In the fall of 2012, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra embarked on its first trip to Mexico for two concerts, one each at the Teatro Juárez in Guanajuato on October 8 and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City on October 10. Both programs included Franck’s Symphony in D minor and Brahms’s Second Symphony, and the encore each evening was Martucci’s Notturno.
Reviewing the first concert in Guanajuato, Luis Galindo, writing for Notimex, praised, “A concert that will not only be registered in the history archive of the International Cervantino Festival, but also in the minds of the audience that gave a prolonged standing ovation, which Muti, who received the festival’s International Award at the end of the concert, acknowledged standing next to the musicians and not from the podium.”
Two days later in Mexico City, the hall had been sold to capacity. To attempt to accommodate the demand, a live feed of the performance was projected onto large screens placed outside in the Plaza de Bellas Artes as well as in the hall’s lobby. In El Economista, Ricardo Pacheco Colín reported, “Nimble performances, supremacy of their instruments, and the injection of soul from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—and the surprising symbiosis that they accomplish with their music director, Riccardo Muti—was clearly palpable. The journey through the two pieces on the program was artful, performed brilliantly and fluidly. . . . Usually in an orchestra, all the musicians can read a score, but not all of them are virtuosos; characteristically, most, if not all, of this American ensemble are. . . . they are virtuosos in the full sense of the word, a title that is truly merited.”
Following the performance, “Bedlam from an audience on the verge of delirium. Deafening bravos!” according to Notimex. “Five different curtain calls for the Neapolitan conductor . . . an unforgettable night that we were all privileged to attend.”
Image above: Riccardo Muti leads the Orchestra at the Teatro Juárez in Guanajuato on October 8, 2012 (Todd Rosenberg photo)
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