The Halle has a series of concerts coming up at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall in January 2018.  We take a look at what’s on.

A Viennese Celebration
Saturday 6 January 2018, 3pm

Strauss II Die Fledermaus: Overture and Adele’s Laughing Song
J. Strauss II On The Beautiful Blue Danube
Lehár The Merry Widow: Vilja-Lied
Kalman Countess Maritza: Overture
J. Strauss II Tritsch Tratsch Polka
Lehár Giuditta: Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss
Josef Strauss Frauenhertz: Polka-Mazurka
J. Strauss II New Pizzicato Polka
J. Strauss II Frülingsstimmen
J. Strauss II Cuckoo Polka
J. Strauss I Radetzky March

Conductor: Stephen Bell
Featuring: Jennifer France, Soprano

The Hallé’s traditional New Year concert includes all your Strauss family favourites. Romantic waltzes, thrilling polkas and stirring marches are combined with the enchanting Jennifer France singing wonderful arias and songs of the period.

Thursday 18 January 2018, 7.30pm

Shostakovich Four Romances on Poems by Pushkin
Shostakovich Cello Concerto No.1
Shostakovich Symphony No.5

Conductor: Sir Mark Elder
Featuring: Alisa Weilerstein, cello; James Platt, bass

Much of Shostakovich’s extraordinary output was profoundly marked by politics and the judgements of censors. The composer was on relatively safe ground when he wrote his Four Romances on Poems by Pushkin to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian poet’s death. Nevertheless, the first song, ‘Rebirth’, makes Pushkin’s battles with the critics very much the composer’s own. There are strong links between the songs and Shostakovich’s monumental Fifth Symphony, one of the greatest and most powerful of twentieth-century orchestral works. The great American cellist Alisa Weilerstein performed Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto with the Hallé in 2015 and now returns to perform its ground-breaking predecessor, one of the highlights of the entire cello repertoire.

Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’
Wednesday 24 January 2018, 2.15pm; Thursday 25 January 2018, 7.30pm; Sunday 28 January 2018, 7.30pm

Vaughan Williams Overture: The Wasps
Elgar Cello Concerto
Beethoven Symphony No.3, ‘Eroica’

Conductor: Cristian Măcelaru
Featuring: Andrei Ionită, cello

The overture Vaughan Williams composed for a production of The Wasps by Aristophanes is both suitably waspish and richly lyrical. Andrei Ionită then joins Cristian Măcelaru and the Hallé for Elgar’s Cello Concerto, one of the greatest works ever written for the instrument. The piece is full of gossamer-light orchestral writing, delicate cello virtuosity and unforgettable melodies. Throughout musical history only a few works have truly changed its course, among them Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony. A token of the composer’s heroism as he confronted his increasing deafness, it is a remarkable experience that ends in triumph.

Hallé and Hallé Youth Orchestra
Sunday 28 January 2018, 3pm

Wagner Götterdämmerung: Funeral March (Act III)*
Wagner Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries*
Berlioz The Trojans – Royal Hunt and Storm**

Conductor: Sir Mark Elder*; Jonathon Heyward**

The Halle and Halle Youth Orchestra come together almost 160 years to the day since the orchestra’s first concert.  The event, beginning with a short open rehearsal, features exhilarating orchestral music from works dear to the Charles Halle’s heart. Sir Mark Elder, just the ninth permanent conductor in the orchestra’s long history, begins with two thrilling orchestral highlights from Wagner’s epic Ring cycle:  ‘Siegfried’s Funeral March’ from Götterdämmerung and ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ from Die Walküre. Like his great predecessor, Sir Mark is a committed supporter of young talent. The Hallé’s Assistant Conductor and Music Director of the Hallé Youth Orchestra, Jonathon Heyward, takes up the baton with music from another truly epic operatic work, The Trojans by Berlioz. Sir Charles would have been so proud!

The Halle Orchestra. Image credit to Russel Hart.