World-renowned conductor Zubin Mehta is returning home to Mumbai for a series of three concerts that will be part of a multi-country tour meant to mark his 80th birthday later this month.
In a dual treat, Mehta will be performing with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, which last performed in Mumbai in 2009.
Five opera singers will also perform at the concerts — Denis Matsuev, Andrea Bocelli, Pinchas Zuckerman, Amanda Forsyth and Maria Katzarava — which are being organised in collaboration with the Mehli Mehta Foundation.
“After Mumbai, the celebration will continue with performances in Vienna, Israel and Berlin,” says Mehroo Jeejeebhoy, founder of the MMF, which works to promote Western classical music.
While tickets for the first two concerts, on April 17 and 18, are sold out, tickets for the final performance, on April 20, are still up for grabs. On that day, the world-renowned tenor Bocelli and Katzarava will perform with Mehta in an open-air concert at the city’s Brabourne Stadium.
“Sadly, Mumbai doesn’t have a venue large enough to accommodate more of Mehta’s fans,” Jeejeebhoy said. “The National Centre for the Performing Arts has a capacity of 1,100 seats, so the Brabourne Stadium was picked for the April 20 performance, as it has a capacity of 25,000. There are still bound to be unhappy people.”
One of the happy people is Jehangir Sorabjee, a consulting physician at Bombay Hospital who got his ticket for Mehta’s first concert on Sunday.
“I have seen Zubin Mehta perform in the city over half a dozen times,” he says. “This time I am very enthusiastic because to see one of the greatest living conductors perform along with a star orchestra in your city is a rare and difficult proposition, making it an opportunity to not be passed over.”
Katzarava, a 31-year-old from Mexico, is also excited, because she’s never performed in India before.
“Mehta’s direction has been a big influence on my performances. I deeply admire him, and he has directed me on several occasions. I am absolutely thrilled to participate in this series to celebrate the eightieth birthday of the great maestro,” she says.