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Opening of the Jūrmala Festival. Rhapsody in Blue, Ravel Tzigane and Carmen Fantasy

Kristīne Balanas, violin
Julian Joseph (UK), piano
Liepāja Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Guntis Kuzma

Gerónimo Giménez Intermezzo from zarzuela La boda de Luis Alonso (“The Wedding of Luis Alonso”)
Maurice Ravel “Tzigane”
George Enescu “Romanian Rhapsody No. 1”
Pablo de Sarasate “Carmen Fantasy”
Leonard Bernstein “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story”
George Gershwin “Rhapsody in Blue”

The opening concert on 15 July will feature the Liepāja Symphony Orchestra, conductor Guntis Kuzma, violinist Kristīne Balanas and pianist Julian Joseph. The programme will include opuses from 20th-century American golden classics, as well as works inspired by Spanish, Romanian and Gypsy folk music, composed by the great authors of European academic music.

Maurice Ravel’s brilliant and hot-blooded rhapsody for violin, The Gypsy, and Pablo Sarasate’s Fantasia on the Themes of Carmen, which is considered one of the most technically complex compositions in the violin repertoire, will be performed by Kristīne Balana. In this fantasy, Sarasate is inspired by the themes of Georges Bizet’s famous opera, where the spirit of Spanish music is most vividly revealed.

The great British jazz pianist Julian Joseph will play the popular Rhapsody in the Blues by George Gershwin. Gershwin has referred to the early idioms of ragtime and blues forms here, creating a heady and optimistic musical kaleidoscope of America. Meanwhile, Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from the legendary musical West Side Story are a vibrant pop theatre with Latin American rhythms, bebop melodies and the pace of 20th-century American life. The Liepāja Symphony Orchestra and conductor Guntis Kuzma will also perform the lively dance rhythms of George Enescu’s First Romanian Rhapsody, and the playful Interludes from the Wedding of Luis Alonso by Spanish master of the zarzuela Gerónimo Giménez.