HOUSTON (February 1, 2011) – It’s an all-Ravel weekend for Music Director Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony’s concerts on February 11, 12 and 13. Centering on Ravel’s fascination with Spain, the program will feature favorites like Boléro, Rapsodie Espagnole, Don Quixote à Dulcinée and Chanson Espagnole, which Hans Graf personally orchestrated for small ensemble. Neighboring Rice University lends vocal talent from the Shepherd School of Music when Mezzo-soprano and Professor of Voice Susanne Mentzer and four student vocalists take the stage for a comedic portrayal of the one-act opera L’Heure espagnole (The Spanish Hour).
Intrigued by his Basque heritage, French composer Maurice Ravel developed a fascination for Spain. His music reflects his personal renderings of the country, not based on true experience, but a romanticized vision of its charm.
As with every concert, the Houston Symphony offers discounted tickets 1 ½ hours before the performance for students with a valid student ID.
Houston Symphony Classical Series
615 Louisiana St.
Houston, TX 77002
Friday, February 11, 2011, 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 12, 2011, 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 13, 2011, 2:30 PM
Ravel’s Spain with Bolero
Hans Graf, conductor
Susanne Mentzer, mezzo-soprano
Brenton Ryan, Rafael Moras, tenors
Samuel Schultz, Stephen Anthony Ray, baritones
Ravel: L’heure espagnole (The Spanish Hour) – A Musical Comedy
Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole
Ravel: Don Quixote à Dulcinée
Ravel/Graf: Chanson espagnole
Tickets from $25
About Hans Graf
Known for his wide range of repertoire and creative programming, distinguished Austrian Hans Graf – the Houston Symphony’s 15th Music Director – is one of today's most highly respected musicians. He began his tenure in Houston on Opening Night of the 2001-2002 season.
Graf is a frequent guest with all of the major North American orchestras and made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Houston Symphony in January 2006. Since then, he returned in March 2007 leading the Orchestra of St. Luke's and in January 2010 when he and the Houston Symphony were invited to perform their best-selling concert The Planets – An HD Odyssey, featuring exclusive high definition images from NASA's exploration of the solar system accompanied by Holst's famous work, The Planets. Graf and the Houston Symphony will return again in May 2012 to kick off Carnegie Hall’s Spring for Music Festival.
Graf conducts in the foremost concert halls of Europe, Japan and Australia. He has appeared with the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, as well as with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. In October 2010, Graf lead the Houston Symphony on a tour of the United Kingdom which included performances in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and two performances at the Barbican in London.
Graf has participated in such prestigious European festivals as the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Bregenz and Aix en Provence and appeared at the Salzburg Festival for twelve consecutive seasons. In summer 2010, Graf conducted the opening concert of the Aspen Music Festival and returned to Tanglewood and Chicago's Grant Park Festival.
He was awarded the Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria in 2007 and France’s Chevalier de l’ordre de la Legion d’Honneur in 2002. Maestro Graf and his wife, Margarita, have homes in Salzburg and Houston.
About Susanne Mentzer
American mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer has become recognized for her generous vocal and interpretive gifts, and is widely admired for her versatility in the recital, concert and operatic arenas.
Performances in this and upcoming seasons include Eugene Onegin (Pittsburgh Opera), The Golden Ticket (Opera Theater of St. Louis), and Dead Man Walking and Le Nozze di Figaro (Houston Grand Opera). Orchestral appearances include Mahler 3 (Florida Orchestra), Mahler 2 (Indianapolis Symphony) and a performance of Now and Again (Eighth Blackbird).
Mentzer has appeared with the world’s great opera companies, orchestras and festivals in North America, Europe, Buenos Aires and on tour in Japan (Metropolitan Opera, Mostly Mozart and the Bavarian State Opera). Other recent appearances include: a nationwide broadcast on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center; Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (National Symphony Orchestra); Ravel’s Shéhérazade (St. Louis Symphony) and Britten’s Spring Symphony (San Francisco Symphony).
In addition to her extensive discography, Mentzer has recorded two recitals: “The Eternal Feminine”, (Koch International Classics) and her personal favorite, “Wayfaring Stranger” (Erato). She appeared on PBS’ Live from the Met; and was an A&E Network series Breakfast with the Arts “Artist of the Week”. DVD credits include Don Giovanni (Teatro alla Scala), Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Opéra de Paris) and The First Emperor (Metropolitan Opera).
Mentzer is Professor of Voice at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, served on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School and the DePaul University School of Music, worked with the George London Foundation and is a board member of the William M. Sullivan Foundation.
Mentzer began her studies in music therapy (University of the Pacific), received her Bachelor and Master degrees (Juilliard School), honed her craft in the Houston Grand Opera Studio and studied voice with Norma Newton.
About Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music
The Shepherd School of Music boasts world-class faculty, students with exceptional musical and academic talent, and acoustically magnificent concert halls. Graduates have won coveted positions in orchestras all over the globe. They have sung in some of the world’s most prestigious opera houses and recital halls, and they hold faculty appointments at major academic institutions. Highly regarded in Houston, more than 70,000 Houstonians regularly attend over 350 concerts and recitals offered by Shepherd School students and faculty each year.
About the Houston Symphony
The Houston Symphony has played a central role in Houston’s cultural and civic life since 1913. Each year, the Houston Symphony performs more than 170 concerts for approximately 350,000 people, featuring an innovative and broad spectrum of classical, popular, education and community-based symphonic programming. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.
Jennifer Rudolph Mire: (713) 238-1492
Holly Cassard: (713) 238-1490