Pablo Heras-Casado celebrates his second season as Director of the Granada Festival

Pablo Heras-Casado conducts two concerts for his second edition of the Granada Festival this summer, with a program honoring the 150th anniversary of Berlioz, as well as performances featuring internationally acclaimed artists, a world premiere, and a new scenic concept that celebrates the centenary of Manuel de Falla’s El sombrero de tres picos. Appointed as director in 2017, the Granada Festival celebrates its 68th year with thrilling concerts, dance performances, workshops and masterclasses from July 21 to July 12.

On July 5, Pablo conducts the Orchestre de Paris in a program dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the epochal French composer, Hector Berlioz. Heras-Casado leads Stravinsky’s Scherzo fantastique, which was inspired by Maurice Maeterlinck’s 1901 essay “La Vie des Abeilles” (The Life of Bees). America’s foremost baritone, Thomas Hampson, performs selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, a youthful and romantic song cycle that Mahler characteristically transforms into deeper ruminations about the ups and downs of human existence. The concert will conclude with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, an epic work that Pablo revisits after conducting it this past Spring with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, garnering critical praise for his “revelatory and compelling” reading. (Texas Classical Review)

For the final performance of the festival on July 12, Heras-Casado leads the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella (Suite), which he conducted with the ensemble earlier this year at the Het Concertgebouw, followed by a tour in Germany and Spain. The work is from Stravinsky’s neo-classical ballet Pulcinella, based on the stock character of the same name originating from the Commedia dell’Arte tradition. The renowned violinist Isabelle Faust, a longtime collaborator of Pablo’s, will perform the world premiere of Peter Eötvös’ Alhambra: a concerto for violin and orchestra that is dedicated to both Ms. Faust and Pablo. Of the work, Mr. Eötvös says:

“Because of Granada, the most important note in the piece is G, a kind of gravitational center to come back to now and then during the course of the piece. As I have a predilection for musical cryptograms, I transferred the letters A-L-H-A-M-B-R-A into the main melody of the piece. As the piece is also a very personal one (as all my violin concertos), I also wanted to hide the names of Isabelle and Pablo in the musical fabric.”

The festival will conclude with the premiere of a new scenic concept by Frederic Amat that celebrates the centenary of de Falla’s El sombrero de tres picos with allusions to the originals of Picasso. Initially composed as music for ballet, the work incorporates folklore into classical forms and structures. Listen to the festival live via RTVE. For more information about the Granada Festival, click here.