Monday 12 June 2017

The Concepción Symphony Orchestra had an intense week giving concerts to students from primary and secondary schools, twice every morning at the UdeC Theater, from 5 to 9 June. Thousands of children are introduced to symphonic classical music every year through theater plays created by René Ulloa, the orchestra’s tubist. This year, the play was “Prima Donna”, a story about two young ladies who get lost and find refuge in a creepy mansion inhabited by a count. The general audience attended massively to enjoy this play in a special performance on Friday 9 June at 19:00.

Germán Droghetti’s scenography was very effective and practical—centered around a dark mansion that could be seen from outside, then exposing its interior with simple movements. From Mussorgsky’s inevitable “Night on Bald Mountain” to Verdi’s “Brindisi” from “Traviata”, going through Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Romantic “hits” such as Sibelius’ “Finlandia”, Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” and operas by Mascagni and Puccini, the music extracts chosen by René Ulloa were a perfect match for the stage action created by régisseur Gonzalo Cuadra. Under Pablo Carrasco’s baton, the Concepción Symphony musicians with soprano Andrea Betancur and tenor Rony Ancavil were as reliable as usual. Both singers, with actors Julio Olave and Pamela Gómez, owned the stage with complete assurance.

Besides the humorous resources for all audiences, there were some nods to more instructed listeners, such as the name of the count’s hunchback servant: “Rigoletto” (the tenor). The name of one of the lost young ladies was Mimí (the soprano), so it was obvious that, sooner or later, she would sing the famous “Mi chiamamo Mimì” from Puccini’s “Bohème”. And that’s exactly what she did, with the surprise that the hunchback Rigoletto became her “Rodolfo”. Their budding love is what brings the saving turn of the story, leaving the audience with a moral: it’s not necessary to be among the “attractive” or “externally beautiful” in order to be the story’s “good guy” or “hero” or to be worthy of love.