January 28, 2011 / 4:13 PM / 7 years ago

Conducting "legend" Abbado to perform in London

<p>Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at the newly reopened Teatro Massimo in Palermo May 11. ITALY THEATRE</p>

LONDON (Reuters) - Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, dubbed the world’s greatest by the Financial Times, will perform at London’s Royal Festival Hall in October with his acclaimed Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

The rare appearance by the 77-year-old, who has recovered from stomach cancer, is billed as a highlight of the Southbank Centre’s 2011/12 season, which also includes heavyweights like Briton Simon Rattle and Israeli Daniel Barenboim.

Abbado last played at the Royal Festival Hall in 1999 with the Berliner Philharmoniker, a year before he was diagnosed with cancer. Three years later he formed the Lucerne orchestra, many of whose members were picked by the conductor himself.

For the two Festival Hall appearances, Abbado will conduct Bruckner’s Symphony No. 5 in both concerts, Mozart’s Haffner Symphony (October 11) and Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Helene Grimaud as the soloist (October 10).

Speaking of the Lucerne orchestra, Abbado has said: “Everyone is willing to do the craziest things I make them do for the sake of the music -- to fly, to walk through fire.”

Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel returns to the Southbank Center in June 2012 with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.

Their 2009 residency won rave reviews in London and attracted over 60,000 visitors to Southbank over a single week.

In January and February 2012, Vladimir Jurowski leads the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a major festival dedicated to the Russian composer titled Sergei Prokofiev: Man of the People?

The six all-Prokofiev concerts will showcase much-loved favorites alongside rarely heard music for the concert hall, stage and cinema, including the world premiere of a new oratorio version of “Ivan the Terrible,” originally composed for Sergei Eisenstein’s film.

In June, 2012, Rattle joins the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for rare period instrument performances of Debussy’s “Prelude a l‘apres-midi d‘un faune” and “La mer,” Faure’s Suite from “Pelleas et Melisande,” and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand with soloist Pierre-Laurent Aimard.

And in April, 2012, Barenboim returns with the Staatskapelle Berlin for The Bruckner Project comprising three concerts featuring Bruckner’s Symphonies Nos. 7, 8 and 9 and Barenboim directing two Mozart piano concertos from the keyboard.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato

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