Ravel and Beethoven at the National Theater – what a treat!

The National Theater in downtown San José is a marvelous space architecturally speaking – very European, but on a real human scale – but musically speaking, it is exceptional.  On various Sundays at 10:30 AM, the National Symphony Orchestra performs.  Since many people prefer to avoid San José in the evenings, these Sunday concerts provide an ideal alternative.  Yesterday, under the direction of the orchestra’s conductor Chosei Komatsu, a full house was delighted by the orchestra’s performance of compositions by Ravel and Beethoven.  Daniela Rodó, a 16 year old, very poised young Costa Rican woman, performed a piano concerto by Ravel.  All were astonished and thrilled as her finely arched fingers flew over the keyboard in a stunning performance.  What incredible talent – and much hard work – for someone so young.  The second part of the concert consisted of a portion of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony.  Melodious cellos began the familiar strains of “Ode to Joy” and were soon joined by the National Symphony Chorus (Ramiro A. Ramírez, director) and booming guest soloists (Guadalupe González, Raquel Ramírez, Stanford Olsen and Gary Relyea).  The room nearly burst with the resounding strains and crescendos.  Afterwards, many in the audience mentioned experiencing goose-bumps during this moving performance.  What a thrill to be able to enjoy such first rate artistic expressions in our little country and at such reasonable ticket prices (our front row seats were under $14 USD).  Costa Rica is more than rainforests, volcanoes, beaches and wild animals.  There is another side to Costa Rica – its culture.  See for yourself. 

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