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Santtu conducts Elgar’s Enigma Variations

Royal Festival Hall
£20 — £75
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Sol Gabetta leaning on her cello case and smiling


Santtu-Matias Rouvali – conductor
Sol Gabetta – cello


Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 Listen

Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 Listen

— Interval —

Elgar Enigma Variations Listen

The Philharmonia Orchestra’s 2023/24 season closes with Elgar’s enduringly popular paean to friendship.

Well-known performers of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 include Tom and Jerry (in 1946 Oscar-winner The Cat Concerto), Woody Woodpecker and Rowlf the Dog on The Muppet Show. Santtu has chosen it to get the Philharmonia’s season finale off to a rousing start.

At the heart of the programme is Shostakovich’s fiery Cello Concerto No. 1. Widely considered the height of achievement for a cellist, the piece gives the principal horn, celesta, and indeed every member of the orchestra, the chance to shine too. Sol Gabetta’s last performance of this concerto with the Philharmonia was acclaimed as ‘a compelling account shot through with playfulness and poetic rhapsodising… technically formidable’ (Bachtrack).

The Enigma Variations, Elgar’s tribute to his closest friends, crowns the programme and the season. From the tender grace of the first variation, representing his beloved wife Alice, to the solemn grandeur of ‘Nimrod’, and other character sketches full of warmth and humour, this is the work that launched Elgar on the road to his status as a national treasure.

Need to know

Prices & Discounts

£20 – £75

Multibuy offer available; under-18s and concessions discounts available

Running time

2 hrs, including an interval

Recommended age

From 7+

Programme notes

Free printed programmes will be available at the venue. Digital programme notes available a week before the event.

Box office

Philharmonia Box Office: 0800 652 6717
Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm


Royal Festival Hall

Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

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Book tickets
£20 — £75