Manuel Gomez Ruiz accompanied by Trio Arbos

Teatro San Bartolome Thursday 13th January 2022

by Norman Warwick

January sees great international soloists marking the programme of the 38th edition of a great festival (left). These include Grigory Sokolov (piano), Steven Isserlis (cello), Sergej Krylov (violin), Beatrice Rana (piano), Arabella Steinbacher (violin), Anastasia Makhamendrikova (piano), Javier Camarena (tenor), Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor) and Manuel Gómez Ruiz (tenor). The legendary violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter will also be in the Canary Islands, performing in trio format.

Great symphony orchestras that will also visit the Canary Islands over the next few weeks, hallmarking the Festival in general and this edition in particular, as well as the conductors who will accompany them: Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Gothenburg Symphony, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Tenerife Symphony, Gran Canaria Philharmonic, Paris Chamber Orchestra, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and Russian State Symphony ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’. Among the conductors, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Jordi Savall, Vassily Petrenko, Philippe Herreweghe, Gustavo Gimeno, Antonio Méndez, Michael Boder and Karel Mark Chichon.

The chamber ensembles and the concerts of En Paralelo complete an edition that returns to its original winter dates, after the exceptional summer edition of 2021. Improved sanitation routines will also mean a larger capacity than at the last festival.

It was armed with all that information that we met up with our friends Iain and Margaret to see the opening concert the Lanzarote series by Manuel Gómez Ruiz, (shown on our cover picture and the top of this article)

We picked them up in Yaiza at 5.00 pm prompt, or should have done but we had to turn round and go home to pick up the wallet I had left behind. No worries usually but my TIE i.d card was in it, without which I couldn´t have gained entry to the performance. The concert was to be in the Teatro in San Bartolome at 8.00 pm and as the only restaurant we really know of in the town doesn´t open in the evenings until 7.00 that seemed a bit of time-squeeze.

Instead we drove to Teguise a few miles further on and had a courtyard all to ourselves at La  Recoveco (the Nook, right) and ordered some bottled beers sin alcohol (sin seems the right word), wine for Dee and Margaret and we all tucked into a tapas feast of pardon peppers, mushrooms Iberico pork, wrinkled potatoes, fried goats´ cheeses and all sorts of baby tomatoes, jams and jellies.

Our waiter offered as a piece of his ´grannies cake´ and I am not being rude when I say he looked like he had dined well on it for years, so naturally I ordered a slice. He returned not with a slice but a wedge and it was beautiful. Peachy, indeed. Definitely a sidetracks & detours recommendation.

We arrived back at the theatre with only ten minutes to spare but thankfully the showing and photographing of TIE cards and the scanning of vaccination certificate was all handled quickly, efficiently and politely by the friendly front of house staff. We had originally booked four seats together but recent figures had forced the theatre to increase the breadth of social distancing and our two couples found ourselves at either end of a row, just as  Manuel Gómez Ruiz, a tenor and native of Gran Canaria, took to the stage,

Manuel studies at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” with Anneliese Fried and at the Universität der Künste with the tenor Robert Gambill. He has participated in master classes with Thomas Hampson and Wolfram Rieger (Schubertiade Hohenems); Thomas Quasthoff and Justus Zeyen (Schubertiade Schwarzenberg); John Mark Ainsley and Sir Thomas Allen (Leeds Lieder); and Malcolm Martineau (LIFE Barcelona).

In 2007 he made his debut with the Berlin premiere of the zarzuela La Revoltosa, a production by the Komische Oper Berlin at the Hebbel Theater broadcast by Deutschlandkulturradio. In opera, at the Pérez Galdós Theater in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria as the first prisoner in Beethoven’s Fidelio with the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Pedro Halffter and under the direction of José Carlos Plaza.

The tenor has sung in numerous European venues, including the Auditorio di Roma, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Komische Oper Berlin, the Principal Theater and the Auditorium in Zaragoza, the Pérez Galdós Theater and the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Campoamor Theater in Oviedo. , Auditorio de Tenerife, Baluarte de Pamplona, ​​Teatro Arriaga and Palacio Euskalduna in Bilbao, Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, Auditorio Víctor Villegas Murcia and Teatro Real Madrid, and with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Gran Canaria, Philharmonic Orchestra of Malaga, Hamburger Symphonilker , RIAS Jugendorchester Berlin, Lauten Compagney, Zaragoza Symphony Orchestra, Oviedo Filarmonía, Principality of Asturias Orchestra, Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, Madrid Symphony Orchestra, Murcia Camerata and Musica Florea Praga.

His operatic appearances include WA Mozart’s La Finta Giardinera (Il Podestá), the Berlin premiere of B. Martinu’s Les Trois Souhaits (Serge / Adolphe), his Hamburg debut as Bastien in WA Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne at the Laeiszhalle , the rerun and recording of the opera Fra i due litiganti il ​​terzo gode by G. Sarti, and his interventions in the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria opera seasons in Otello by G. Verdi (Roderigo) and Andrea Chénier (Incredibile), Oviedo in Andrea Chénier by U. Giordano (L´Abate) and Un ballo in Maschera by G. Verdi (Un Giudice / Un Servo d’Amelia), Bilbao-Abao in Fidelio (Erster Gefangener), Canary Islands Music Festival in Ariadne auf Naxos by R. Strauss (Scaramuccio), Teatro Real de Madrid in Capriccio by R. Strauss (Diener).

In concert, the tenor has participated as a soloist in G. Puccini’s Messa di Gloria with the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra, in the recovery of the Office of the Dead by Hilarión Eslava at the Zaragoza Auditorium and Baluarte de Pamplona, ​​in the adaptation of Goyescas with the pianist Rosa Torres-Pardo, in El Mesías by GF Händel at the National Auditorium in Madrid and in Passion According to San Juan at the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam and the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

In recital he has performed at the Canary Islands Music Festival, at the Philharmonic Society of Zaragoza, the Philharmonic Society of Las Palmas de GC, the Philharmonic Society of Vigo, in the Lied Cycle of the Principal Theater of Zaragoza, in the Schubertiade of Seville – Andalusia Classical held at the Espacio Turina, at the Leeds Lieder Festival (United Kingdom) as Young Artist, the Wagneriana Society of Berlin, the Horts Festival, the South Music Festival and the León Spanish Music Festival.

He has been invited by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Joachim Gauck, to perform at the official residence Schloss Bellevue, by UEFA to sing the anthem in the final of the Champions League at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.

Manuel Gómez Ruiz has been awarded the Richard Wagner Verband Berlin – Brandenburg and Deutschland stipendium scholarships, the 2015 Canary Islands Youth Award from the Canary Islands Government and the 2017 Gran Canaria Award in the Music category of the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country of Gran Canaria.

An artist aware of the 2030 Agenda, he is a member of the SDSN-Youth Arts Twenty Thirty (UN) initiative, a network of artists from around the world that strives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals at a global level through the Arts.

In 2021 his recording debut Beethoven: a journey, eine Reise, a journey (Sacratif) together with the Arbós Trio was released

‍Tonight he also brought with him to the stage Ferdinando Trematore with violin, José Miguel Gómez with cello and Juan Carlos Garvayo, who strolled to the piano. Together, these three musicians perform as the Arbos Trio.Founded in Madrid in 1996, taking the name of the famous Spanish conductor, violinist and composer Enrique Fernández Arbós (1863-1939) the trio, that won the National Music Award 2013, is today  one of the most prestigious chamber groups on the Spanish music scene.

Their repertoire ranges from the masterpieces of classicism and romanticism (integrals of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, etc.) to the music of our time. Since its formation in 1996, one of the main objectives of the Arbós Trio has been to contribute to the enrichment of the literature for piano trio through the commissioning of new works. Composers of the stature of Georges Apeghis, Ivan Fedele, Toshio Hosokawa, Luis de Pablo, Mauricio Sotelo, Jesús Torres, Bernhard Gander, José Luis Turina, José María Sánchez Verdú, César Camarero, José Manuel López López, Hilda Paredes, Aureliano Cattaneo, Gabriel Erkoreka, Roberto Sierra, among others, have written works for the Arbós Trio.(right)

The Arbós Trio performs regularly in the main halls and international festivals throughout more than 30 countries: Konzerthaus in Vienna, Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, National Auditorium de Madrid, Kuhmo Festival, Venice Biennale, Spoleto Festival, MUSICA Strasbourg Festival, Berlin Philharmonie, Klangpuren Festival, ULTIMA in Oslo, Time of Music by Viitasaari, Nuova Consonanza de Roma, Festival Casals de Puerto Rico, Festival Transart Bolzano, Sintra Festival, Donostiarra Musical Fortnight, Alicante International Contemporary Music Festival, Granada International Festival, Cuenca Religious Music Week, Santander, etc.

The Arbós Trio has made more than 20 recordings for labels such as Naxos, Kairos, Col Legno, Verso, Ensayo, Fundación Autor and IBS Classical, dedicated to Joaquín Turina, Jesús Torres, César Camarero, Gabriel Erkoreka, Luis de Pablo, Mauricio Sotelo, Roberto Sierra, and many other Spanish and Latin American composers. He has recorded for KAIROS the triple concert “Duration Invisible” by César Camarero with the National Orchestra of Spain conducted by Peter Hirsch and the Triple Concerto by Roberto Sierra with the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra and maestro Lanfranco Marcelletti. The prestigious magazine Gramophone has said of their acclaimed album “Play it again”: “This album reaffirms the credentials of the Arbós Trio as one of the most complete and future-oriented chamber groups of today.”

For four seasons, the Arbós Trio was established as a residence group at the Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum in Madrid. His project “Triple Zone”, for the expansion and dissemination of literature for piano trio, has been sponsored by the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung and by the BBVA Foundation and is a group in residence at the Festival Música Sur de Motril.

The programme on which they would accompany Manuel tonight was based on the works of Beethoven, and as can be seen form the details at the foot of this article was comprehensive indeed.

The opening third of the recital featured several short pieces, and gave something of a stop start feeling that seemed to leave the audience slightly bewildered by when to, and when not to, applaud. This was perhaps exascerbated slightly by the fact that between singing Manuel searched his notes rather than communicate with the audience.

None of that, though, deflected from the quality of his voice and the ensemble and individual playing of Trio Arbos. They delivered both joy and melancholia with great empathy, and there was an elegance in their playing. They supported Manuel and his vocals perfectly and their instrumental bridges were walked by a playful violin , a thoughtful cello and a piano that I´m sure too would have sounded as at home in a jazz orchestra as it certainly did here.

The middle section of the programme was perhaps my favourite. It never fails to amaze me that musicians and their instruments are able to follow sidetracks & detours through musical gneres and time periods. This section of the programme, vocally and instrumentally of runs and riffs I recalled from my UK folk club days more than fifty years ago. Manuel was at his most powerful and impressive with these songs and the relationship between tenor and players must be very secure to cover such a range of music.

The French song, Non, Non Collette had a playful air in the closing part of the recital, as did the Spanish bolero of Like A Butterfly. It was all wonderful way to begin the 38th annual classical festival.

‍The programme included songs from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Ireland (including Once More I Hail Thee), Wales (inc. Love Without Hope), Scotland (Highland Laddie), Italy, France, Portugal and a Spanish section of I Don´t Want To Embark (song) and two Boleros of Like A Butterfly and A White Dove.

Fourteen countries visited in a cycle of more than thirty songs in a ninety minute hourney. Massive thanks to Manuel and Trio Arbos and all those invoilved in enabling the concert to go ahead despite rising covid figures. To the Festival committee, Lanzarote Cabildo, musician, and front of house staff who were polite and courteous and friendly as theyguided us all into the theatre, we salute you.

We hope to bring all the festival concerts that are able to be played in our reviews here at Lanzarote Information and would love to here the views of any readers atte3nding any of the concerts, whether here on or on one of the other seven islands.

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