Home » Classical + Opera

Chicago Symphony on Tour: Flight snafu resolved, musicians open series in Canary Islands

Submitted by on Jan 10, 2014 – 11:59 am

The coast of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, first stop for the touring Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Jan. 2014 (© Todd Rosenberg)

Report:  Music director Riccardo Muti and the CSO play four concerts in the Canary Islands Jan. 10-14. Spain’s  idyllic islands off the northwest coast of Africa offer architecturally striking music halls. 

By Nancy Malitz

CSO photos by Todd Rosenberg

Touring musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra have been no less subject to travel woes in Chicago’s frigid winter than the rest of us. The first destination of the current CSO tour was Spain’s Canary Islands, an archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa, via a connecting flight in Madrid.

CSO Violin Wendy Meir enjoyed a walk on the beach with her family in Las Palmas before rehearsals got underway. (© Todd Rosenberg)But the plane left Chicago late on Jan. 6 — too late for the Madrid connection, and the musicians were split into three contingents who made it to Las Palmas in the Canaries over the hours of Jan. 7 on various flights, the last arriving shortly before midnight.

No polar plunge to suffer through in Las Palmas, though, as the musicians spent Jan. 8 reuniting with their instruments and otherwise enjoying a day of rest, beach and warming sun.

Music director Riccardo Muti is scheduled to conduct all concerts on the tour, including four in the Canaries — which are heralding the 30th anniversary of the Festival Internacional de Música de Canarias with this debut visit by the  CSO.

The orchestra is taking two programs along.  One offers Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony paired with Berlioz’ “Symphonie fantastique.” The other includes ballet music from Verdi’s “Macbeth” and Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet as well Richard Strauss’ tone poem “Death and Transfiguration.”

The first two CSO concerts are booked into the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus  in Las Palmas on the most populous of the islands — Gran Canaria. The hall is named for that aristocrat of tenors, the late Alfredo Kraus, who was born in Las Palmas and enjoyed a very close relationship with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, performing in 15 different operas there from his debut in 1962 to his last performance, as Edgardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor,” in the fall of 1990. He died in 1999.

Alfredo Kraus Auditorium. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Canary Islands (Wiki Commons)

The second pair of CSO concerts are scheduled for the spectacular Auditorio de Tenerife, an iconic piece of Spanish architecture in Santa Cruz on the nearby island of Tenerife.

Auditorio de Tenerife, Canary Islands (Wiki Commons)

The Auditorio, completed in 2003, is famous for its great arch, which appears to defy gravity. Viewed from afar, its sail-like silhouette is not unlike the Sydney Opera House in Australia; hence Tenerife’s nickname — “The Sydney of the Atlantic.”

After the Canary Islands, the Chicago Symphony heads into mainland Europe for a concert in Essen, Germany, an industrial center about 50 miles north of Cologne, where the CSO has performed twice recently. The last stop is to be a performance in Luxembourg — a return visit for both Muti and the CSO.

(The tour is underwritten by Bank of America, the orchestra’s global sponsor, with additional support from the Zell Family Foundation.  (Helen Zell is a CSO trustee.) Additional support is provided by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.)

Tags: , , , ,