This programme features various Russian atmospheres with performances by Kirill Petrenko and Arcadi Volodos. Petrenko, who has built a close relationship with a number of major opera houses over the last few years and who will be assuming the post of music director of the Bavarian State Opera starting this season, has chosen to conduct music from his homeland for his first appearance with the RCO. His fellow countryman Volodos will be performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 – an ‘extremely difficult, strange, wild and ultra-modern’ work, as one critic called it when it was premiered in 1875. Despite the reservations expressed by Nikolay Rubinstein, a pianist and friend of Tchaikovsky’s, the work was enthusiastically received. After the Tchaikovsky, Petrenko will be leading the orchestra in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherezade with its splendid exotic colours.