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The Yucatán Symphony Orchestra opens new season with Carlos Prieto

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Mérida, Yucatán — Almost two decades ago, composer Arturo Márquez accepted a commission from acclaimed cellist Carlos Prieto to compose a work that would be known as “Espejos en la Arena” (“Mirrors in the Sand”).

Carlos Prieto will perform the piece when the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra debuts its XXX Season, running from September to mid-December.

Carlos Prieto with Yo-Yo Ma. Photo: Courtesy

It’s an auspicious opening for a busy and compact season. Guest directors from Poland, Portugal and Brazil are included in 2018’s second concert program.

Program 1, on Friday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 9, is dedicated to Prieto, one of the world’s most respected cellists.

In addition, “Janitzio” by Silvestre Revueltas will be heard, along with “Balada del Venado y la Luna” by Carlos Jiménez Mabarak, “Sones de Mariachi” by Blas Galindo and, in closing, “Huapango” by Moncayo.

It is the first of 10 programs scheduled through December, concluding with four performances of the enduring cantata “Carmina Burana,” a grand opera.

Program 2 will once again welcome violinist Elena Mikhailova, who in 2016 performed in Mérida on two occasions, the second of them with the accompaniment of the symphony. Now she will perform on Friday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 23 with the Aram Khachaturian Violin Concerto. The orchestra will then perform Tchaikovsky’s Symphony 4.

For the last concerts of the month, on Friday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 30, guest conductor Piotr Sulkowski, visiting from Poland, will lead the Symphony in Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” overture, a concerto for oboe and harp by Witold Lutoslawski and Brahams’ Symphony No. 3. Soloists Alexander Ovcharov and Ruth Bennett, both symphony members, will be featured.

Program 4 will open the October calendar. Bostonian Mimi Stillman will return to share the stage with the orchestra on Friday, Oct. 5 and Sunday, Oct. 7.

The performances will be complemented by works from two other Nordic composers: the Norwegian Edvard Grieg and his “Peer Gynt” and the Finnish Jean Sibelius and his Symphony No. 5.

On Friday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 14, Program 5 will host — for the first time in Mérida — Olga Kirpicheva, a graduate of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow, with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Her performance will precede the “Fantastic Symphony” by Héctor Berlioz.

After a break, programming returns with the Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” on the 100th years since the composer’s birth. In the same concerts, on Friday, Nov. 9 and Sunday, Nov. 11, Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 will be heard.

Program 7, on Friday, Nov. 16 and Sunday, Nov. 18, will feature guest conductor Mario Mateus, presenting “The Magic Thief” by Gioachino Rossini; the Concerto for Flute by André Jolivet, with Joaquín Melo as soloist; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7.

The final of the José Jacinto Cuevas Yamaha National and International Piano Contest will mark Program 8 on Friday, Nov. 30, directed by Lanfranco Marcelletti, visiting from Brazil.

In the penultimate program, Juan Carlos Lomónaco will retake the conductor’s baton for Mozart’s 41st Symphony “Jupiter” and a suite of Tchaikovsky’s “The Swan Lake,” on Friday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 9.

Program 10 will say farewell to the season with the voices of soprano Anabel de la Mora, tenor Miguel Ángel Mena, baritone Enrique Ángeles and the Opera Workshop of Yucatan, which will feature the cantata “Carmina Burana” by Carl Orff from Dec. 13 to 16.

For Programs 1, 3, 6, 7 and 9 the tickets are 250, 200, 150 and 80 pesos; for Program 2, tickets are 350, 300, 250 and 150 pesos; Programs 4 and 5 are 300, 250, 200 and 100 pesos; Program 8 tickets are 200, 150, 100, 80 pesos, and for Program 10, tickets are 400, 350, 300 and 200 pesos.

Friday concerts are at 9 p.m. and Sundays begin at noon. Tickets can be purchased until Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Hotel Gamma Mérida el Castellano, Calle 57 No. 513, between 62 and 64; and starting Tuesday Aug. 28 at the Teatro Peón Contreras box office.

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