Critic’s Choice

Mon Apr 23, 2018 at 2:58 pm
By Steven Brown

Juraj Valčuha

No need to read the Nietzsche philosophical treatise that inspired Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. The drama, lushness and mystery of Strauss’s orchestral showpiece speaks for itself, and the Houston Symphony will dig into the virtuoso score this weekend at Jones Hall.

Juraj Valčuha, a Slovak native who is music director of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Italy, will guest-conduct. Perhaps as a tip of the hat to his theatrical job, Valčuha will open the program with the luminous Overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor by Otto Nicolai, the 19th-century German composer whose other claim to fame is that he helped found the Vienna Philharmonic.

Bulgarian pianist Evgeni Bozhanov, a prizewinner in the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition, among others, will take center stage in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2. 

Performances are 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Jones Hall.; 713-224-7575

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