San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

National Symphony season starts Friday

A “Summer Concert” series starting Friday and featuring a mix of opera and popular music will kick off the National Symphony Orchestra’s 2012 offerings, followed by the symphony’s official season of 12 concerts.

The National Music Center, which oversees the symphony, announced the year’s lineup last week. The free Summer Concerts, which will take place through March 4 at various venues in the Central Valley, will be accompanied by the voices of noted national artists such as Sofía Corrales, Bernal Villegas, Marta Fonseca and Adrián Goizueta. Today’s inaugural concert will take place at 8 p.m. outside the Costa Rican Art Museum in western San José’s La Sabana Park, followed Sunday at 5 p.m. by a concert at the site of the ruins in Cartago, east of the capital. Spanish conductor Carlos Checa will take the baton for the Summer Concert series.

The symphony’s official 2012 season begins March 16 at the National Theater, under guest conductor Gum Nanse of South Korea and featuring Russian-American violinist Philippe Quint as guest soloist. Eight other international guest conductors, including Gerald Brown, John Nelson and Carl St. Clair of the U.S., will take the baton during the upcoming season, while guest soloists will include a wide variety of national and international musicians.

Other symphony commitments for the year include performances at the 2012 International Arts Festival the latter half of March in San José, a university concert series in May, tours in the northwest Guanacaste province in July and in the Northern Zone in October, and the National Opera Company’s production of “Tosca” at the end of June in the National Theater.

“It’s important to point out the National Symphony Orchestra’s innovation for the 2012 season, for example by combining opera singers with rock musicians, as well as the idea of giving concerts in universities and regions outside the metropolitan area like the north and Guanacaste,” Culture Minister Manuel Obregón said in a statement from his ministry.

Keep an eye on The Tico Times’ Calendar for concert dates, or go to the symphony’s website at for the full 2012 program.

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