Thursday, May 19

New Yorker James Gaffigan, new musical director of the Palau de les Arts Orchestra | Valencian Community

James Gaffigan, in a rehearsal at the Palau de les Arts.
James Gaffigan, in a rehearsal at the Palau de les Arts.Miguel Lorenzo

New York maestro James Gaffigan, 42, will be the new musical director of the Palace of Arts from Valencia for the next four years, thus beginning “a period of stability and growth” for the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana (OCV), one of the musical groups most appreciated by critics in Spain. This was announced this morning by the artistic director of the coliseum, Jesús Iglesias Noriega, during the presentation of the programming for the 2021-2022 season of the Valencian theater. Gaffigan has already participated in some auditions to fill seats in the orchestra, the original selection of which was made by the French-American Lorin Maazel, the first musical director of Valencian opera.

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Gaffigan is “acclaimed for his musicality and a natural way of conducting,” Iglesias said. His time as head conductor of the Lucerna Symphony “has had a significant influence” on the profile of this group, which has increased the number of tours and recordings. He collaborates with the most important orchestras, among which are the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam, Paris, the National of France, the Bavarian Broadcasting, the Deutsches Symphonie-orchester of Berlin, the Staatskapelle of Dresden, the Mozarteum of Salzburg, the Tonhalle of Zurich, as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonics. , London, Munich, Rotterdam and Seoul.

Gaffigan will also be in charge of opening and concluding the season with two reference appointments: the “revolutionary” montage of the Requiem by Mozart with stage direction, set design, costumes and lighting by Romeo Castellucci, one of the most important names on the European theater scene; and the avant-garde and still unpublished Wozzeckby Alban Berg. Castelluci’s version had to be postponed this season due to the pandemic.

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Pablo Font de Mora, Jesús Iglesias and Raquel Tamarit, at the Palau de les Arts.
Pablo Font de Mora, Jesús Iglesias and Raquel Tamarit, at the Palau de les Arts.Mikel ponce

As a commitment to the audience, Gaffigan will direct two lyrical productions and two symphonic programs per season. “In the conditions of his contract, which will be effective as of next September, he appears to charge 2,000 euros per month plus the cache of the productions he directs, which is within international standards” with 9,000 euros per opera performance and 10,000 per concert ”, he added.

For this new season, the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana will incorporate 17 new permanent musicians to meet the “final goal” of “achieving a properly structured line-up of 79 musicians,” as Iglesias has announced. Currently, of the 74 current seats of the Orchestra, only 57 were covered indefinitely.

The programming for the 2021-22 season proposes a journey through eight centuries of music, from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, which includes repertoire works by Mozart (Requiem), gave (Macbeth) and Puccini (Madama Butterfly), along with avant-garde proposals (Wozzeck, by Alban Berg) and Handel’s baroque operas (Ariodante). For next season, the Palau de Les Arts has a total budget of 27.7 million euros. The official capacity will remain in principle at 75% due to the pandemic, but in the case of Les Arts it will be reduced to 66% for greater security, which caused a decrease in income in the 20-21 season of a 51%, although the gap was only half a million euros due to cost savings, as reported by Pablo Font de Mora, president of the board of trustees, who has been accompanied by the regional secretary for Culture, Raquel Tamarit. Is

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According to the artistic director of Les Arts, Jesús Iglesias Noriega, “artistically, the axes of the program remain: the presence of Mozart and Verdi, the recovery of the Central European repertoire; the restitution of Spanish heritage, with Manuel García; and the inclusion of unpublished masterpieces with The tales of Hoffmann, from Offenbach; as well as the presence of diversity of styles, from the Baroque of Ariodante Y Partenope of Händel, going through the verismo of Puccini or contemporary opera with Trouble in Tahiti, de Bernstein”.

In the staging, two women sign the only two new productions of the Les Arts season (the Requiem de Mozart is a co-production); Bárbara Lluch conducts A warning to the jealousby Manuel García; while Sol Picó presents a new dance show, Titanas.

The musical direction of the different proposals is entrusted to William Christie and Andrea Marcon in the baroque repertoire; Marc Minkowski for the critical edition of The tales of Hoffmann; Michele Mariotti for the Verdi repertoire; Antonino Fogliani for Puccini; or Jordi Bernàcer for Doña Francisquita, as well as Juanjo Mena (with a monograph by Kaija Saariaho), Gustavo Gimeno, Riccardo Minasi, Josep Pons and Mark Elder.

In the voices section, the artistic director has highlighted three reference quotes: Marina Rebeka, who captivated in 2018 with her Traviata, will make his first foray into the role of Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, while Pretty Yende will debut in Les Arts embodying for the first time in her career the four muses of The tales of Hoffmann. In addition to the return of Carlos Álvarez to star MacbethIglesias has cited performers still unpublished in Les Arts such as Piero Pretti, John Osborn and Alex Esposito, David Hansen, Christophe Dumaux, Jane Archibald, Sandrine Piau and Peter Mattei.

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Also returning are established artists such as Anna Pirozzi and Marco Mimica and renowned voices from the German repertoire such as Eva-Maria Westbroek and Christopher Ventris, along with Ruth Iniesta and Ismael Jordi in Doña Francisquita. In the lied and great voices cycles, Joyce DiDonato, Marianne Crebassa, Leo Nucci, Ervin Schrott, Matthias Goerne, Benjamin Bernheim, Lissette Oropesa and Jakub Józef Orliski will perform, among others.

Concerts dedicated to Helga Schmidt

The end of the current season offers two concerts on July 1 and 2 with the mass of Requiem by Verdi, conducted by the prestigious baton of Daniele Gatti, with the Les Arts orchestra and the Cor de la Generalitat, which has called off all planned strike days. The concerts will be dedicated to the memory of Helga Schmidt, the first mayor of the Palau de les Arts, who died in 2019. The strike committee of the Choir and the management of the Institut Valencià de Cultura (IVC) have reached an agreement after several weeks of negotiation. According to reports from the CNT union, “the approach has occurred when the IVC has promised not to publish the call for public job offer (OPE) positions for 2019 until the end of 2022”, which was one of the main demands of its members.

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