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General public

27 May at 10am


Thursday 18 November 2021

7:30pm at Hamer Hall


Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Finnegan Downie Dear conductor


Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite (selections)
Thomas Adès Polaris
Stravinsky Petrushka (1947)

About this performance

Acclaimed young conductor Finnegan Downie Dear makes his anticipated debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performing Stravinsky’s Petrushka and works by Tchaikovsky and Adés.

  • The North Star, or Polaris, is a star that other stars appear pulled to by something akin to magnetic force. It is almost motionless, and because of this, has been used for navigation for as long as we can remember. Thomas Adès’ Polaris takes inspiration from the magnetism of the star: the composer uses a “magnetic series”, which means all twelve notes are presented slowly, but keep returning back to an “anchoring” pitch, as if the note itself is magnetic.
  • The suite from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker came about when the composer’s ballad The Voyevoda was programmed for performance in St Petersburg. Tchaikovsky had destroyed the full score following its first performance, and so needed to quickly find a replacement for the upcoming performance. He compiled and orchestrated the suite in early 1892, which was immediately an audience favourite.
  • After his success with Ballet Russes founder Sergei Diaghilev on Les Sylphides and Firebird, the idea of a puppet “suddenly endowed with life” came to Igor Stravinsky. After hearing just a little, Diaghilev was thrilled to start workshopping choreography for Petrushka and the ballet premiered in Paris in 1911.
  • Petrushka tells the love story of three puppets; in short, Petrushka is in love with the Ballerina, but the Ballerina loves the Moor. A classic, complicated tale!

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