Saariaho oratorio is postponed

The Los Angeles Philharmonic has postponed the U.S. premiere of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's "La Passion de Simone," which was set to open the 2007-08 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall in October, until the following season.

The delay was made "after much consideration" by Philharmonic music director Esa-Pekka Salonen and stage director Peter Sellars, "who now feel it is important to present this work in its fully staged form," according to a statement issued by the Philharmonic.

The revised program will include Luciano Berio's orchestration of Bach's Contrapunctus XIX, Richard Strauss' "Metamorphosen" and Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.

Saariaho's "Passion," based on the life of 20th century French philosopher and mystic Simone Weil, was premiered in 2006 at the New Crown Hope Festival in Vienna. It was written for soprano Dawn Upshaw, who withdrew from the premiere when she was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks before the first performance. Upshaw sang the work at its British premiere in July and, according to the Philharmonic statement, will also sing it in Los Angeles.

-- Chris Pasles

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