Mahler’s Resurrection plays in Spain to empty house

Mahler’s Resurrection plays in Spain to empty house


norman lebrecht

March 11, 2020

After the the Spanish government prohibited events with more than 1000 people in Madrid and other Corona hotspots, the RTVE Orchestra and Chorus went ahead with Mahler’s second symphony in the Auditorio Nacional in honor of Victims of Terrorism.

Pablo Heras-Casado conducted in front of an empty hall and the performance was broadcast live on TV and the internet. Lorenzo Ramos, son of Jesus Lopez Cobos, directed the chorus.

Watch here.

Mahler is once more the man of the moment.



  • Few months ago I have seen a video on Youtube of a old Rubinstein and Haitink for a Beethoven concerto. The director has done during all the concerto shots to avoid the empty seats of the Concertgebouw. And it works well.

  • Anon says:

    von Karajan used cardboard cutouts posed as audience members in balconies for non public concerts. Also worked well!

  • Jon Eiche says:

    It’s a good thing they weren’t attempting Mahler’s Eighth, or they would have hit the 1,000-person limit with merely the performers.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      Good point, but the vast majority Mahler 8 performances use 300 too 500 people. That would still get cancelled, here in California.

      • Greg Bottini says:

        That’s 300 to 500 people too many for this terribly orchestrated work (excepting the opening of part 2). Overall, it is M’s weakest completed symphony.

      • Tromba in F says:

        Especially if the performing forces are made up of freelancers who have exceeded their allowable services under HB 5.

  • Glazunov Fan says:

    Still, a beautiful and stirring performance for a great cause during a stressful and awkward time by these wonderful musicians…and followers, like myself, were still able to witness this event from another country (USA) and be blessed….

    • Tromba in F says:

      Agreed. Immensely enjoyable performance that came across as wholly committed on the part of the performers despite the empty hall.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Surprising comments, Greg. Walter, Klemperer, and especially Gilbeert Kaplan/VPO make it work, especially Kaplan’s primo. the second movement’s pizzicato section is delicious from Bruno Walter. I’d rather hear the Second trhan the Eighth any day and value the memory of a CSO performance by Solti and Christi Ludwig,whose “O Roesschen rot” is surpassed only by Rosette Anday live with Walter and the VPO in my experience.

    Over-all, Kaplan’s second version with the VPO is by far the best I know. Try his opening up to the repeat and cymbal crash.