Zubin Mehta keeps date with Mumbai

The 74-year old maestro performed at the NCPA in south Mumbai yesterday and this evening to the delight of music buffs who spared time from the cricket frenzy around. The concerts were organised by the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation.

Mehta and the Florence orchestra were touring Japan when the earthquake and tsunami hit the island country. Mehta performed at a concert in Tokyo a day after the disaster.

The concerts presented artistes like violinist Arabella Steinbacher and tenor Fabio Sartori. Western classical music aficionados enjoyed music composed by Verdi, Tchaikovsky and Mahler. Today's concert included works by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Bartok.

The city last played stage to Zubin Mehta in 2009 and also 2008 when he performed a special series to mark the centenary of his father and founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra's centenary.

The concerts presented some of the leading names associated with the famous musical city of Florence, the birthplace of opera. The concerts were held at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre of NCPA.

The concerts in Mumbai are sandwiched between performances in cities like Tokyo and Shanghai in the east and the great cities of Budapest and St Petersburg in the west, Mehta said.

"I always try and include Mumbai on my list whenever I can; it holds such great memories for me but is also an important opportunity to do all that I can to help promote Western classical music in India.

"If India can make the kind of commitments that I've seen in Japan and China, I have no doubt that we would lead the world in producing the best classical music talent, just as we produce the best cricketing talent," he said.

Mehroo Jeejeebhoy, founder and trustee of the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation, said the Foundation was "very proud" to, once again, have Maestro Zubin Mehta include Mumbai on his current tour.

The Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, founded in 1982 by Vittorio Gui as the Stabile Orchestrale Fiorentina, has since its early beginnings had an intense activity of concert and opera seasons at the Teatro Comunale di Firenze.

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