Javier Camarena, recently honored by the prestigious International Opera Awards organization as Male Singer of the Year, has positioned himself as one of the most outstanding and sought-after artists in the world, performing with resounding success in major opera houses and concert halls. In recent years, he has enriched his repertoire with new roles, notably those of Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Gualterio in Bellini’s Il Pirata.
After two years without a Season of Great Concerts due to the stoppage of the tours of the best international orchestras because of the COVID pandemic, the Auditorio de Zaragoza has presented today its offer for the year 2022. The new season, which will run from January to June and will feature a total of 12 concerts (two of them out of subscription), stands out for the high quality of the orchestras selected, among the best in Europe, and for the presence of Javier Camarena and outstanding conductors and soloists recognized worldwide.
It will be Javier Camarena who will open the season on January 17th with a concert out of subscription, in what will undoubtedly be one of the most passionate performances, after his acclaimed recital on January 25th in the Sala Mozart. The Mexican tenor, rated best opera singer in 2021 by the International Opera Awards organization, has always expressed his particular fondness for the acoustics of the Sala Mozart since his first appearance on this stage on January 8, 2019, which sold out the available tickets.
The great European orchestras
On January 18, the turn of the great orchestras will be opened by the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of the Spaniard Gustavo Gimeno after his brilliant stint with the Berlin Philharmonic, in a concert where he will conduct the Symphony in D minor by C. Franck, a profound work, with many layers and contrasts, and which puts in contact the French cyclical form and the German Romantic form, with broad influences of Wagner and Liszt. Beatrice Rana, the dazzling Italian pianist, will accompany the ensemble in the first part of the concert to perform Rachmaninoff’s celebrated Rhapsody for Piano on a Theme of Paganini.
On February 3, the Mariinsky Theater Symphony Orchestra, considered one of the best orchestras in the world, will perform with its chief conductor Valery Gergiev at the helm. The Russian conductor is one of today’s most popular conductors, possessing an uncommon dynamism in front of the music stand, with a firm, vehement and vigorous style, very much in the tradition of the Russian School of conducting, performing Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2, and the symphonic poem A Hero’s Life by Richard Strauss, with the participation of Nelson Goerner at the piano.
The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande will take the international baton on February 23rd, opening its concert with the evocative Concerto for flute and orchestra by Jacques Ibert, with the undisputed leading role of Emmanuel Pahud, considered the best flutist in the world and first flute of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra since 1993, accompanied by the musicians of the Suisse Romande. As a curiosity, Pahud tours the most brilliant stages with his 14K gold Brannen Cooper flute, with Jonathan Nott at the baton. The Suisse Romande will close the program with an ode to death, life and love in five passionate movements: Gustav Mahler’s legendary Symphony No. 5.
March 17 features the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (ORF), the regular orchestra of the Musikverein and Konzerthaus and rated as Austria’s most versatile, with Marin Alsop, as conductor and cellist Kian Soltani as soloist, performing Hannah Eisendle’s Heliosis, Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor, op.129 and Dvořák’s Symphony No.7. Marin Alsop, a student of Leonard Bernstein and the only conductor to receive a MacArthur Fellowship is recognized on the international music scene, taking her belief that “music has the power to change lives” around the world. For his part, Kian Soltani, one of the most outstanding cellists of his generation, has been described by Gramophone as “pure perfection”. His performances are characterized by his technical mastery and ability to create an immediate emotional feeling with his audience.
The only British orchestra of the season, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, will make its Mozart debut on April 20. The Philharmonia is the most recorded orchestra in the world and has had conductors of the stature of Karajan, Klemperer or Mutti. In its Zaragozan appointment, it will perform the only violin concerto composed by Beethoven, Violin Concerto in D Major, op.61, which has become an essential in the repertoire of the instrument and on this occasion in interpretation of the Scottish Nicola Benedetti, the gifted violinist winner, in 2020, of the Grammy in the category Best Classical Instrumental Solo, which, as a curiosity, in some concerts she performs with a Gariel Stradivarius (1717). Conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali, the ensemble will close the program with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
On May 11, it will be the turn of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, one of the orchestras of greatest projection in the current European music scene with Daniel Harding as conductor, who also happens to be the principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. The concert, entirely dedicated to J. Brahms, will include symphonies 1 and 3 by the German composer. As a note, Brahms’ Symphony 1 has been called by some as “the Tenth”, in reference to Beethoven’s nine symphonies, although there is not much relation with Beethoven’s style, but it is a very characteristic work of the mature Brahms. In any case, Brahms’ symphonies constitute one of the culminations of the symphonic genre of the 19th century and have remained consistently at the top of the symphonic repertoire up to the present day.
On May 24, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the most renowned orchestras in the world and the oldest in Russia, will take the stage of the Mozart, with the great maestro Yuri Temirkanov as conductor, whose fifty-year career positions him as one of the best conductors on the music scene. In this unique performance the maestro will conduct Bizet’s Carmen Suite and Rakhmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with the leading role played by the great international pianist Behzod Abduraimov.
The protagonism of our orchestras: from Bach to Stravinsky, including Nebra.
In this reunion with the great orchestras, there is also a place for our own musical groups of the highest quality, such as the resident groups of the Auditorium: Al Ayre Español, Los Músicos de Su Alteza and the Orquesta Reino de Aragón, as well as the Orquesta Sinfónica del CSMA.
On February 14, the CSMA Symphony Orchestra will perform, an academic formation with increasingly refined and mature results under the direction of Miguel Rodrigo, with a program focused on C.M.V. Weber and Stravinsky. The first part will be dedicated to the compositions of the German romantic master, with the overture to The Poacher, Op 77 and Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra No. 2, which will feature the soloist Francisco Antonio García, who teaches at the Clarinet Chair of the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Aragón and whose great musicality and technical mastery have always been highlighted by the critics. The concert will close with Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
On March 8, the internationally renowned ensemble Al Ayre Español, conducted by Eduardo López Banzo, will perform a program centered on works by Cabanilles, Durón, Corelli, Francés de Iribarren, Seixas, de Torres and the Aragonese José de Nebra. As its title proclaims, ¡Con júbilo en el orbe! will be the great celebration of Spanish Baroque music.
April 4 will be the moment for one of the works in the history of music that are beyond doubt. Its greatness transcends the temporal and the strictly musical, artistic. This is the case of the Passion according to St. Matthew, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in the late 1720s. A work interpreted in the musical part by The Musicians of His Highness and in the choral part by the Amici Musicae Choir. Both groups will be conducted by Luis Antonio González, conductor of the baroque orchestra Los Músicos de Su Alteza, and Igor Tantos, conductor of the Coro Amici Musicae. The role of Evangelista will be played by tenor José Pizarro, while bass-baritone Pablo Acosta will lend his voice to Jesus.
The season will be closed by the Orquesta Reino de Aragón on June 23, in a concert ‘out of subscription’ and with a program yet to be determined, pending its upcoming tour of China, but which promises to be spectacular. A resident orchestra, like the previous groups, of the Auditorio de Zaragoza, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, under the direction of Ricardo Casero, and which, according to the critics, presents a maturity and interpretative fluency at the height of the great orchestras that make up the Spanish orchestral panorama.
An exceptional program of reunion with the Great Orchestras, and that will be the prelude to the return to complete normality in the programming of our city.