San Diego Symphony Music Director Rafael Payare opened the 2022-23 Jacobs Masterworks Season with one of the greatest choral works, the Verdi Requiem. Now, as this successful season comes to a close, Payare will conduct a lesser known major choral offering, Venezuelan composer Antonio Estévez’s Cantata criolla, ‘Florentino, el que canto con el Diablo.’
Because Estévez was not a composer on my radar, I asked John K. Russell, Music Director of the San Diego Master Chorale, what experience he had with this composer.
“The well-known Venezuelan choral conductor Maria Guinand published a short work of his, Mata del anima sola, which has become popular among American high school honor choirs,” Russell explained. In the spring of 2014, Guinand was featured as a guest conductor of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, and she brought to that concert a program of Venezuelan choral works.