Arrow Iwona Sobotka sings “Four Last Songs” by R. Strauss at Łódź Philharmonic

08 Mar, 2024
Iwona Sobotka sings “Four Last Songs” by R. Strauss at Łódź Philharmonic
© Iwona Sobotka / Michał Heller

On March 15, Iwona Sobotka will sing “Four Last Songs” by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) during a special Symphony Concert at the Łódź Philharmonic. Aside from the German composer’s songs, the program features “Symphony No. 2 in D major” by Brahms’ and “Passacaglia” by Webern. The Łódź Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Conrad van Alphen.

Strauss created “Four Last Songs” in 1948. The composer was 84 at the time. Paweł Majewski writes about the short cycle: Strauss knew about Auschwitz, he most likely saw photos from Bergen-Belsen. He himself went through the denazification procedure. While living in Switzerland, he wrote four songs that summer (as well as a draft of the fifth) at the request of his son. He did not combine the compositions into a cycle himself, the publishers did. Three of the songs – “Spring” (Frühling), “September” and “Falling to Sleep” (Beim Schlafengehen) were written to texts by Herman Hesse, and the last one – “In Twilight” (Im Abendrot) – to a text by Joseph von Eichendorff. The songs were composed “for high voice and orchestra”.

Iwona Sobotka has over 20 roles in her opera repertoire. She has performed at Paris Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid, Chicago Opera Theater, Komische Oper in Berlin and the Polish National Opera in Warsaw. The singer has collaborated with leading symphony orchestras, including: the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Staatskapelle Berlin conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. She appears in Polish vocal repertoire – the works by Karol Szymanowski in particular. In the current season, Iwona Sobotka is the artist-in-residence at the Łódź Philharmonic. The March concert will mark the first out of four performances of the singer lined up for her residency.

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