December 12, 2013
Zubin Mehta concert draws 10,000
Free open-air performance at iconic Puente Alsina includes tango tribute
Indian conductor Zubin Mehta yesterday drew an estimated 10,000 spectators to a free concert with the Israel Philharmonic in south Buenos Aires at Puente Alsina.
The iconic area has been transformed, in recent days, by the increasing flow of tourists flocking to Pompeya neighbourhood for the Tango Festival and World Cup.
Mehta, 77, charmed the audience at Puente Alsina with a thorough programme: he opened the concert with the Overture to Verdi’s La forza del destino, followed by Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. The musicians of the Israel Philharmonic — all in casual wear, a far cry from the punctilious formality of concert hall fashions — were rewarded with long rounds of applause from the audience.
Mehta went with Johann Strauss as the centrepiece of yesterday’s concert. Three differently balanced works were played at Puente Alsina, much to the audience’s delight: the Overture to Die Fledermaus (The Bat), the popular Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka and Frühlingsstimmen (Voices of Spring). While conducting the waltz, Mehta turned his back to the orchestra and started guiding the audience’s movements, encouraging people to start dancing to the Philharmonic’s tune.
For the performance’s finale, Mehta chose a fragment from Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, followed by Tchaikovsky and, once again, Strauss for the encore.
In a moving gesture to the Argentine audience, Mehta conducted a version of the popular tango Por una cabeza, by Carlos Gardel and Alfredo Le Pera, the very same tango he chose in August 2012, when he conducted the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino at the Usina del Arte.
“Tango is increasingly popular everywhere. When we arrived, we saw some 50 couples of regular people dancing. I just wanted to stand there and watch every one of those couples. The Tango Festival is a revelation for us all,” Mehta said.
Yesterday’s concert was not Zubin Mehta’s first attempt at an open-air performance in Argentina: he drew more than 30,000 at a 2010 concert at the Obelisk in Buenos Aires.
Herald staff with Télam