The renovated UdeC Theater was officially reopened on Friday 7 April with the first concert of the Concepción Symphony’s 2017 Season. The brand-new seats were completely occupied early on by an enthusiast audience who queued in a long line to enter despite the intermittent rain. Whole families attended, some with very little children who made their presence felt, especially during the first part of the program. None of this affected soloist Kimball Gallagher’s concentration in a very correct performance of Chopin’s Second Concerto, a juvenile work with a relatively opaque orchestral accompaniment, neatly and dutifully carried out by the Concepción Symphony conducted by maestro David Navarro Turres.
It was the second part of the program that conquered the audience. Under Navarro’s intelligent guidance, the orchestra excelled in two brilliant overtures and two more meditative pieces—Mascagni’s Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana”, and Puccini’s juvenile “Crisantemi”. They also provided exemplary accompaniments for soprano Maria Carla Pino Cury, who displayed an astonishing technique and an irresistible stage expression in arias by Verdi, Gounod, Offenbach and Strauss II. The evening’s highlight was the “Doll’s Song” by Offenbach, where the incredible coloraturas were complemented by a hilarious acting performance with participation of Claudio Cofré (principal viola) and the conductor. The long final applause was thanked with a partial repetition of the “Laughing Song” by J. Strauss II, a faithful reflection of the good cheer that was filling the rejuvenated university theater.