Aleksandrs Antoņenko, tenor
Daniels Pavļuts, piano
Program: Works by Richard Strauss
More than 70 years of Richard Strauss' creative activity span one of the most complex and saturated periods of history, bridging the 190th and 20th centuries. In the age of the atomic bomb and television, when opinions clashed about new principles of musical aesthetics, Richard Strauss chose not to follow any of the schools, but maintained his character and expression, also dabbling in taut expressionism and returning to sober neo-romanticism towards the end of his career. Ha was a genius orchestrator, an orchestra expert who dedicated pages of wonderful vocal masterpieces to the human voice as well. Strauss was married to singer Pauline de Ahna, who sang the premiere performances of most of his songs. Ornate piano backing, noble texts about love, endless flow of music - it is not without reason that the composer's biographer Ernst Krause pays the following tribute to Strauss' legacy: "What a richness of melodies in such a fine poetic world! What a sense of form, what a vitality of creativity and overflowing sensuality!"
Aleksandrs Antoņenko is one of the best-known Latvian tenors who in the recent years is a regular feature on the stages of world's premier operas and concert halls, singing and acting in lead tenor roles, almost thirty in total by now.
Antoņenko graduated from the vocal department of Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music under Arvīds Luste. He has been the most internationally recognised Latvian tenor since 2004 and debuted to great acclaim in the Düsseldorf, Berlin and Graz operas, the Dresden Semperoper, Oslo and Stockholm Royal Operas, Geneva, Paris, Rome and Munich opera Houses, Vienna State Opera, Covent Garden and at the New York Metropolitan Opera.
For his striking vocal performances in operas and Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem, Antoņenko was awarded the Latvian Great Music Award (2003). His laurels include the prize of the legendary Swedish tenor Jussi Björling and the Grand Prix de la Culture 2014, awarded by a jury composed of representatives of the Vienna State Opera, Istanbul State Opera, Erfurt Theatre, Nice Opera and Palm Beach Opera.
Daniels Pavļuts is a politician and the former Minister of Economy of Latvia. Initially Daniels Pavļuts studied music - in 1999, he received a bachelor's degree in piano from the Latvian Academy of Music. Afterwards he studied in Britain: City University London (culture management) and in 2007 graduated from Harvard University with a Master's degree in public administration specialising in leadership.