Las Vegas Philharmonic Features Conductor Alondra de la Parra and Guitarist Pablo Villegas in LOVE AROUND THE WORLD Tonight
The sounds of Mexico, Spain and Arabian Nights will be conjured up by the Las Vegas Philharmonic with guest conductor Alondra de la Parra and guest soloist Pablo Villegas at the orchestra's final Masterworks Series concert for the 2013-14 season called "Love Around the World" tonight, April 26th at 7:30 p.m. at The Smith Center.
The program begins with two works by Mexican composers selected by Ms. De la Parra who over the course of her celebrated career has championed the music of her homeland. Ms. De la Parra holds the distinction of being the first Mexican woman to conduct in New York City and she is an official Cultural Ambassador for Mexican Tourism. She is the Music Director of the New York-based Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas having founded the orchestra in 2004 when she was 23. She is also the Music Director of the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra in Mexico.
The opening work, Danzón No. 2, is by contemporary Mexican composer Arturo Márquez. Based on the Cuban dance style of the same name, the danzón features what the composer describes as "nostalgic melodies" with which he evokes the dance music of Veracruz and the dance halls of Mexico. The second work on the program will be the short Intermezzo from Atzimba by Ricardo Castro Herrera (1864-1907.) Atzimba was an opera successfully premiered in Mexico City in 1900 but rarely staged since. Both the Danzón No. 2 and this work are featured on Ms. De la Parra's acclaimed 2010 Sony Classical recording "My Mexican Soul."
Completing the first half of the concert program, classical guitarist Pablo Villegas will showcase a masterwork of the instrument, Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. The 20th century Spanish composer (1901-1999) wanted his concerto to be an elegant symbol of by-gone Spain following his return to the country after the Spanish Civil War. He said: "The Aranjuez Concierto is meant to sound like a hidden breeze that stirs tree tops in the parks, and it should be only as strong as a butterfly, and as dainty as a veronica."
Since winning the Gold Medal at the inaugural Christopher Parkening International Guitar Competition in 2006, Mr. Villegas has established himself as one of the world's leading classical guitarists. Born in Spain but now living in New York, he has performed concerts in more than 30 countries with his four-performance debut with the New York Philharmonic under renowned conductor, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, resulting in two subsequent engagements with the orchestra. Mr. Villegas and Ms. De la Parra have frequently worked together. He made his debut with the Houston Symphony with her conducting and they collaborated on the "My Mexican Soul" recording.
The "Love Around the World" concert, and the 2013-14 Masterworks Series, concludes with one of the most popular of all symphonic works, Scheherazade by Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Showcasing the composer's skill as an orchestral colorist, the work is based on stories of The Thousand and One Nights, also known as the Arabian Nights, a collection of fantasy tales from Egypt, Persia and India, translations of which fuelled the musical Orientalism adopted by many composers of the time.
Rimsky-Korsakov's preface to his score details the story of the sultan Shakriar who, convinced of the falsehood and inconstancy of all women, has sworn an oath to put to death each of his wives after the first night. However, the sultana Scheherazade saves her life by arousing his interest in the tales she tells him during 1,001 nights. Driven by curiosity, the sultan postpones her execution from day to day, and at last abandons his sanguinary design.
The theme of Scheherazade appears in all four movements and is played, for the most part, by the solo violin. This will place the spotlight on Las Vegas Philharmonic concertmaster De Ann Letourneau.
"Love Around the World" is part of the love-themed 2013-14 season which concludes with a Pops Series concert "Paris, Je T'aime" on Saturday, May 17th. The Las Vegas Philharmonic will announce details of its 2014-15 series in April.
The Las Vegas Philharmonic offers $25 tickets for balcony seating at all of its 2013-14 season concerts. Seats in other sections are priced $46, $64 and $94. Tickets are available from The Smith Center Box Office, phone 702.749.2000 or online from lvphil.org. A 50% student discount is available on all single ticket purchases (ID required.)