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Osmo Vänskä /// Music Director

Press Room: Press Releases

Rafael Payare debuts with Minnesota Orchestra, conducting Brahms' Fourth Symphony

French mezzo Virginie Verrez sings her Minnesota Orchestra debut in Ravel’s Shéhérazade

In concerts on November 16 and 17, Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare makes his Minnesota Orchestra debut with performances featuring mezzo soloist Virginie Verrez, who also debuts with the ensemble in these concerts. The program begins with Dukas’ beloved scherzo, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, followed by Verrez’s performance of Ravel’s evocative Shéhérazade. After intermission, Payare leads the Orchestra in Brahms’ rich and emotional Fourth Symphony.

The Minnesota Orchestra concerts are performed at the ensemble’s home venue in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall, on Thursday, November 16, at 11 a.m. and Friday, November 17, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $96. Tickets are available online at and by phone at 612-371-5656. For further purchasing details, refer to the section at the conclusion of this press release.

Rafael Payare, conductor
Rafael Payare works regularly with the world’s leading orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony and London Symphony, as well as the Munich Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and NHK Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, he was appointed chief conductor of the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland. Highlights of his tenure with that ensemble have included his debut at the BBC Proms in 2016 and a successful Beethoven and Tchaikovsky cycle, with many concerts broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He has conducted all of the major orchestras in Venezuela, including the Simón Bolívar Orchestra. In 2012, he was awarded first prize at the Malko International Conducting Competition; that same year he was personally invited by his mentor, the late Lorin Maazel, to conduct at his Castleton Festival in Virginia, which led to Payare’s 2015 appointment as the festival’s principal conductor. More:

Virginie Verrez, mezzo
French mezzo Virginie Verrez was a winner of the 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the 2016 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. Her opera roles have included Stéphano in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet and Enrichetta in Bellini’s I Puritani with the Metropolitan Opera, and Mercédès in Bizet’s Carmen at the Festival d’Aix-en Provence. Highlights of her concert appearances include singing Berlioz’ Romeo and Juliet and Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Barber’s Vanessa with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and Duruflé’s Requiem with the Netherlands Radio Choir. Her 2017-18 season includes debuts with the Opéra national de Paris, Glyndebourne Festival, Dallas Opera and Opéra de Lille, and a concert appearance with the Orchestre National de Lyon in Haydn’s Nelson Mass. She is a recent graduate of New York's Juilliard School. More:

Dukas, Ravel and Brahms
Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice chronicles the misadventures of a young man and his enchanted broom. A gradual accumulation of orchestral power leads to an outburst of chromatic scales, after which musical order is restored.

Ravel’s mastery of creating evocative musical pictures is showcased in his Shéhérazade, a vocal-orchestral setting of three poems written by his friend Tristan Klingsor. Ravel found his inspiration in the fantastical tales of the Orient, Klingsor’s colorful text and the composer’s own deep appreciation for Debussy’s vivid musical imagery.

Brahms’ Fourth Symphony is a passionate work filled with high drama. From a first movement both warm and tragic, the symphony proceeds through a moody intermezzo and a rambunctious scherzo to a most unusual conclusion: a beautifully abstract set of variations on a Bach cantata.

Minnesota Orchestra Classical Concerts

Thursday, November 16, 2017, 11 a.m. (Coffee Concert) / Orchestra Hall
Friday, November 17, 2017, 8 p.m. / Orchestra Hall 

Minnesota Orchestra
Rafael Payare, conductor
Virginie Verrez, mezzo

DUKAS                                  The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
RAVEL                                  Shéhérazade
BRAHMS                             Symphony No. 4

Tickets: $25 to $96

OH+ Events
Free Concert Preview with Phillip Gainsley in the Auditorium on Thursday, November 16, at 10:15 a.m., and in the Target Atrium on Friday, November 17, at 7:15 p.m.


Individual tickets and subscription packages can be purchased online at, or by calling 612-371-5656 (612-371-5642 for subscriptions) or 800-292-4141. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Orchestra Hall Box Office, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (Stage Door ticketing is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lobby Box Office ticketing begins two hours before all ticketed performances); and at the skyway accessible Minnesota Orchestra Administrative Office, International Centre, 5th floor, 920 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis (open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). For more information, call 612-371-5656, or visit For subscriptions, call 612-371-5642 or visit For groups of 10 or more, call 612-371-5662. 

All programs, artists, dates, times and prices subject to change. 

The Star Tribune is the Minnesota Orchestra’s media partner for the 2017-18 season.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.



Gwen Pappas, Director of Public Relations 
(612) 371-5628 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Emma Plehal, Public Relations Writer and Coordinator
(612) 371-5625 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Press Contacts

Gwen Pappas

Director of Communications
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Carl Schroeder

Publications Editor
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Emma Plehal

Communications Manager and Assistant Editor
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Isaac Risseeuw

Social Media and Content Coordinator
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Communications Office

Minnesota Orchestra
1111 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
Phone: 612.371.5600
Fax: 612.371.7170

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