The 2013 Casals Festival: A Cultural Celebration

The 2013 Casals Festival is set to take place from the 23rd of February through to the 16th of March with a full program of world-class entertainment and events. The festival was founded in 1956 and named in honor of its founder, the world-renowned Catalan cellist and conductor Pablo Casals (1876-1973). The inaugural event was held in the theater of the University of Puerto Rico, and was meant to start with a performance by Casals of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 3 for Cello Solo in C Major, but unfortunately Casals had suffered a heart attack during rehearsals and missed the festival as he was recuperating. An empty Conductor’s chair signified his absence during the entire festival. Fortunately, the Maestro recovered and became the driving force behind the festival until he died in 1973.

The festival went on to garner an international reputation for excellence and has featured many international performers during its more than half a century of events. Initially, international artists outweighed local artists, but thanks to the formation by Casals of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, by 1970 many of the musicians were native Puerto Ricans. A host of valuable mementos, photos and films at the Pablo Casals Museum in Old San Juan detail the life of Pablo Casals, and his tremendous contribution to music in Puerto Rico, along with information on other great music masters.

The 2013 event will be celebrating the bicentennial of both Wagner and Verdi with concerts featuring the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, soloists and choruses, as well as a host of vocal and instrumental performances. Performers presenting Richard Wagner’s Tristán and Isolde including Kirsi Tiihonen, Jon Fredric West, Andrew Funk, Lindsay Ammann, Eric Greene and César Méndez, accompanied by the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra led by Maximiano Valdés. Other artists and performers include Danielle Farina, Jeewon Park, Edward Arron, Jeffrey Multer, Ricardo Lugo, Carlos Rodriguez Quirós, Iliana Garcia, Emilio Colón, Jesús Morales, Arto Noras, and Yaron Traub. Clearly, the Casals Festival is an event that anyone with an appreciation for music and culture would not want to miss.