It is daunting to try to select the highlights of the Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra’s (OFJ) first temporada of 2015 — its big 100th anniversary year — because, as OFJ staffer Julia Gonzalez puts it, the season, which lasts until April 26, is “muy saturado” (very saturated). In other words, chock full.
Consisting of 13 concerts in 15 weeks, OFJ’s winter season, which began last weekend, will include a celebration of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco’s beloved founder José Rolon, two invited instrumental soloists from Mexico and four from the Old World (one playing a 1715 Stradivarius), four weekends of a new Tchaikovsky Cycle and two rousing appearances by the Jalisco State Choir, including their performance in music written for Maurice Ravel’s ballet “Daphnis and Chloe.”
What’s more, this core of winter OFJ concerts is complemented by a number of special events, some with a focus on local milestones: a celebration of the founding of Guadalajara; the first of a new recital series by outstanding musicians beginning with internationally prominent pianist José Osorio; a celebration of Teatro Diana’s 10th anniversary; two opera potpourris starring renowned sopranos Amber Wagner (U.S.) and Anna Netrebko (Russia) accompanied by her Azerbaijani fiancee, tenor Yusif Eyvazov; and an awards ceremony for finalists in a contest for Jalisco composers (with a cash prize of 150,000 pesos).
Asked to choose the highlight of the season from all this, orchestra management was naturally leaning toward this weekend’s (January 23 and 25) homage to orchestra founder José Rolon, which will include three pieces by him and others by Manuel Ponce and Ricardo Castro, the latter featuring young piano soloist Abdiel Vázquez.
However, a big hit among foreign residents here, opined Orchestra General Manager Arturo Gómez, could be next weekend’s program Grandes Hits Britanicos (January 30 and February 1). Besides theater music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, military music by Frederick Ricketts (who worked under the pseudonym of Kenneth J. Alford) and Elgar’s well known “Pomp and C
ircumstance,” Gómez noted that the concert features the “marvelous Hungarian violinist” Geza Hosszu-Legocky playing his priceless Stradivarius in Max Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy.”
Among tapatío music lovers, the two opera galas are bound to have the most appeal. The one set in Teatro Diana, with a seating capacity much larger than Teatro Degollado (the venue for all the other presentations of the season), has an unusual ticket sales system, details of which are explained on the OFJ Web site and at the site listed at the end of this article.
Although Canadian-born OFJ Music Director Marco Parisotto only directs four of the season presentations, including both opera galas and two concerts from the Tchaikovsky Cycle, he of course designed the entire program including its guest directors: the young Iván López Reynoso, Ramón Shade of Coahuila and Miguel Salmón del Real of Michoacán, along with Japan’s Seikyo Kim and Brazil’s Roberto Minczuk.
Noting what might be the highlight in Parisotto’s view, Gómez said that the OFJ director is a big fan of the “great, great composer Tchaikovsky” and that the performance of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony will be directed by Parisotto and accompanied by a “lovely” Aram Khatchaturian concerto (transcribed for flute by the famed Jean Pierre Rampal) for which the much-sought-after Munich flautist Michael Martin Kofler is the invited soloist.
For a complete list of the season’s offerings in English, see http://en.ofj.com.mx. Tickets available at Ticketmaster, (33) 3818-3800, www.ticketmaster.com.mx and Degollado Theater box office, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, Tel. (33) 3614 4773. For Netrebko gala only, register for Teatro Diana tickets at teatrodiana.com/X-ANIVERSARIO/registro.html. Degollado Theater is in Guadalajara’s city center two blocks behind the main cathedral. A 30 percent discount is available only at box office for students, teachers, seniors (with valid ID) and persons with disabilities. General practice open to the public every Friday of the season at 9 a.m. in the Degollado Theater. Orchestra information: (33) 3030-9772 weekdays 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Access to Degollado Theater to children ages 6 and over. Teatro Diana is at Avenida 16 de Septiembre 710, (33) 3614-7072, www.teatrodiana.com