In an ambitious, inspired ending to his first season as music director at the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Josep Caballé-Domenech conducted Mahler’s Second Symphony with guest mezzo-soprano and former Rolex protégée Susan Platts. Of his choice of programme he says, “I decided to do this piece as a closing of the season; my personal statement of what is happening in Colorado Springs. The symbolism of this piece, called Resurrection, the dimension of it (in numbers and in meaning) and my affinity to Mahler made this choice the right one for the excited audience here. It is one of the greatest pieces ever written, very challenging for any orchestra, one of the few pieces that make history in music.
“We were almost 240 people on stage, performing for more than 4,400 people. In the fourth movement of the symphony, the mezzo solo is one of the most beautiful pieces ever written, and, if I might say it, Susan was wonderful! Then, in the last movement we add a soprano voice, a big choir and off-stage musicians.”
Caballé-Domenech had been thinking about sharing the stage with Platts since first meeting her through the Rolex Arts Initiative: “One of the things that makes the Rolex Mentor Protégé Arts Initiative amazing and unique is the possibility to meet with the ‘old’ and ‘new’ protégés of all the disciplines on a quite regular basis,” he says. “All of them are very artistic, of course, and there is such a wonderful variety; the collaboration between protégés was just a matter of time.”
Admittedly a little nervous as the moment came to bring his orchestra and the singer together, Caballé-Domenech relaxed when Platts instantly captured the attention of everyone at the first rehearsal and musical magic began to happen.
“… in a Saturday night performance that electrified a nearly sold-out Pikes Peak Center, Colorado Springs Philharmonic music director Josep Caballé-Domenech inspired his orchestra to produce a new kind of sound. The JCD era has officially begun…When Susan Platts opened up her beautifully rich mezzo soprano to begin the fourth movement, it seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere.”
- David Sckolnik, coloradosprings.com