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Cuarteto Latinoamericano Opens Forty-First Season of San Miguel Music Chamber Festival

By Mick Lockey

In 1985, Mexican-born Saúl Bitrán was studying violin at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv when he became friendly with a fellow student, a voice major. Her name was Sivan Rotem, and she too was a transplanted Latin American, born in Argentina.

Today, Rotem, an operatic soprano, is ranked as one of the finest classical singers in Israel. Bitrán is the first violinist of the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, recognized as the most important string quartet in all Latin America.

On August 2 and 3, an extraordinary reunion will occur in two 7pm concerts at the Teatro Ángela Peralta. The Cuarteto Latinoamericano will open this year’s festival and perform in two concerts with soprano Sivan Rotem. The concerts will include a mix of string quartet works, from J.S. Bach to George Gershwin and Mozart and Handel arias, to Catalan folk songs and Argentinean tangos sung by Rotem. The brilliant young Russian-born pianist Nargiza Kamilova will accompany them.

The concerts also represent the return of the Cuarteto who, for a decade spanning the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, performed every season at the festival as musicians in residence. After that, they have not returned to the San Miguel festival until this weekend.

“The San Miguel festival is one of the main reasons for our existence,” Saúl Bitrán says.

The quartet returns in triumph. In the intervening 25 years, the ensemble has won two Grammys and has been called “superb” by The New York Times, and “brilliant” by The Washington Post. A critic for Huffington Post noted simply, “The audience went wild.”

The Cuarteto Latinoamericano is made up of Saúl Bitrán and his two Chilean-born older brothers—Álvaro, on cello, and Arón, on second violin—along with Mexican violist Javier Montiel.

Conductor Valery Gergiev, who performs on five continents, has singled out soprano Rotem as “the only one” in the opera world whose touring schedule rivals his own. She began her training on violin in Israel, but her music teacher, impressed with Sivan’s voice, asked the seven-year-old to sing to an audience of 1,400 people at a Passover celebration at a kibbutz. “I hardly knew Hebrew,” she recalls, “but I had no stage fright. I will never forget that experience of singing before such a big audience.”

The quartet will also conduct master classes on Saturday August 3, at 10am at the Ángela Peralta Theater. These classes are a wonderful opportunity to see student and teacher interact in music lessons, and are open to the public as space allows.

Tickets for the weekend concerts may be purchased online at boletocity.com or at the Boleto City kiosk in the Mercado Sano, Ancha de San Antonio 123, San Miguel de Allende, Monday through Saturday, 11am–5pm, or at the Ángela Peralta Theater on the day of the concert. Tickets for concerts at the Peralta range from 750 pesos–150 pesos. For more information about the festival, visit FestivalSanMiguel.com.

 

Concert

Festival de Música de Cámara de San Miguel de Allende presents

Cuarteto Latino Americano

With soprano Sivan Rotem and pianist Nargiza Kamilova

Fri and Sat, Aug 2 and 3, 7pm

Teatro Ángela Peralta

Mesones 82, Centro

Tickets:

150–750 pesos

Cuarteto Latinamericano

 

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