For private institutions the economic and financial conditions are paramount. Crises here and elsewhere mean cancellations or crucial changes. In recent years European problems have been such that institutions of long repute cancelled unilaterally and at the last moment, and this happened even in Germany, theoretically the strongest country of the area. Costs of USA orchestras have become prohibitive, especially because that country has no subsidizing tradition (Europe has). Countries that years ago could help Argentina now can´t help themselves.
Back to our country. The "Rodrigazo" caused at the time an essential problem: or subscription holders accepted in midseason to pay substantially more due to the devaluation or the institutions would go under; some did. January 2002 was another low point; the atrocious and unnecessary devaluation (the convertibility law had the remedy and it wasn´t used) again changed conditions drastically and some institutions had last-minute help to be able to go on (e.g., Harmonia became Nuova Harmonia and depended on the financial support of the Italian Government). As the years went by, the positive tail wind in commodities meant that we had a better scenery. But from 2009, after the Lehman Brothers disaster and the mortgage and regulations fallout, Argentina, supposedly isolated from Northern troubles ( a pariah default nation floating on a high-price commodity mirage), fell into a dollar crisis. And as we all know, it is deepening daily.
You may think, why a music reviewer is writing about all this? Well, because international seasons depend on global conditions and the dollar situation. We don´t live on a privileged oasis even if that is what we are asked to believe. I don´t buy. So, be warned: already this year there were signs of trouble in the musical institutions, and 2013 will be worse. Nevertheless, we will still have some very good things due to the financial savvy and ingeniousness of some instutions.
Again, as so many times before, the Mozarteum Argentino presents an important plan under difficult conditions. The Dutch Government is sponsoring a global tour by the Concertgebouw Orchestra in its 125th anniversary, often voted the best in the world; its concerts in two seasons under Haitink have left here indelible marks; now it is led by Mariss Jansons, a maestro often feted here. Pianist Denis Matsuev will come with them. June 28, 29.
Another remarkable orchestra, the Montreal Symphony, gave memorable sessions here under Dutoit; now we will have the pleasure of welcoming the local debut of a great conductor, Kent Nagano. April 29, 30.
Other numbers: Camerata Bern with the famous mezzosoprano Veselina Kasarova (April 8, 9); pianist Dejan Lazic (May 6, 7); Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra with flutist Emanuel Pahud (May 27, 28); Atos Piano Trio (June 17, 19); the return of the great soprano Karita Mattila (July 29, 31); violinist Joshua Bell (September 9, 10); the interesting debut of the Finland Lahti Symphony (Okko Kamu) with violinist Elina Vähälä (October 11, 12); and Combattimento Consort Amsterdam directed by Jan Willem de Vriend with cellist Quirine Viersen (October 28 and 30). All at the Colón.
Nuova Harmonia will present a good cycle, not quite so starry. In recent years the institution is no longer so Italian-oriented as in 2002-5, which I welcome for it shows a salutary cosmopolitism. They start with the debut of the Lithuanian National Symphony under Vladimir Lande with Japanese pianist Xiayin Wang (Coliseo, April 22). Then, Russian Virtuosi of Europe, a string ensemble (Coliseo, May 2). The London Festival Orchestra led by Ross Pople makes a welcome return (Coliseo, June 4). Ditto the Lucerne Festival Strings (Coliseo, June 26). The Pinchas Zukerman Chamber Players are a tradition here (Colón, August 12). Then, the debut of the Ensemble Umberto Giordano under Gianna Fratta (Vivaldi and Pergolesi, Coliseo, August 21). Our pianist Nelson Goerner at the Coliseo on September 18. The valuable NDR Hamburg Orchester under Thomas Hengelbrock with Korean pianist Hyu-Jung Lim (Colón, October 4). The Interpreti Veneziani will be at the Coliseo on October 17. And the season ends with the combined debuts of the Bucharest Symphony, conductor Benoit Fromanger and violinist Erik Schumann (Colón, November 2).
There was serious worry about the continuity of Festivales Musicales, but a group of Friends have managed to put together a reasonable season, though almost totally local and based on hits; I hope they will gradually recover. They need a splendid lobbyist to catch sponsors that steadily diminish. No dates given, nor venues. We will hear Xavier Inchausti (violin) with Carmen Piazzini (piano), the Asociación Coral Lagun Onak (Miguel Ángel Pesce), pianist Horacio Lavandera, Handel´s "Messiah" (Mario Videla), La Barroca del Suquía with countertenor Martín Oro, the Estudio Coral de Buenos Aires (Carlos López Puccio), the Orquesta Académica del ISA del Colón (British conductor Michael Seal with Lavandera), Videla (organ) and Pro Musica Antiqua Rosario (Cristián Hernández Larguía).
On the operatic side, the private companies have announced their repertoire, at the Avenida. Buenos Aires Lírica, as this year, will offer only four operas, but two are quite interesting: "Lucreazia Borgia" (Donizetti) in May and "Jenufa" (Janácek), in Czech, in October. Also, Mozart´s "Così fan tutte" in March and Verdi´s "Nabucco" in August. Unfortunately Juventus Lyrica is reduced to only three operas, and too well-trodden: Mozart´s "The Magic Flute" (April), Rossini´s "The Barber of Seville" (June-July) and Puccini´s "La Boheme" (September). I hope for better conditions in 2014.For Buenos Aires Herald