The Melbourne Symphony was really on to something in 2017 when it engaged a young Russian conductor for a Rachmaninov concert. That concert was highly praised and since then, Stanislav Kochanovsky has made his debut with a number of other leading orchestras; not just debut performances but, importantly, he has made return appearances. Those included the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre de Toulouse and others; now the Orchestre de Paris, the Oslo Philharmonic and more are on his schedule. Kochanovsky is returning to the MSO in May(10th-13th) to conduct a program called Romeo and Juliet. Naturally the program will feature major excerpts from Sergei Prokofiev’s wonderful score for the ballet derived from Shakespeare’s play. Prokofiev composed the score in 1935 but its first performance only took place at the Bolshoi in 1940 due to artistic and political disputation.
The version introduced to Australian Ballet audiences in 1974 was created by John Cranko for the Stuttgart Ballet. The score is a genuine audience favourite with some parts, like the Dance of the Knights, becoming standalone hits. Kochanovsky’s program with the MSO will open with Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain then Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 1. The piano soloist will be Yulianna Avdeeva, an exciting presence who won the Polish Chopin Piano Competition in 2010. This intensely romantic program should show the MSO at its most thrilling.