with three musical ensembles”: the New York-born classic hip-hop-jazz Absolute Ensemble, which she founded with Gene Pritsker, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic Orchestra, which he directs and of which he is artistic director, and the ensemble Nordic Pulse, within the scope of the activity of its producer Sunbeam Production.