TEARS AND APPLAUSE: THE BFO MAKE MAGIC IN SOUTH AMERICA
Floods of tears and waves of applause swept over the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires after the Budapest Festival Orchestra took to their feet at the end of the concert and sang a famous tango in Spanish. Once again, critics heaped praised on Iván Fischer and his orchestra’s latest tour, with the South American press writing of “an unforgettable concert”, “exceptional musicians”, and “a novel, imposing conductor”. But the orchestra’s work is not done, as they will be off on another tour in August, this time to European festivals.
Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro – the Budapest Festival Orchestra has been on another grand tour. Over the course of little more than a week they gave six concerts at the most important South American venues; from the Teatro Colón, arguably one of the greatest opera houses in the world, to the Sala Sao Paulo, which also serves as a train station.
“A concert that will be difficult to forget” was the headline to the Uruguayan newspaper El País’ review of the orchestra’s performance which, according to the article, conveyed “musical freshness”. As they put it: “Brahms’ Fourth Symphony allowed Iván Fischer to showcase his wisdom and originality in the conduct of thematic development, plans and accents, without forgetting at any moment the intense emotions associated with their interpretation.” The reviewer also wrote of the “eternal memory” of the “exceptional musicians” singing an encore of the tango ‘Por una cabeza’. Several members of the audience wept at this gesture.
The Argentinian La Capital summarised the Festival Orchestra’s concert as “a great director, great soloists and a grand orchestra.” For this tour, the orchestra was accompanied by the Georgian pianist Alexander Toradze and the Swedish soprano Miah Persson.
The Buenos Aires Herald emphasised how Iván Fischer is a man of innovation; something much in evidence during this visit. They further highlighted how the coherence and mindset of the musicians is much more typical of a chamber orchestra than a symphonic one. As they put it, “[The musicians] evidently love their conductor, who has had such a long and fruitful partnership with them… After the interval, one of the very best interpretations I have heard of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony showed that Fischer is a redoubtable conductor.”
According to the Argentinian La Nacion, the Brahms symphony showed “different shades of perfection”, the orchestra were “amazing” and their playing “ethereal, transparent and elegant”. The Argentinian El País also wrote of an “outstanding concert”, an extravaganza of colours and rhythms and Iván Fischer’s “excellent interpretations”. Ámbito Financiero emphasised the “perfect professionalism”, “unique quality” and “precise rhythm and intonation”, as well as the “variations in tone”. The critic topped that off by adding that “the music enchanted and fascinated the audience”.
Besides the concerts, the orchestra’s musicians also gave masterclasses to talented young people in Montevideo and Sao Paulo.
More busy days await the Budapest Festival Orchestra. After more than ten years away, the BFO is returning to Mozart’s hometown of Salzburg to perform at one of the world’s most prestigious festivals, while the orchestra’s music will also fill the Scala in Milan. August will also see us begin what we hope will be a long-standing relationship with another of Europe’s outstanding festivals, the Edinburgh International Festival, where we are going to stage Iván Fischer’s unique production of The Marriage of Figaro.