In the editorial comment to the Agenda Viva Música of June 2007, Heloisa Fischer comments that Rio de Janeiro has developed a clear vocation for Classical Music. And looking at the number and the quality of events this mid-year, you have to agree with her. Apart from lots of concerts from musicians who are resident in Rio, we are receiving many other artists from abroad – including some top names. For instance, cellist Yo-yo Ma was here in June, and soprano Kiri Te Kanawa will give two concerts with the OSB in July.
The top source of information on all this music is the site http://www.vivamusica.com.br/, where you can check out what’s programmed for any day. Radio MEC also broadcasts Heloisa’s comments on the day’s offerings at midday every day. Both the Sala Cecilia Meirelles and the Teatro Municipal have strong programs. Both the leading symphony orchestras resident in Rio – Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira and Orquestra Petrobras Sinfônica – have strong sponsorships and are going from strength to strength. There are very many young musicians playing lesser-known music to add variety. And many concerts are free or at very modest prices. So what more could we want?
Scanning the list for July, some concerts strike me as quite exotic. How about pianist Newton Nazareth playing Ernesto Nazareth in the Museu Militar Conde de Linhares in São Cristovão on the 19th July? Has anybody ever been there?….. The “Grupo Libertango” paying Piazolla in the Sala Baden Powell (Copacabana) on the 21st?…… “Il dolce Ballo” from São Paulo playing Mediaeval and Renaissance music at the Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro in the Centro da Cidade on the 24th?….. the Norwegian group “Tradisjonel Música” playing modinhas and lundus from the 18th and 19th Centuries at the Palácio São Clemente in Botafogo on the 28th? What’s happening to this city? I’ll need to go and hear some “samba de raiz” in Lapa to feel I’m in Rio again!
In August we will have again David Chew’s remarkable Rio International Cello Encounter, with 48 concerts in a little over two weeks, from 11th to 27th of August. This year the scope is wider than ever, in terms of the artists participating and the venues. I have found the concerts of RICE to have a peculiar charm, perhaps because of the enthusiasm of the audiences, or the more intimate settings, or a certain feeling of informality from the musicians – while they are always of very high quality. The music is very varied, not only cello by any means. This year we will have many British composers (especially Elgar) as well as Brazilian composers and the well-known classical masters. I’m particularly looking forward to Colin Carr playing three of Bach’s Suites for Cello solo on 13th August, Elgar’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra with the OSB on the 18th, a concert in Christ Church on the 19th, all Vivaldi’s Sonatas for Cello and Harpsichord with Antonio Meneses and Rosana Lanzellotte on the 23rd, and the homage for Rostropovich with the OPES at the Municipal on the 25th. The Umbrella should publish more details next month.
So, it appears we are in a really bubbling musical scene…. just imagine how it would be if we all felt secure about going out and about!