Chilean director Pablo Larraín’s opera debut set for 2014

With an Oscar nomination for his 2013 film No in the bag, Larraín turns his attention to opera, with a show in Santiago’s Teatro Municipal next year.

An array of operas, ballets, concerts and plays by a mix of prominent national and international artists were announced as the lineup for Santiago’s Teatro Municipal 2014 program. Known for its imposing French Neoclassical exterior, the theatre was inaugurated in 1857 with an opening performance of the opera Ernani by Giuseppe Verdi.

Though it’s hard to match the great performances of 2013, which included a piano recital by Lang Lang — considered one of the world’s greatest pianists — as well as the Red Bull Flying Bach ballet-breakdance spectacle, next year’s shows look set to maintain the pedigree.

Among the most pleasant upcoming surprises is prominent Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín’s opera debut, as he directs the 1921 Russian opera Káťa Kabanová, originally written by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček.

Larraín won international recognition as the director of Oscar-nominated 2013 film No, which depicts the advertising campaign ahead of an important referendum in the country’s history. Larraín is also part of the team that directs the hit Latin America HBO series, Prófugos.

Káťa Kabanová, a three-act opera, is the story of a tormented woman who finds love outside her marriage, set in Russia in the 1860s. Russian Konstantin Chudovsky, chief conductor of Santiago’s Philharmonic Orchestra, will lead the musical performance. Ticket sales opened on Oct. 16.

Other notable works to be mounted in next year’s season include classical music concerts such as all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies and Mozart’s Magic Flute opera, which will be accompanied by a host of multimedia effects.

A ballet based on the story and music of Zorba the Greek will also take the stage, directed by Jorge Gallardo and will include the famous music by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.

Chilean pianist Roberto Bravo, who has worked with the Berlin Symphony and the Philharmonic Orchestra of London and Santiago, will close out the season.

Tickets are available at the box office of Teatro Municipal, located at Agustinas 794 or Parque Arauco and through telephone sales (800 471 000 or 463 8888).

By Daphne Karnezis