December 24 to 26
Stingray Brava ends the year on a happy note! Make yourself comfortable and enjoy heart-warming oratorios, concerts, operas, and ballets during the holiday period. Tchaikovsky’s beloved The Nutcracker, Humperdinck's exciting Hänsel und Gretel and J. S. Bach's atmospheric Christmas Oratorio all bring about that Christmas feeling we all love. Moreover, the festive Christmas concerts Silent Night, Holy Night and Händel’s Water and Fireworks Music are guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit.
Stingray Brava will broadcast a rendition of Bach’s famous Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248). Enjoy a full performance by Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir. G. F. Händel’s Messiah offers up more music for worship, with the well-known ‘Hallellujah’. The final days of the year are perfect to enjoy some of the most beautiful classical music of all time. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker remains a seasonal favorite! Following this ballet, Stingray Brava broadcasts Humperdinck's thrilling opera Hänsel und Gretel: children and grandchildren alike will love it!
Monday, December 24 at 21:00 | J. S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248)
Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in a performance of J. S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) Parts I to III/Parts IV-VI. Claron McFadden (soprano), Christoph Genz (Tenor), Bernarda Fink (alto), Dietrich Henschel (bass) are the soloists. The Christmas Oratorio is a series of six cantatas, each originally intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period during the winter of 1734 and 1735 in Leipzig. Bach took many of the arias and choruses from works which had previously been composed, and the music represents an expression of the parody technique, where music is adapted to a new purpose. Gardiner is one of the finest interpreters of Bach’s vocal music and seems to use the choir as a soloist. The size of the choir is similar to that which Bach probably used. This performance is recorded at the Herderkirche in Weimar, Germany, on December 23 and 27, 1999.
Tuesday, December 25 at 10:05 | Handel - Messiah, HWV 56
The Messiah (HWV 56) by Georg Frederich Handel, also known as “A New Sacred Oratorio”, tells the life and suffering of Christ: a story of passion, fire, and sacrifice. This is one of Handel's best-known works, which took only three weeks to compose this oratorio and its famous "Hallelujah". The work has immense popularity since its premiere in Dublin in 1742, and is often presented at Easter. This performance of the Dutch ensemble Ribattuta Musica under the direction of conductor Dick Duijst was filmed in the grand church of the city of Ermelo, the Netherlands, in 2016. The soloists are Bernadeta Astari (soprano), Rosina Fabius (viola), Oscar Verhaar (counter-tenor) Satriya Krisna (tenor), and Hans Voschezang (bass). Ribattuta Musica is a professional ensemble that delivers authentic performances based on current musical practices at the time of the composers.
Tuesday, December 25 at 14:05 | Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker
This visually stunning production of Nutcracker is a graceful and timeless adventure on a grand scale. From the lovely Waltz of the Flowers to the crystalline beauty of the stunning Snowflake Waltz, each scene is more breathtaking than the last, bringing to life all the well-known and beloved characters with fresh sparkle and compelling originality. It is Christmas Eve and we are brought to a party at which Drosselmeyer gives young Clara a nutcracker doll - beginning a night that includes a magically growing Christmas tree, a midnight battle of toy soldiers at which the Nutcracker defeats the villainous Mouse King and his army of mice, and a headlong pas de deux in which Clara and Hans-Peter meet and celebrate their triumph before being enveloped in a magical snowstorm. Act II whisks the young pair off to the Kingdom of the Sweets, where they are entertained by the Sugar Plum Fairy with her handsome Prince and her glittering court in a series of dazzling dances. Under the direction of Andreas Morell, Valery Gergiev conducts the Mariinsky Orchestra and Choir. Soloists are Mikhail Makarov, lldar Abdrazakov, Anna Markarova, Sergei Skorokhodov, Timur Abdikeyev, Vladislav Sulimasky. This production was recorded at the Mariinsky Theatre in 2012.
Tuesday, December 25 at 21:00 | Humperdinck - Hänsel und Gretel
Recorded at the Semperoper Dresden in 2006, the orchestra of the Sächsische Staatskapelle is directed by Michael Hofsteller in a production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel. Soloists are Irmgard, Vilsmaier, Hans-Joachim Ketelsen, Antigone Papoulkas and Iris Vermillion. The composer of Hansel and Gretel, Engelbert Humperdinck, wrote was born in Germany in 1854. In the 1890s, his sister, Adelheid Wette, had written a libretto based on the Grimm fairy tale, and asked her brother to set it to music as a Christmas entertainment for her children. Later, Engelbert and Adelheid decided to turn this modest home project into a full-scale opera. Hansel and Gretel, premiered on December 23, 1893 at Weimar, was an instant hit and remains an everlasting masterpiece. The composer Richard Strauss, who was the assistant conductor for the premiere, called it "a masterwork of the first rank."
Wednesday, December 26 at 10:05 | Handel - Water and Fireworks Music
The Virtuosi di Praga, Prague Chamber Soloists and Prague Brass Ensemble led by conductor Andrew Mogrelia perform two works by Georg Friedrich Handel. The broadcast opens with a performance of the first of Handel’s “Water Music Suites,” in F Major (HWV 348), which premiered in 1717 in response to King George I's request for a concert on the River Thames. The musicians conclude with Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351), composed in 1749 under contract of George II of Great Britain for the fireworks in London's Green Park on 27 April 1749. The work celebrated the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. The performances are recorded at Cesky Krumlov Castle in Czech Republic, 1994.
Wednesday, December 26 at 14:00 | Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker
Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker is one of the best known and most loved pieces of the composer, the music of which has inspired many choreographers to the tell the colourful Christmas fairytale of E. T. A. Hoffmann and Alexandre Dumas senior in the language of dance. Ben Stevenson is to this day considered one of the most important shapers of the American ballet art. For almost thirty years, he has been the art director of the Houston Ballet and under his leadership the company has grown into an internationally acknowledged ballet theatre, and from the year 2003 he is the Artistic Director of the Texas Ballet. His stage productions have earned several renowned awards and praise from the critics, and have been staged at Opéra de Paris, Canadian National Ballet, La Scala, Bavarian State Opera, London City Ballet etc. This performance of the Nutcracker is recorded at the Teatro La Fenice (Venice) in 2012. With the Estonian National Ballet and star dancers Vladislav Lantratov and Galina Laush.
Wednesday, December 26 at 21:00 | Silent Night, Holy Night
This Christmas concert, recorded at the Berlin Schauspielhaus on the Gendarmeriemarkt, was one of the first joint musical productions of reunited Germany. Beautiful visuals of landscapes and other locations in snow and ice turn the concert into a romantic winter storybook. On the program are works by J. S. Bach, G. F. Handel and Prätorius. The Tölz Boys' Choir is led by Gerhard Schmidt-Garden, the Zagorsk Monastery Choir by Matfej Mormyl and the Staatskapelle Dresden by Ferdinand Leitner. Soloists are Maria Graf, Doris Soffel, Siegfried Jerusalem, Jochen Kowalski and Hermann Prey. Recorded in 1990 and directed by Bob Rooyens.