French Classics

Fabien Gabel - Beatrice Rana


For music lovers.
For romantics.

About the performance

Feel the warm embrace of a late-spring evening as Melbourne’s orchestra transports you to France for a magical evening of passion and wonder. The enormously-talented conductor Fabien Gabel leads a concert that will delight classical music lovers and entice first timers to the MSO.

The concert begins with a piece regarded as a turning point in classical music; Debussy’s symphonic poem Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. The Orchestra performs the story of a mythical faun, drifting into daydream whilst being enchanted by nymphs. The single-movement piece opens with a languorous solo flute melody, reflective of the faun’s sumptuous dream state.

Sergei Prokofiev was one of Russia’s greatest composers, however it was in Brittany, on France’s northwest coastline, where he crafted his most famous piano concerto. Be moved by the piece’s striking opening movement, and listen for the distinctive castanets that reappear throughout the concerto. Through three movements the tempo and dynamic intensifies, led largely by the sparkling Italian pianist, Beatrice Rana, who makes her MSO debut with this tempestuous piece.

Following interval, and a glass of sparkling if you so desire – this is a night of French Classics, after all – Australian mezzo-soprano Fiona Campbell will spin the long, languid lines of Debussy’s Ariettes Oubliées (Forgotten Songs). Six short arias will float through Hamer Hall. These songs will be forgotten no more, courtesy of one of Australia’s finest singers.

Your evening concludes with Ravel’s spectacular ballet suite, Daphne et Chloé. Described by Stravinsky as ‘one of the most beautiful products in all of French music’, and featuring the mighty MSO Chorus, this impassioned work conveys the ancient love story of young shepherd Daphnis, and his beautiful Chloe.


Fabien Gabel conductor | Beatrice Rana piano | Fiona Campbell mezzo-soprano | MSO Chorus


Debussy Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.3
Debussy/Dean Ariettes Oubliées
Ravel Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No.2

Pre-concert talk

Friday, 23 November and Saturday, 24 November
Join Cybec Young Composer in Residence, Ade Vincent, for a pre-concert conversation inside Hamer Hall from 6.15pm.

Post-concert conversation

Monday, 26 November
Join composer and ABC Classic FM producer, Andrew Aronowicz for a post-concert conversation inside the Stalls Foyer of Hamer Hall from 8.30pm.

Running time

1 hour and 50 minutes, including a 20-minute interval

Want to increase your music knowledge?

Attend Ears Wide Open: Debussy, where you will learn about one of the pieces being performed at the concert.

For only $35 ($30 concession), you will go on a part-concert, part-guided-music journey with MSO Cybec Assistant Conductor, Tianyi Lu.

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