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Rafael Payare Makes Covent Garden Debut, Returns to LSO & Munich Phil, & Leads Montreal Symphony at Carnegie Hall & Kennedy Center (Feb & March)

Rafael Payare (photo: BGE)

(January 2023) — Rafael Payare, the Venezuelan conductor who “seems to hit the jackpot wherever he goes” (Philadelphia Inquirer), undertakes three major European engagements in February and March. He makes his company debut at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with Il barbiere di Siviglia (Feb 2–22), before returning to the podiums of both the London Symphony Orchestra (Feb 23) and Munich Philharmonic (March 22–24). March also sees Payare return to California’s San Diego Symphony (SDS), where he is now in his fourth season as Music Director (March 1 & 2), and continue his inaugural season as Music Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) with performances of Mahler’s monumental Fifth Symphony, on tour at Washington’s Kennedy Center (March 6) and New York’s Carnegie Hall (March 8).

Covent Garden debut & returns to LSO & Munich Philharmonic

A dedicated opera conductor, Payare has led productions on such celebrated stages as those of the Royal Swedish Opera, Royal Danish Opera, and England’s Glyndebourne Festival, where he made his first appearances in 2019. “Payare’s conducting is just the right blend of precision and panache, prompting a performance full of character from the London Philharmonic Orchestra,” wrote the Financial Times of this auspicious debut, for which the vehicle was Il barbiere di Siviglia. Now, later this winter, it is with Rossini’s same beloved opera buffa that Payare makes his company debut at another of Britain’s foremost operatic institutions. At London’s storied Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, he will lead six performances of Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s classic production of the opera, with a star-studded international cast (Feb 2, 5, 9, 13, 15 & 22). Andrzej Filończyk sings the title role, with Aigul Akhmetshina as Rosina, Bryn Terfel as Don Basilio and Lawrence Brownlee as Count Almaviva (except on Feb 22, when the part will instead be played by Konu Kim).

While in the British capital, Payare also returns to the London Symphony Orchestra for an all-Russian program, combining Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird, in the complete, original version, with Sofia Gubaidulina’s Fairytale Poem and Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto, featuring BBC Music Award-winning Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang as soloist (Feb 23).

To complete his trio of European engagements, the conductor returns to the Munich Philharmonic. As in London, he opens his program with Gubaidulina’s tone poem, this time followed by Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote and Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. Principal violist Jano Lisboa and principal cellist Michael Hell undertake the roles of Sancho Panza and Don Quixote in the Strauss, while Japanese pianist Kyohei Sorita, a top prize-winner at the 2021 Chopin Competition, joins Payare and the orchestra for the Rachmaninoff (March 22–24).

Mahler 5 with Montreal Symphony at Carnegie Hall & Kennedy Center, Plus Return to SDS

Payare returns to North America between his European dates. After rejoining California’s San Diego Symphony, where his directorship has already proven transformative, for a program of Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Mozart (March 1 & 2), he reunites with the Montreal Symphony for a pair of high-profile U.S. concerts. This past fall, he inaugurated his tenure as Music Director of the Canadian orchestra with a season-opening rendition of Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony that “will be remembered as a major milestone in the history of the OSM” (Le Devoir, Canada). The performance launched a new, multi-season Mahler cycle, which he and the orchestra continue with accounts of the Bohemian composer’s monumental Fifth Symphony at two of the U.S.A.’s foremost venues: Washington’s Kennedy Center, where they will be presented by Washington Performing Arts (March 6), and New York’s Carnegie Hall (March 8). Both concerts are eagerly anticipated; already known for his “spectacular Mahler” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), the conductor’s “approach to the Fifth is riveting celebration” (Los Angeles Times).

High-resolution photos are available here.

Rafael Payare: upcoming engagements

Feb 2, 5, 9, 13, 15, 17 & 22
London, UK
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (debut)
(With Aigul Akhmetshina: Rosina; Andrzej Filończyk: Figaro; Lawrence Brownlee/Konu Kim: Count Almaviva; Bryn Terfel: Don Basilio; Fabio Capitanucci: Doctor Bartolo; Ailish Tynan: Berta; Josef Jeongmeen Ahn: Fiorello; Royal Opera Chorus; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House)
ROSSINI: Il barbiere di Siviglia

Feb 23
London, UK
London Symphony Orchestra
Sofia GUBAIDULINA: Fairytale Poem
STRAVINSKY: The Firebird (original version)
SHOSTAKOVICH: First Violin Concerto (with Vilde Frang, violin)

March 1 & 2
     March 1: Escondido, CA (California Center for the Arts)
     March 2: San Diego, CA (PHAME Performing Arts Center)
San Diego Symphony
RAVEL: Pavane pour une infante défunte
TCHAIKOVSKY: Violin Concerto (with Guy Braunstein, violin)
MOZART: Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter”

March 6 & 8: U.S. concerts with Montreal Symphony Orchestra
     March 6: Washington, DC (Kennedy Center; presented by Washington Performing Arts)
     March 8: New York, NY (Carnegie Hall)
Dorothy CHANG: Precipice
BARTÓK: Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Yefim Bronfman, piano)
MAHLER: Symphony No. 5

March 9
Montreal, Canada
Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Dorothy CHANG: Precipice
BARTÓK: Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Yefim Bronfman, piano)
MAHLER: Symphony No. 5

March 22–24
Munich, Germany
Munich Philharmonic
Sofia GUBAIDULINA: Fairytale Poem
RACHMANINOFF: Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Kyohei Sorita, piano)
R. STRAUSS: Don Quixote (with Jano Lisboa, viola; Michael Hell, cello)

March 28 & 30
Montreal, Canada
Montreal Symphony Orchestra
R. STRAUSS: Vier letzte lieder (with Sonya Yoncheva, soprano)
R. STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben

April 6–8
Cleveland, OH
Cleveland Orchestra
BERNSTEIN: Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety” (with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano)
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 5

April 13, 15 & 16
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Philharmonic
STILL: Darker America
WAGNER: Wesendonck Lieder (with Dorothea Röschmann, soprano)
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1

April 21 & 22
San Diego, CA
San Diego Symphony
DEBUSSY: Prélude à L’après-midi d’un faune (with Hera Hyesang Park, soprano)
DEBUSSY: Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra (with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano)
MAHLER: Symphony No. 4

April 26 & 27
Montreal, Canada
Montreal Symphony Orchestra
R. STRAUSS: Don Quixote (with Alisa Weilerstein, cello)
Ana SOKOLOVIĆ: Melita (world premiere of OSM commission)
ESTÉVEZ: Cantata criolla (with Aquiles Machado, tenor; Gustavo Castillo, baritone; OSM Chorus; Andrew Megill, chorusmaster)

May 11–13
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco Symphony
STILL: Darker America
BRAHMS: Violin Concerto (with Hilary Hahn, violin)
R. STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben

May 20 & 21
San Diego, CA
San Diego Symphony
BRAHMS: Piano Concerto No. 2 (with Inon Barnatan, piano)
Gity RAZAZ: untitled new work (world premiere of SDS commission)
DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 7

May 26 & 27
San Diego, CA
San Diego Symphony
FAURÉ: Suite from Pélleas et Mélisande
DUKAS: La Péri, Poème dansé
CASTELLANOS: Santa Cruz de Pacairigua
ESTÉVEZ: Cantata criolla (with San Diego Master Chorale)

May 31; June 2 & 3
Montreal, Canada
Montreal Symphony Orchestra
MAHLER: Symphony No. 3 (with Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano; OSM Chorus; Andrew Megill, chorusmaster; OSM Children’s choir)

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© 21C Media Group, January 2023


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