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The 35 Festival Internacional de Música de Canarias (FIMC) [35th International Music Festival of the Canary Islands] opens with a concert opera on Thursday, 10 January at 8:00 pm in Auditorio de Tenerife Adán Martín. The concert will be performed again on Saturday, 12 January at the same time in Auditorio Alfredo Kraus in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.  The piece chosen is none other than Richard Strauss’s "Ariadne auf Naxos", to be performed by  Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife under the baton of its conductor Antonio Méndez, and a cast of voices featuring sopranos Ricarda Merbeth and Brenda Rae, tenors Roberto Saccá plus the Canarian singers Juan Antonio Sanabria, Anelio Gibrán, Elisandra Melián and Manuel Gómez Ruiz, among others.

The opening concert was presented today in an informative event that included the participation of the local minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport of the Government of the Canary Islands, Isaac Castellano; the island director for Culture of Tenerife Cabildo, José Luis Rivero; the event’s director, Jorge Perdigón; the conductor of Sinfónica, Antonio Méndez; and Belén Machado, head of Fundación Cepsa in the Canarias, which contributes to the concert and the introductory talks programmed in the festival.

Regarded as one of the most beautiful operas of the German repertoire, the concert is an opportunity to look into the world created by Strauss – a satire of high society, an insight into Renaissance’s patronage and opera itself, breaking of social hierarchies which are radically opposed as the outlandish characters of commedia dell’arte mingle with the famous and dazzling opera stars.  Because "Ariadne auf Naxos" is an opera within an opera, a unique case with impressive music.

It is produced by the festival, organized by the Government of the Canary Islands with  the collaboration of Fundación Cepsa, which also contributes to the introductory talks scheduled which are by musician and speaker Ricardo Ducantenzeiler. Those who wish to learn more about this production can come to the talk that is taking place an hour before the concert (7:00 pm) at the Auditorios.

Sinfónica de Tenerife, committed to the Festival as ever, is in charge of opening the event. For the first time, Antonio Méndez will be conducting his orchestra and a spectacular cast of ten singers. Ariadne and Zerbinetta will be performed by Ricarda Merbeth and Brenda Rae; Bacchus is played by Roberto Saccá; tenor Juan Antonio Sanabria has the role of Brighella; baritone Anelio Gibrán plays Harlekin; tenor Manuel Gómez Ruiz is Scaramuccio; bass José Coca plays Truffaldino; and the three nymphs, Dryad, Naiade and Echo are played by Mª Luisa Corbacho (mezzo), Elisandra Melián (soprano) and Svetla Krasteva (soprano).

Tickets are available at www.festivaldecanarias.comand the usual platforms of both Auditorios.

About 'Ariadne auf Naxos'

"Ariadne auf  Naxos", with score by Strauss and libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, was initially written in one single act, which came after the performance of Molière’s play "Le Bourgeois gentilhomme" ("The Bourgeois Gentleman"), for which Strauss wrote the incidental music, a divertimento. This is how it was premiered in the German city of Stuttgart in 1912, as well as in other cities.

Ariadne feels abandoned by Theseus in Naxos, after she helped him out of the labyrinth when he killed the Minotaur in Crete. Some nymphs watch her sleep and feel sorry for her fate. When Ariadne realises Theseus has deserted her, she evokes him and wishes he was dead. In the meantime, the comedians unsuccessfully try to entertain her to help her stop thinking about such disturbing issues, but she gets angry and leaves. Suddenly, the nymphs announce the arrival of a ship that brings the god Bacchus, who has managed to flee from Circe. Ariadne mistakes him for death and is ready to let herself be taken by her fatal fate. Then, she thinks it is Theseus who has come back for her until Bacchus shows his divine nature and carries her to heaven.

The fact is audiences were confused by this game that mixed commedia dell’arte and the classic myth of Ariadne, banished by Theseus to the isle of Naxos, where she curses her unhappy fate. This reaction finally convinced the writer who decided to prepare a prologue to explain the game that followed. Strauss did it reluctantly and also had long arguments with Hofmannsthal, but eventually they both agreed to add the prologue and Molière’s play was definitely ruled out. This new version of Ariadne was premiered in Vienna in 1916 and was hugely successful. This is how it has been performed ever since.

The two Viennese creators explore the definition of loneliness in female characters as well as fate, something already dealt with by Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte, another legendary key pair in the history of music as musician and librettist with titles like "Le nozze di Figaro" and "Così fan tutte".

Stage manager Christof Loy, who also took care of it at London’s Covent Garden, points out the relationship with the prologue as it “has to do with a philosophical art manifesto, about how it should be done and under which circumstances, which different influences artists use. However, the single act after the prologue has to be something else, it is about how we grow, how our feelings and outlook on the world change, and they don’t talk about it using the sarcastic resources of the prologue ".

Secrets of the success of this opera

The secrets of the success of this opera may be related to the treatment of music, so subtle, so modern and at the same time, so classic. "The structure is completely classic but this is an opera for virtuosos, for musicians to enjoy themselves in the pit”, the late Spanish conductor Jesús López Cobos said. In his opinion, Strauss did away with that Wagnerian obsession for a huge orchestra, which he shared in other works like "Elektra" and other titles. "He made the best of chamber music. It is a wonderful demonstration of balance between 37 musicians and 17 singers", the conductor stated.

One more good decision was to give the role of composer -a male role- to a woman, an idea of the musician which he included in the prologue. "Strauss believed that the genuine sensitive dimension of the creative effort was given by women rather than men, and among women, by mezzo sopranos, who could express mockery, power and tragedy much better than tenors, for instance", Loy says.

The experiment by this fascinating fruitful pair made up by Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal puts forward a fascinating review of classicism through this opera.  What is most outstanding in "Ariadne auf Naxos" is its surprising freshness, detached from its period. It is a game the creative pair suggested to make classicism even more everlasting and reconfirm Haydn and Mozart as the fathers of modernity.

Thus, half-way between comedy and simplicity, they manage to go deep into what interests them most: defining humankind through music and poetry, in a world that was coming out of the 19th century full of high and utopic expectations: women’s liberation, freedom for humanity, workers, in a plentiful progressive society that eventually succumbed to the Great War.

Other concerts

This is the first event in an ambitious programme that includes 44 concerts to be performed in some twenty different venues across all eight Canary Islands between 10 January and 10 February.  The programme includes great symphony orchestras and camera music groups that will interpret repertoires raging from the 15th century to the present day, including two works commissioned by the Festival.

This year, FIMC includes the participation of pianist María Joao Pires, Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, with the festival production of Verdi’s 'Requiem'; Hamburg Philharmonic conducted by  Kent Nagano and violinist Veronika Eberle;  St. Petersburg  Philharmonic conducted by  Temirkanov, with pianist George Li;  Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, conducted by David Afkham , Orchestra of Cadaqués, with conductor Anu Tali and pianist Joaquín Achúcarro; Cuarteto Quiroga, the prestigious pianist Martha Argerich;  London Conchord Ensemble;  Orquesta Barroca de Tenerife;  Minsk Chamber Philharmonic, Quantum Ensemble and Jordi Savall with Orquesta Hespérion XXI with the closing concert “The Routes of Slavery, 1444-1888”.

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On Saturday, 16 singer Pablo López is giving a concert as part of his “Santa Libertad” tour. It will be at 8:00 pm at Sala Sinfónica of Auditorio de Tenerife Adán Martín. He is presenting his record Camino, fuego y libertad and tickets for the show were sold out just a few days after going on sale.

“With this record I’ve turned things over: my life, my stories, even my home”, the Andalusian songwriter says, who is also singing his greatest hits at the concert. Since it came out on 15 December 2017, “Camino, Fuego y Libertad” has gone beyond the singer’s expectations as it won the gold record on its first week and the platinum record two weeks after it was issued.

The theme that presents this new record “El Patio”, has meant a liberation for López. Since it came out he can’t help getting emotional every time he sings it. “This song has healed me, it’s been more like yelling, I needed to let go something inside me, get rid of many of my ghosts… it set me free and it’s true it’s become some kind of exorcism every time I sing it because it stirs me deeply; to me it’s almost like a person”, he admits. “El Patio” music video reached 7 million visits on Youtube in just a month and is now over 18 million. The story is about the patio we all have inside ourselves, told by means of an artistic concept developed by Pablo López himself.  He had the collaboration of friends like Javier Cámara, Pablo Motos, Malú, Fernando Tejero, Juan Betancourt, Ana Milán o rManuela Melles.

After two records which have positioned him as one of the most relevant authors in Spain, the Andalusian singer is enjoying the best moment in his career, along with the success of Camino, Fuego y Libertad. This good professional moment comes too with the added popularity he has gained in the TV talent show La Voz, where he was one of the coaches.

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Tenerife International Contemporary Music Festival (FMUC) is offering the concert “An evening of compositions” by the Serbian musician Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic on Thursday, 14 June at 7:30 pm at the Sala de Cámara in Auditorio de Tenerife. The international musician will be accompanied by the Vienna Conservatoire Percussion Group, which he directs, and the Percussion Group of the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Canarias [Canary Islands Higher Music Conservatoire].

Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic, hailed by critics as one of the most expressive players of marimba and percussion, has included in his programme a total of eight pieces of his own: Homo Balcanicus, Oriental Fantasy, The Castle of the mad King, Lamento e danza barbara, Tensio, Sandy the hurricane, Carte Blanche and Tak-Nara (2º mov.). An hour before the concert, percussionist Verónica Cagigao will be giving a talk to put the repertoire in context and look into the figure of Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic and the Schlagwerk Wien Ensamble. The talk takes place at Sala de Cámara and admission is free.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased at the Auditorio de Tenerife box office, from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm Monday to Saturday, via the internet here or calling 902 317 327.

Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic, who is back at the FMUC once again, has had a great influence on international percussion for the last two decades, as authoritarian composer and virtuoso performer. He has toured throughout Europe, from Siberia to Spain, from Greece to Finland, several times in Asia, and in Latin America and the US every year. His marimba and percussion compositions have created a new level of performance and his captivating and energetic concerts have influenced generations of marimba players. Many of Zivkovic’s compositions (like Ilijas, Ultimatum 1, Trio per uno) have become standard in world contemporary percussion repertoire. His symphonic compositions are played by the best orchestras, such as National Symphony Orchestra from Washington D. C.; BBC Concert Orchestra, London; Orchestra di Santa Cecilia, Rome; Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra; and the Northern Symphony in Newcastle, United Kingdom. As a charismatic soloist mostly with his own marimba and percussion concerts, Zivkovic has played with Stuttgart Philharmonic; Munich Symphony Orchestra; Bochum Philharmonic; Austrian Chamber Orchestra; Hannover Radio Symphony Orchestra; Bielefeld Philharmonic; Belgrade Philharmonic; Slovenia Philharmonic; Slovenia Radio Symphony Orchestra; and Costa Rica National Symphony Orchestra, among others.

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Tenerife Contemporary Music International Festival (FMUC) is offering a concert by Tenerife group DifrAcción Ensemble at Círculo de Bellas Artes de Tenerife, in Santa Cruz. The recital is on Tuesday, 12 June at 7:30 pm. Admission is free.

The artistic director of the Tenerife ensemble, Leandro Martín, will be giving a talk about the repertoire an hour before the event. The musicians who make up the group are: Pablo Díaz (flauta), Laura Delgado (oboe), Samuel Hernández (clarinet), Mari Luz Trujillo (piano), Carlos Llácer (percussion), Judith Choi (violin), Sviatoslav Belonogov (viola) and David Barrera (cello).

The repertoire starts with “Asleep, my love 2”, by Daniel Roca Arencibia ; to then go on with “Mal despertar”, by Candelaria Dorta; followed by Tomás Rivero’s “Un nuevo comienzo”, and “Frei aber froh” by Germán Medina Calle, closing with “Past”, by Leandro A. Martín, “Aqua”, by Sergio Rodríguez and “Neum”, by Mirjana Anastasjevic.

On this occasion the programme is exclusively made up of pieces composed in this century by living Canarian composers who are members of Cosimte, the association of symphony composers and musicologists of Tenerife.

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The Orchestra of the Conservatorio Profesional de Música of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is offering a family concert on Saturday, 9 June at 12:00 noon. The adventures of Ábor and Gen is for children aged six and over and tells the story of a brother and a sister who pursue their dreams.

The Boys’ Choir of Conservatorio Profesional de Música de Santa Cruz de Tenerife is also performing. The programme includes pieces by composers like Luis Cobiella, G. Bizet, J. Williams, E. Morricone, F. Delgado Herrera, R. Chapí and Strauss, among others. Through a combination of music, choir and narration by Moisés Évora we will learn about the lives of Ábor and Gen, set in the 16th century. From their seats, all the members of the family can take part in a story about self-improvement that portrays two siblings whose goal is to do what they really like doing.

The concert is conducted by Ángel Camacho with soloists Airán Fariña (oboe), Georgy Mikheile (violin), Víctor Estárico and Eduardo Afonso (timples), María Candelaria Hernández (soprano) and Borja M. Molina (baritone). The choir is directed by Juan Ramón Vinagre.

The Orchestra of Conservatorio Profesional de Música de Santa Cruz de Tenerife is made up of students between the 4th and 6th years of professional training. Their main objective is to give its most outstanding students the opportunity to play in a group like this one as part of a training that will eventually allow them to become members of a professional orchestra. On the other hand, the Conservatoire promotes the staging of the music repertoire students have been working on during the year, giving them the chance to take part as soloists in different instrument specialities.

Tickets for this concert are all five Euros and can be purchased at Auditorio de Tenerife box office from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm, on the internet here or calling 902 317 327.

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Auditorio Adán Martín is hosting the 34th Canaries Music Festival which opens in Tenerife on Saturday, 13 January at 8.00 pm. On stage, we have the chance to see actor José Coronado, who in the role of Tsar Ivan ‘The Terrible’ himself, will narrate the story by Sergey Prokofiev along with the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Choir of Spain and one of the most outstanding present conductors, César Álvarez. They are joined by mezzo-soprano Polina Shamaeva and baritone Sergei Plyusnin, plus some 200 performers in a production steered by prestigious stage director José Carlos Plaza.

The 34th FIMC, one of the major cultural events of the Canary Islands Government, is offering a total of 31 concerts on all the islands between 11 January and 17 February. In Tenerife, all 5 concerts will take place at the Auditorio at 8.00 pm. Tickets are available on the Auditorio website and on www.festivaldecanarias.com

Performances

‘Ivan the Terrible” will be performed in Tenerife on Saturday 13, two days after its premiere at Palacio de Formación y Congresos in Fuerteventura. After the Canaries, it is touring different cities in mainland Spain. Ivan the Terrible is based on the life of Ivan Vasilevich, the mysterious Tsar Ivan IV, who ruled between 1533 and 1584, one of the longest reigns in the history of Russia. Remembered for his ferocity, he inspired both reverence and terror. The idea comes from a film project by Sergei Eisenstein, who asked Sergei Prokofiev to compose the music. The filmmaker had Stalin’s approval -admirer of Ivan IV- so the project had strong political shades. After shooting two of the three projected films, Stalinist censorship refused to allow the shooting of the third one. In fact, only the first film was screened in Eisenstein’s and Prokofiev’s time. The composer never actually listened to his work as it is performed today.

It will be performed by Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the best-known orchestras in the last decades. It has actually become a cultural asset, not just in Siberia but in Russia as a whole. According to the opinion of many Russian and foreign critics, spectators and musicians worldwide, the quality of the orchestra is comparable to the best orchestras in Moscow and St. Petersburg. They will play under the baton of César Álvarez (Asturias, 1973), a highly regarded conductor by international critics.

Canaries Orchestras

The two major Canaries orchestras are back at the Festival. The first one to perform is Tenerife Symphony Orchestra (OST), conducted by Guillermo García Calvo, on Thursday 18 January featuring the great Russian pianist Alexei Volodin as soloist. He is back at the Festival to perform Rachmaninov’s Concerto for piano and orchestra nº 2. The programme is rounded off with Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila Overture, and Fanfare for the Common Man by Copland, plus Symphonic Dances from West Side Story by Bernstein, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra (OFGC) will be in Tenerife on Thursday 25 January with the first performance of their new artistic director, Karel Mark Chichon. They are in charge of premiering the work commissioned by the Festival on its 34th year, ‘Campos del Sur’ by Canaries composer Víctor Landeira that will open the concert. They will go on to play Concerto for violin and orchestra in D Major Op. 61, by Beethoven, with prestigious violinist Pinchas Zukerman as soloist. The OFGC will also offer ‘Don Juan’ by R. Strauss, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol Op 34.

Vienna Chamber Orchestra and Munich Philharmonic

This year we also have the chance to listen to one of the most prestigious ensembles in Austria, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, to perform in Tenerife on 25 January with Dalibor Karvay as conductor and soloist. Bach is included in the programme with his Violin Sonata Nº1 and Piano Concerto Nº1, played by Iván Martín, one of the best Canaries pianists. They will also play Nielsen’s Little Suite for Strings and Baltic Composer P. Vasks’s ‘Distant Light’, a concerto for violin.

The closing concert will take place on 17 February in Tenerife featuring one of the best orchestras in the world, the Munich Philharmonic, conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado, one of the most international Spanish conductors today. As solo pianist, Javier Perianes will play Concerto for piano and orchestra Nº 3 by Bartok. The German group is also offering Symphony nº 50 by Haydn and Dvorak’s Seventh.

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