Feb. 29, 2004 – The Casals Festival has become a moveable musical feast both geographically and chronologically.
For years the two-week extravaganza founded by legendary cellist Pablo Casals in 1957 was held in June in Puerto Rico in the Sala de Bellas Artes, also known as the Luis A. Ferre Fine Arts Center, in San Juan's Santurce section.
Since 2002, the festival has included a satellite ensemble performance presented by The Forum on St. Thomas. Last year, with a new artistic director and music director — both native Puerto Ricans — the festival was moved to the last half of January.
This year it's taking place from Feb. 28 through March 13, with performances in the Bellas Artes, on St. Thomas, and the University of Puerto Rico campuses in Mayaguez on Puerto Rico's west end, and Humacao, on the southeast section of the island. And an evening of modern dance has been added to the lineup.
For information about the St. Thomas program, at the Reichhold Center on Friday, March 5, see "Vienna Piano Trio performing at Reichhold".
The festival has been scaled down — with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra the only orchestral body performing, compared to that group and two others brought in from abroad in years past. But for classical music lovers in the Virgin Islands, the Casals Festival remains the nearest opportunity to enjoy a series of symphonic concerts, chamber ensembles and other arts events within a short time frame.
The Bellas Artes performances take place either in the 1,883-seat Antonio Paoli Festival Hall or in the adjacent 760-seat René Marqués Hall.
The 2004 festival opened on Saturday with the orchestra under the direction of Andreas Delfs performing Dvorak's "Carnival Overture," the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 in D minor and Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor with Brazil's Arnaldo Cohen as soloist.
On Sunday, cellist Claudio Bohorquez and pianist Shai Wosner performed a program of works by Chopin, Debussy, Webern and Beethoven.
Following is the remainder of the schedule. All performances begin at 8 p.m.
Monday, March 1, Antonio Paoli Hall — the Vienna Piano Trio: Beethoven's Trio in E flat major, Op. 1; Schubert's "Nocturne" and Dvorak's Trio in F minor, B. 130.
Tuesday, March 2, UPR Mayaguez campus — the Vienna Piano Trio: same program as March 1.
Tuesday, March 2, René Marqués Hall — New York's Mark Morris Dance Group, modern dance program.
Wednesday, March 3, René Marqués Hall — Mark Morris Dance Group, same program as March 2.
Thursday, March 4, René Marqués Hall — the Vienna Piano Trio: Haydn's Trio in A major Hob. IV:18; Schönberg's "Transfigured Night" and the Schubert Trio in B major, D. 898.
Friday, March 5, Reichhold Center for the Arts, St. Thomas — the Vienna Piano Trio: same program as March 5.
Friday March 5, René Marqués Hall — I Musici of Montreal chamber orchestra: Gougeon's "Coups d'Archet"; Ginastera's Concerto for Strings, Op. 23; Mozart's Concerto in A major for Clarinet with Igor Begelman as soloist; and Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances.
Saturday, March 6, Antonio Paoli Hall — Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Carlos M. Prieto: Beethoven's Overture to "Egmont," Op. 84; Beethoven's Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra with Dmitri Berlinsky as soloist; and Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27.
Tuesday, March 9, René Marqués Hall — Katia Skanavi, piano: Rachmaninoff's Etudes Tableaux, Op. 39, Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5; the Chopin Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35; Schumann's "Carnaval," Op. 9; and the Liszt "Tarantella."
Thursday, March 11, René Marqués Hall — the Rossetti Quartet from the U.S. mainland: Gounod's Quartet No. 3 in A minor; Debussy's Quartet in G minor for Strings, Op. 10; and the Franck Quintet in F minor for Piano and Strings with Katia Skanavi on piano.
Friday, March 12, UPR Theater, Humacao campus: Rossetti Quartet: Mozart's Quartet No. 14 in G major, K. 387; Schumann's Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 41; and Debussy's Quartet in G minor for Strings, Op. 10.
Saturday, March 13, Antonio Paoli Hall — Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra gala concert: Puccini's "Turandot" conducted by Richard Buckley with the Casals Festival Chorus, Alessandra Marc as Turandot, Cesar Hernandez as Calaf, Ana Maria Martinez at Liu, and Ricardo Lugo as Timur.
Tickets for the Bellas Artes presentations are in two sections of both halls. Preferred seating is $36 or $30, depending on the performance, while the other seating is $26 or $20. For complete program and ticket information, visit the 2004 Festival Casals Web site.
You can purchase festival tickets by telephone using a major charge card. There's a $2 service charge per ticket.
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