Monday, September 14, 2015

Independence Music

Fine opening concert by the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Palacio de Bellas Artes this evening. There's been an anticipatory buzz about this for weeks, partly because it's a rare visit by the LPO, but also because the conductor is Alondra de la Parra, revered by many, doubted (or possibly just envied) by others. As a woman in a largely man's world*, and a young (35) woman at that, she's up against a fair amount of old-school prejudice. 
Interestingly, it's very much a female-fronted tour. Jennifer Pike provided the solos for pieces by Saint-Saens and Vaughan Williams tonight, and singers Jennifer Johnston and Olivia Gorra will perform later this week. 
Anyway, aside from the gender gossip, the other interesting thing about the evening was the inclusion of three Mexican works: Silvestre Revueltas's Janitzio (from the 1930s), José Pablo Moncayo's Huapango ('40s) and Arturo Márquez Dance No.1 ('90s), the last two especially - as encores - going down a storm. Clever programming what with Independence Day coming up. Oh, and did I mention that de la Parra is eight months pregnant? 

* Only five women feature in a recent list of the world's 150 greatest conductors (Backtrack music listings website)

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