Commitment to Challenge
When Ingo Metzmacher was, in some people's view, controversially appointed as General Music Director of the Hamburg State Opera, few could have imagined that just half-way through the first season, he together with Intendant Albin Hanseroth would have changed the mould of the house to such dramatic effect and so quickly.

Setting himself a major challenge from the outset by programming an enormously varied and demanding repertoire in the first part of the season including Macbeth, Dukas' Ariane et Barbe-bleu, Bruno Madern's Hyperion and Lohengrin, Metzmacher has achieved extraordinary musical results that have brought unanimous critical acclaim throughout Germany and, indeed, Europe. His position combines both his opera duties with those of masterminding the season of important concerts by the Opera's orchestra, the Hamburg Phlharmonic. There again, Metzmacher's imaginative, innovative programming together with high-powered and committed perfomances has inspired concert-goers and critics to new highs. The buzz in Hamburg is infectious.

Metzmacher has pledged himself to commit at least 75% of each season in Hamburg leaving only a few weeks each year for guest conducting. In the autumn, he made his Berlin Philharmonic debut conducting the world premiere of Henze's Ninth Symphony (recorded live for EMI) which led to an immediate invitation to return in 1999. This Spring sees two major projects in the UK: a nationwide tour witht he Bamberg Symphony Orchestra (of which he is Principal Guest Conductor) including a London concert at the Royal Festival Hall on April 1st in a typically demanding programme of Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Miserae, Bartok's Second Violin Concerto (with Viktoria Mullova) and Mahler's Fifth Symphony; as well as his London Philharmonic debut on April 3rd. This concert is part of the Royal Festival Hall's Turnage festival, and is another special Metzmacher programme bringing together Debussy Iberia, Turnage Your Rockaby and Stravinsky Petrushka. Hartmann, Bartok, Mahler, Debussy, Turnage and Stravinsky, all in three days - now there's someone not afraid to challenge themselves or their audiences!

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