Two of the most important milestones have been the celebration of the Joan Pons International Competition and the premiere of the opera L’Arxiduc.
The Orquesta Sinfónica Islas Baleares closes 2022 with 70 performances of its cycles, chamber concerts, the gala of the first Joan Pons International Singing Competition and the premiere of the opera L’Arxiduc, among others. They all form part of an extensive programme to highlight the heritage and work of the composers and performers of the Balearic Islands.
With these concerts, the Symphony Orchestra has also achieved the goal of decentralising the reach of the Simfònica beyond Palma, reaching new audiences and stages and encouraging access to the Orchestra for all groups with programmes adapted to the different sectors of the public.
Among all the performances and initiatives, the first Joan Pons International Singing Competition will be held in June. A project of the Directorate General of Culture and the Balearic Islands Symphony Orchestra to pay tribute to one of the most important opera singers in history, the Menorcan Joan Pons, and to promote the new generations. With its implementation, the Govern de les Illes Balears promotes the international career of the winners, encourages future participation in first-rate international opera productions and makes the Balearic Islands a meeting place for the world’s best experts in opera music, who have verified and valued the talent of the young people and also that of the Symphony Orchestra.
Another important milestone was the recent premiere of L’Arxiduc, the first opera produced by the Govern de les Illes Balears and the Symphony, with music by the composer Antoni Parera Fons and a libretto by the writer Carme Riera, which narrates the life of the archduke Lluís Salvador. The Austrian aristocrat lived in Mallorca in the last third of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. The technical and artistic cast was mainly made up of artists from the islands, such as soprano Marisa Roca, tenors José Manuel Sánchez, Joan Lainez, Antoni Aragón and baritone Josep Miquel Limpiadera, among others.
Sound Islands with the Symphony Orchestra
Among the 70 performances, the aim was to highlight the work of composers and performers from the Balearic Islands through research, interpretation and a more contemporary repertoire with the programme Islas Sonoras (Sound Islands).
In addition, the Symphony Orchestra, with the collaboration of the Directorate General of Culture, has edited, performed and recorded some of the main works by the Mallorcan composer Baltasar Samper, a reference in 20th-century music. These works form part of the Balearic musician’s archive, which the Government acquired in 2018 and has already begun to perform them with titles such as Ritual de Pagesia and the premiere of 7 cançons at the Santanyí Festival or at the inauguration of the Teatro Principal in Inca.
The Orchestra has also premiered the work “Germania 500” by Mallorcan composer Antoni Mairata, a show that featured numerous artists from the Balearic Islands, including the composer himself, Bernat Quetglas (conductor), Rodó Gener (narration) and Marian Lush (voice). The list of contemporary works also includes Gran Mar by Maties Faro and Simplicity and Concert de Tramuntana for guitar and orchestra by Joan Valent.
The small-format concert by the Ensemble “Antoni Literas” of the OSIB with the Ibizan violinist Lina Tur is worth mentioning, as well as the Symphony Orchestra’s effort to combine symphonic with other musical styles and artists from the Balearic Islands, such as the concert paying tribute to Chick Coreaconducted and arranged by Toni Cuenca; the concert at the Menorcan festival with the jazz pianist Marco Mezquida or the show “Altament sensible” with the most popular repertoire of the Menorcan Cris Juanico in a symphonic key that has been performed all over the Balearic Islands.
After COVID-19, the Symphony’s EDUCA programme has been revived. An educational programme aimed at students and families. In 2022, the school and family shows “Germania 500”, “Els Planetes” and “Disney” were offered, with more than 9,000 schoolchildren attending.
In addition, this summer saw the return of the Little Symphony. A total of 64 children performed on the 5th of July with the Symphony Orchestra in Palma’s Palacio de Congresos. The Little Symphony is a project aimed at music students between the ages of 11 and 18, whose main objective is to raise awareness of symphonic music through a unique experience with the Balearic Islands Symphony Orchestra.