Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chicago Symphony in Mexico

After a brief work stoppage a couple of weeks ago, as the musicians of the Chicago Symphony and their management resolved several hangnails in their contract negotiations, the CSO went right back to work, then on the road. Last week the orchestra was in residence at Carnegie Hall, in New York City. This week, they are in Mexico, the orchestra's first visit to the International Cervantino Festival; on Wednesday they play in Mexico City's Bellas Artes. Needless to say, this great orchestra is being greeted as a conquering hero.

The Festival Internacional Cervantino, named after the Spanish writer Cervantes, is now a 40 year old Mexican cultural landmark. The trajectory has not always been true. There have been ebbs and flows, largely related to the Mexican economy, yet the Cervantino has continued to survive. Even in its leanest years there have been exceptional lineups of international artists. If one needs evidence that the arts are alive and well, a visit to the Cervantino surely provides substantial room for optimism. It is a street party. It is spontaneous artistic combustion. In addition to the constant and informal performers on the sidewalks, there are officially sanctioned events morning, noon and night. I am certain the Chicago Symphony is having a blast in Guanajuato, the 16th Century principal venue of the festival. ¡Viva the CSO!. ¡Viva Riccardo Muti, the orchestra's conductor! ¡Viva México! The orchestra continues its brief Mexico tour next week with a concert in Mexico City's Bellas Artes.

Here is a good account of the orchestra's first couple of days in Guanajuato. I sure wish I could be there.

James Baker- host and producer: Itinerarios

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