Few towns of its size boast the state-of-the-art theater facilities and international prestige of southern Chile’s Frutillar, on the shores of Lake Llanquihue. Formerly a 19th century German colony, the town is now a thriving center for musical and cultural events in Chile and Latin America.
On the sandy shores of Frutillar, the expansive Teatro del Lago (“Theater on the Lake”), which opened in late 2010, will host the town’s 44th Semanas Musicales, or “Musical Weeks,” from January 27 to February 5.
Organized by the Semanas Musicales Cultural Corporation, the Chilean Air Force and the Universidad de Chile, the Musical Weeks make up the largest classical music festival in Chile, its 40 concerts drawing 400 artists from 11 nations across the world.
The festival takes place against the backdrop of the conical Osorno Volcano, known locally as the “King of the South.” It aims to “unite music, the beautiful landscapes of this small, lakeside city in southern Chile, and summer vacations and entertainment,” says Flora Hinostroza, president of the Semanas Musicales Cultural Corporation.
Performers from South Africa and China join the festival’s programming this year, representing their countries for the first time in the decades-old event, alongside acts from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Germany, Israel, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine.
The festival’s opening show on January 27 and 28 will feature the Chilean Air Force Symphonic Band – conducted by Fabrizzio De Negri – who will perform works by De Negri, Von Suppe, Herrmann and more in Teatro del Lago’s major Nestle Hall.
Daily chamber concerts at noon will include performances by the Chilean guitar ensemble Guitarregas on January 29; a duet by Argentine flautist Nicolas Ojeda and Argentine cellist José Luis di Marco on February 1; and Russian pianist Victoria Foust on February 4. All daytime concerts are held in the 272-seat Lake Llanquihue Amphitheater, with audiences facing the lake and Osorno Volcano in the distance.
Among the European performers will be German string quintet Ensamble Acrux, who will play assorted works from Mozart and Dvorak on January 30 at 8:15 pm in the Nestlé Hall. Local folkloric music from classic Chilean group Los Cuatro Cuatros is expected to draw crowds on February 2 at 10:30 pm.
The festival closes with the show “Lírica en Frutillar” (Lyric in Frutillar), where the Universidad de Chile’s Orchestra and Symphonic Choir will perform a compilation of world-renowned operas by the likes of Verdi and Mozart, with nearly 200 musicians on stage. The show will be directed by critically-acclaimed conductor Francisco Rettig, originally from the nearby town of Osorno.
Beyond Frutillar, the Semanas Musicales will also host concerts in 10 communities around the area, including larger destinations Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas and Osorno, and smaller towns in and around the nearby lakes, including Llanquihue, Río Negro, Río Bueno, Puerto Octay, Purranque and La Unión.
For more information on the Semanas Musicales or to reserve tickets in advance, visit www.semanasmusicales.cl. To purchase tickets, call +56 (65) 421 290.