Stefan M. Dettlinger, Mannheimer Morgen, 7th April 2022

“Michael Francis puts his superpower at 1.3 million units. The number is based on the 1.3 million alligators present at the place where the principal conductor of the State Philharmonic lives. In Florida. A curiosity. Numbers like these can now be used to play cards. More specifically: Quartet. Because for the first time, there is a whole deck of cards with members of the German State Philharmonic of Rhineland-Palatinate (StaPhil), with which you can learn a little bit more about the people on and behind the stage. According to Artistic Director Beat Fehlmann at the orchestra’s annual press conference, it is ‘an invitation to get to know each other.’ After all, ‘what we do, depends on people’.

Appropriately and as a link, the motto of the 22/23 season is also ‘We keep playing. Play along!’ According to press spokeswoman Judith Schor, 138 concerts at more than 30 venues in Germany and abroad are on the program. In order to reach as many people as possible with their art, the State Philharmonic ‘ensures the symphonic supply of the region’ in 72 of its own events and 66 guest concerts. The orchestra sees itself as an “ambassador for Rhineland-Palatinate” and yet has an impact far beyond the state borders: ‘Once again, the State Philharmonic accompanies star tenor Jonas Kaufmann on his tour. Stops include the Isar Philharmonic in Munich, the Philharmonic in Berlin, or the Alte Oper in Frankfurt.’

But of course, the focus is on the festivals and series in the region. The second concert by Modern Times is noteworthy as the largest and newest project. For the first time in the large Friedrich Ebert Hall, Michael Francis will perform Igor Stravinsky’s dance shocker “The Rite of Spring” (Le Sacre du printemps)” (September 8) – coupled with a hip-hop solo and in cooperation with the Académie de Ballet Heidelberg, which in reality is only one small private dance school of a Madame Evelyne. ‘We’re trying to make the shock effect from back then tangible again,’ says Francis, who sees and feels heavenly connections and content parallels in all programs.”