HOUSTON (September 6, 2022)– Slovakian-born conductor Juraj Valčuha launches his first season as Houston Symphony Music Director, and Roy and Lillie Cullen Chair, with Verdi’s monumental, operatically-scaled Requiem. From the outset, Juraj sets a new precedent for Houston Symphony opening nights that showcase the organization’s entire orchestral and choral complement onstage at once. Part of the Frost Bank Gold Classics Series, there are three performances of Verdi’s Requiem: Friday, September 16, Saturday, September 17, and Sunday, September 18 at Jones Hall.
Joining Valčuha and the orchestra onstage are Houston-based, internationally renowned soprano Ana María Martínez, Russian mezzo-soprano Marina Prudenskaya, ascendant young American tenor star Jonathan Tetelman, and internationally acclaimed Ukrainian bass Dmitry Belosselskiy, as well as the Houston Symphony Chorus prepared by new Chorus Director Dr. Allen Hightower.
Verdi’s Messa da Requiem is universally considered the most dramatic and operatic of settings of the Catholic Requiem mass. Scored for four soloists, double choir, and orchestra, Verdi wrote it in memory of the Italian poet Lorenzo Manzoni, whom Verdi greatly admired. The work is particularly famous for the plaintive, lyrical beauty of the tenor aria “Ingemisco,” and even more for the chorus’s fiercely dramatic, fiery musical depiction of the apocalypse, “Dies Irae.”
The Opening Night Gala, chaired by Drs. Susan and Dennis Carlyle on Friday, September 16, begins with a champagne reception before the concert. At the concert’s conclusion, gala attendees are transported to The Corinthian for a seated dinner by Jackson & Company, with musical entertainment by the David Caceres Band. For gala ticket reservations contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-337-8523.
For tickets and more information, please call 713.224.7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org/requiem. All programs and artists are subject to change.
Juraj Valčuha Inaugural Weekend: Verdi Requiem
Juraj Valčuha, conductor
Ana María Martínez, soprano
Marina Prudenskaya, mezzo-soprano*
Jonathan Tetelman, tenor*
Dmitry Belosselskiy, bass*
Houston Symphony Chorus
Dr. Allen Hightower, director
Friday, September 16, 2022, 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 17, 2022, 8 p.m.**
Sunday, September 18, 2022, 2:30 p.m.
*Houston Symphony debut
About Houston Symphony
For Juraj Vačuha’s inaugural season as Music Director, the Houston Symphony continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring, and recording activities. One of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, the Symphony held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston on June 21, 1913. Today, with an operating budget of $34.325 million (FY23), the full-time ensemble of professional musicians presents more than 130 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Traditionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s two Community-Embedded Musicians also offer over 1,000 community-based performances each year at various schools, community centers, hospitals, and churches reaching more than 200,000 people in Greater Houston annually.
After suspending concert activities in March 2020 and cancelling the remainder of 2019–20 events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Symphony resumed activities in May 2020, opening the 2020–21 Season on schedule in September 2020. The Symphony successfully completed a full 2020–21 season with in-person audiences and weekly livestreams of each performance, making it one of the only orchestras in the world to do so, while the Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement team continued to fulfill its mission through creative and virtual means throughout the COVID pandemic.
The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Koch International Classics, Naxos, RCA Red Seal, Telarc, Virgin Classics, and, most recently, Dutch recording label Pentatone. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.