“Allied with Michael Schønwandt’s authoritative presence in the pit, this meant that the drama could be truly gripping…”
“…with top orchestral standards for Verdi’s most elaborate score under the perfectly-pacing Danish conductor Michael Schønwandt”
“The life-affirming spirit of Verdi’s comic masterpiece nevertheless comes over, partly because Danish conductor Michael Schonwandt displays the rich, autumnal colours of the scoring while never allowing his sense of dynamism to descend into the mechanical. Indeed, the music-making is of a consistently high standard.”
“Michael Schønwandt kept things bubbling nicely in the pit, double basses grumbling away in the splendid opening to Act III. Tempi never felt unduly rushed, but everything unfolded at a natural pace, allowing one to enjoy the fine singing and comedy on-stage.”
“The ever-dependable Michael Schønwandt and the ROH orchestra provided sparkling playing…”
“Michael Schønwandt conducts with an appreciation for Verdi’s comic skill…”
“Things moved swiftly, but not precipitously, along under the direction of conductor Michael Schønwandt, who launched the opening moments with dazzling bravura…”
“Ensembles court (but reliably avoid) danger thanks to thrilling pace and drive from Michael Schonwandt’s pit.”
Michael Schønwandt, born in Copenhagen, was Music Director of the Royal Orchestra and the Royal Opera in Copenhagen from 2000 – 2011 and has been associated with the company since 1979. In September 2010 he took up the position of Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also held posts as Chief Conductor of the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester (1992-1998), Principal Guest Conductor of La Monnaie in Brussels (1984-87), Principal Guest Conductor of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (1987-2000), and Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra. He is currently Principal Guest Conductor of the Staatstheater Stuttgart.
As well as his close association with the Royal Opera in Copenhagen (where projects have included a new Ring Cycle in the newly opened opera house in 2006) Michael Schønwandt has conducted at leading opera houses around the world, including regular appearances with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, La Monnaie in Brussels, Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opera, Nice Opera, the Stuttgart Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Cologne Opera and Die Meistersinger in Bayreuth. His vast operatic repertoire has included Alceste, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Idomeneo, Fidelio, Der Fliegende Holländer, Parsifal, Tannhäuser, Der Ring des Nibelungen, Lohengrin,Tristan & Isolde, Macbeth, Simone Boccanegra, Otello, Wozzeck, Falstaff,Eugen Onegin, Queen of Spades, Turandot, The Trojans, Salome, Elektra, Rosenkavalier, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Jenufa, The Cunning Little Vixen, Katya Kabanova, Le Grand Macabre and Maskarade by Nielsen.
Michael Schønwandt has a very active concert career and has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra (including all the Beethoven piano concertos with Alfred Brendel), Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hamburg Philharmoniker , the Dresden Philharmonic, Staatsorchester Stuttgart, Essen Philharmonic, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Orchestre National de Lyon, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, Helsinki Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Warsaw, the Royal Flanders Philharmonic, the Orchestre Symphonique de la Monnaie in Brussels and engagements in Bonn, Zurich, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, Graz, and Rome.
Michael Schønwandt has a special interest in Danish music. He is regarded as one of the leading exponents of Carl Nielsen’s music and has recorded all his symphonies and concertos. He has also recorded the complete symphonies by Niels Gade and Weyse and his interest in contemporary music has led him to conduct many world premieres by Danish composers. Other world premieres include the Third Violin Concerto by Henze with the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, and, most recently, György Kurtág´s Concertante and Poul Ruders’ operas Dancer in the Dark and The Handmaid’s Tale for the Royal Opera in Copenhagen, released on CD to great critical acclaim.
Michael Schønwandt has made many notable recordings with the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra for Chandos, including Strauss’ Salome, released in 1999, and hailed by the Gramophone magazine as the best recording ever of the work. The recently released DVD of the Copenhagen Ring has won many awards.
Recent and future operatic engagements include Lulu and Cosi fan Tutte at Opera National de Paris, Falstaff at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Elektra at Opera de Montpellier, Die Frau ohne Schatten in Copenhagen, Wozzeck and Ariadne auf Naxos in Stuttgart. Concert engagements include performances with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, the Danish National Radio Symphony, Hamburg Philharmoniker, the Staatsorchester Stuttgart, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Tampere Philharmonic, Flanders Philharmonic, Malmö Symphony, Zagreb Philharmonic, Essen Philharmonic, Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, Orchestre National de Montpellier, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie as well as a concert performance with Opéra de Marseille.