ORT’s Dante Tribute Concert

Conductor Alpesh Chauhan will be on stage at Teatro Verdi

The Orchestra della Toscana Foundation has commissioned a concert for the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri, which will be fronted by the ORT debut of two guest musicians on the Teatro Verdi stage. Conductor Alpesh Chauhan and cellist Pablo Ferrández will lead the performance that will also include Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Brahms’s Fourth Symphony, two famous pieces from the Romantic period of classical music. On Friday, November 12, beginning at 9 pm, these works and several more will be performed for the public at Florence’s Teatro Verdi on Via Ghibellina. 

The concert will be led by Alberto Cara’s “Forse seimilia miglia di lontano, which is named after the first verse in Dante’s Paradise. The composition wishes to capture the simultaneous wonder and disorientation felt by Dante in the story when he witnessed a dazzling light. Cara has done a wide array of work in the classical scene, author of symphonic, chamber and opera music. He has had his shows premiere in a variety of theatres, such as the Donizetti in Bergamo, the Teatro dell’Opera in Savona, the Teatro Comunale di Modena, and at the “Coccia” Theater in Novara. This brief opener to the Dante anniversary will be followed by two historically significant works from the last couple of centuries.

Cello Concerto is one of the last notable pieces by English composer Edward Elgar, made in the aftermath of both the First World War and a dangerous tonsillectomy in 1919. This song, combining moments of ecstatic highs and melancholic lows to match the emotion felt at the time of composition, became popular in the 1960’s after being largely unrecognized when it first debuted. In addition, ORT will also be performing Brahms’ “Symphony No. 4 in E Minor” or Fourth Symphony. The symphony will take listeners through a brisk-paced performance across four movements comprising three allegros and an andante, music considered to be some of the greatest since the time of Beethoven.

Alpesh Chauhan brings his lifelong passion for conducting to the stage. Raised in a large family in Birmingham with deep African and Indian roots, Alpesh set out to prove himself to those around him who initially doubted the success of a classical music career, which was helped by the example of conductor Zubin Mehta’s accomplishments. With his career constantly on the rise, Alpesh went on to become the musical director of the Birmingham Opera Company and has recently finished a three-year long experience at Toscanini di Parma as a principal conductor. His interests also extend to the world of philanthropy. He is the ambassador of Awards for Young Musicians, which supports the study of music for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Pablo Ferrández’s inseparable bond with the cello will be displayed during his interpretation this Friday. Born in a family of musicians in Madrid, Pablo has a long-lasting familiarity with the art of performance that he has studied since the age of 13. He has performed across a multitude of orchestras over the years including Spanish National Orchestra, RTVE Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, Kremerata Baltica, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire and the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, among many others. His reputation even earned him a Stradivarius cello by the Nippon Music Foundation. Known as Lord Aylesford, this instrument dates back to 1696 and is among one of the few antique string instruments of its type. 

Tickets can be purchased for €17 at the biglietteria in Teatro Verdi, or by visiting http://www.teatroverdifirenze.it/en/. (nelson matos)