August 24, 2019
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The Dudamel-Valverde power couple shines at Spain’s Peralada Festival

 Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel and his wife, Spanish actor Maria Valverde, in an undated file image. EFE-EPA FILE

Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel and his wife, Spanish actor Maria Valverde, in an undated file image. EFE-EPA FILE

Peralada, Spain, Aug 10 (efe-epa).- The prestigious Mahler Chamber Orchestra on Saturday delighted audiences in the northeastern Spanish province of Girona under the baton of renowned Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

After performing in the cities of Granada, Madrid, San Sebastian and Santander, the nomadic MCO ended its Spain tour at Girona’s Peralada Festival by giving sublime renditions of Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, widely known as “Titan.”

For the first part of the concert, Dudamel’s spouse, Spanish actor Maria Valverde, read out fragments of William Shakespeare’s original play in sync with Mendelssohn’s incidental music, including the instantly-recognizable wedding march that may very well be the Romantic German composer’s most memorable creation.

The public appeared enchanted by this collaboration between one of the world’s foremost classical conductors and the popular film star, the first such joint appearance since the couple’s marriage in 2017.

Spectators also clapped and cheered with unbridled enthusiasm for the talented soprano Mercedes Gancedo, the mezzo-soprano Lidia Vinyes-Curtis and the 38 members of the Catalan Orpheum’s Cor de Noies (“young women’s choir”).

”We’re happy," Dudamel told EFE after the curtains dropped. “We do all this out of love,” Valverde, who walked out on stage barefoot and wearing a fairy-inspired white wedding dress, chimed in.

The concert was also exceptional because it marked the first iteration of the joint educational project between Dudamel’s foundation and the MCO’s counterpart, which led 41 young musicians from 10 countries between the ages of 16-30 to rehearse and perform the Titan symphony with the distinguished orchestra in a bid to make music more inclusive with future generations.

The project’s international participants, all of whom are still immersed in their formative training, hail from Argentina, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Spain, the United States and Venezuela.

“I want the sound of those who are happy to play together. Let’s make love,” Dudamel told them during rehearsals, provoking widespread laughter among the young pupils. EFE-EPA


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