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Alondra de la Parra turns the Mexican Caribbean into the epicenter of orchestral music

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When the Venezuelan trumpeter Pancho Flores played you will cry Thanks to her compatriot Oscar D’León, the Diego room (named after the painter Rivera) at the Hotel Xcaret Arte became a huge dance floor. Among those who swayed to the rhythm of Caribbean music was the Mexican director Alondra de la Parra, who these days has turned the blue coasts of the Caribbean of Mexico into a huge stage that brings together various artists from around the world around the Paax GNP Festival, an initiative created by the director to, in her words, “build a cultural bridge” with international musicians who share their talent in Mexican territory. Flores’ powerful, harmonious, rhythmic trumpet marked the pace on Saturday night for dozens of people who moved their hips along with the waves of the Riviera Maya, one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in Mexico.

Flores played a repertoire of Caribbean, Brazilian and contemporary Latin American classics in a concert titled Latin echoes, in which he was accompanied by a dozen musicians, including his compatriots Leo Rondón, skilled in the Venezuelan cuatro and the guitar, and cellist Raúl Alquiles, guest conductor of the Mexico City Mining Symphony. Flores bet with his repertoire that the spectators would get up from their seats and dance throughout the evening, on a night with a sky so charged that it threatened to unleash a storm. The concert, originally planned to be held outdoors, had to be moved to the auditorium of the luxurious hotel. “I notice that in concert halls we go to listen to intellectual music and it is so intellectual that instead of smiling, people cry. That must be changed,” Flores had stated in a previous talk within the framework of the festival, which each year attracts hundreds of lovers of orchestral music. Among the audience on Saturday was a couple from Monterrey, in northern Mexico, who declare themselves faithful followers of director de la Parra. “My wife wanted to see her because she likes her a lot,” the man said.

This is the third edition of the festival organized by de la Parra, which with more than 100 international artists aims to become a benchmark. The tireless Mexican orchestra director dreamed of making one of the great paradises of Mexico a world headquarters for orchestral music, with a festival that year after year brings together the best in the sector. Her plan was forged throughout the confinement of the covid-19 pandemic until it became a being of music, dance and performing arts in which she herself participates with that baton that has generated so much attraction for her worldwide to direct the Impossible Orchestra, the digital classical music project that he formed virtually during confinement. To be the setting for such a staging, the director has chosen the Xcaret hotel complex, a private theme park built near an archaeological site of the Mayan civilization, in the State of Quintana Roo, in southern Mexico.

De la Parra (New York, 1980) explained that in this edition of the festival, which will run until July 7, he has organized, together with his collaborators, a symphonic program that covers compositions from the 18th century to contemporary music, such as the Caribbean performed by trumpeter Flores on Saturday night. This year the festival will present transcendental works such as Spring consecration, by Igor Stravinsky and Daphnis and Chloe, by Maurice Ravel. The R will also be performedapsody in blue, of Gershwin, which celebrates its centenary. One of the star guests is the Mexican singer and songwriter Natalia Lafourcade, who will premiere the Suite Of All the Flowersinspired by his eponymous musical diary, a compendium of traditional music. Also premiering in Mexico will be Avner Dorman’s Mandolin Concerto, performed by Israeli musician Avi Avital, who, according to de la Parra, “has taken the mandolin instrument to its highest level in the world of the symphony orchestra.” Along with these presentations, there will be ballet and performing arts performances.

Alondra de la Parra, in July 2023.Chimera

De la Parra has become one of the most prominent Mexican artists on the international stage. She is part of a fresh generation of Latin American conductors who have conquered the world, such as Venezuelan Gustavo Dudamel. De la Parra has played at the Staatsoper in Berlin and has worked with La Fura dels Baus. In an interview with this newspaper in the spring of 2022, she said that the idea of ​​her festival “is to mix the best of music, ballet, dance, even literature and visual art in the Mexican paradise.” The director has been aware of the cost involved for an average Mexican to travel to the beaches of the Caribbean and stay in the luxurious complex that houses her show, “but thanks to technology we will be able to offer the festival online for free for absolutely everyone,” she clarified.

The director assures that the success she has had also forces her to have a responsibility, which is why the project also has a strong social and political charge, because the funds will be invested in the musical education of dozens of children in the area, one of the poorest regions of Mexico, despite its natural wealth and the power of tourism. “A child who plays in an orchestra is a child who knows how to respect others,” said the director. “He is a child who is different and who is probably not going to use the sides of the human being that lead us to these atrocities, that shame us and that make this world in danger,” added the woman who, with her baton and the The passion he brings to the stage has made thousands of people around the world dance. And this festival is also about dancing, as demonstrated on Saturday night by the Venezuelan trumpeter Pancho Flores, who made dozens of people move their hips to the rhythm of You will cryamong them those of La Parra.

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