The Belgrade Philharmonic and Chief Conductor Gabriel Feltz received a 10-minute standing ovation at the gala closing of the 2018-2019 concert season. The Belgrade Philharmonic, backed by the Obilić Academic Choir and featuring world-famous vocalists Tanja Baumgartner and Lavinia Dames, gave an unforgettable performance of Gustav Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 2.

Through this symphony, also called “Resurrection,” Mahler wanted to unify life and death, describing the last moment of a human life through the power of music. In his view there is no Last Judgment, no sinners or righteous, no punishment or reward, but only the feeling of an all-embracing love that fills us and illuminates our existence. This was exactly what happened on Friday night at Kolarac Hall, too small even to accommodate the 180 musicians who performed this masterpiece, let alone the audience that came to usher out the Belgrade Philharmonic’s concert season.

The audience had the unique opportunity to hear Tanja Baumgartner, one of the world’s foremost mezzo-sopranos, and superb soprano Lavinia Dames. And the music did not come only from the stage; a section of the orchestra was located on the balcony (with the assistance of Conductor Aleksandar Koji), thus conjuring up the full beauty and majesty of Mahler’s colossal work.

“Thank you for staying with us throughout the season. We had many excellent concerts; thank you for your applause and your loyalty. A big bravo for the Belgrade Philharmonic, for all the musicians! You are very meticulous, you have worked hard, and you were excellent. I am happy to be your chief conductor. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and see you at our open-air concert!” Gabriel Feltz said at the end of the concert and gave out several signed CDs to members of the audience.