Orchestra Miami will present the ultimate New Year’s Eve Celebration — an unforgettable, family-friendly, beachfront concert of Beethoven’s iconic Symphony N. 9 (Ode to Joy), performed by Miami’s premiere professional orchestra, Orchestra Miami, led by Miami native and Artistic Director Elaine Rinaldi with an all-star line-up of soloists. Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco has crafted a bilingual translation of Schiller’s poem, which will be sung by a 60-voice community choir accompanied by the orchestra.
This unforgettable evening will be a celebration of Miami’s resiliency, flexibility and strength in the face of the monumental challenges since March 2020. Culminating with a New Year’s Eve fireworks display, this concert will be the top family-friendly New Year’s Eve event in Miami, with anticipated attendance of 10,000 in-person guests, plus many thousands of online viewers.
The event takes place Dec. 31, 2021, on the beach, east of Collins Avenue between 21st and 22nd streets (Collins Park) in Miami Beach. The festivities start at 7 p.m. with performances by members of the orchestra, and a special screening of the documentary “Following the Ninth” about Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and what it represents to cultures around the world. Orchestra Miami takes the stage at 10 p.m. and the performance ends with a spectacular fireworks display sponsored by the City of Miami Beach.
Four world-class artists will join Orchestra Miami as the soloists in the choral finale of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The soloists are Miami native and internationally acclaimed soprano Elaine Alvarez, one of the world’s great Verdi mezzo-sopranos Marianne Cornetti, Miami native and internationally acclaimed tenor Russell Thomas and Metropolitan opera bass-baritone Kevin Short.
Orchestra Miami’s performance will begin with The Star-Spangled Banner, and will also include the “Champagne Trio” from Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and the “Champagne Galop” by Danish composer Hans Christian Lumbye, followed by Beethoven’s iconic Symphony N. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125. The choral finale will be sung in a new translation created by Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco. It will be sung in English, Spanish and the original German so that everyone will be able to experience the joy of Beethoven’s music and Schiller’s poem. The 60-voice community choir will be prepared by Dr. Giselle Elgarresta Rios.
“Now that the majority of people in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties have been vaccinated, we felt that New Year’s Eve was the perfect occasion for a big celebration” says Orchestra Miami Artistic Director Elaine Rinaldi. “I was sorry that we couldn’t celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday as originally planned in 2020, but moving the celebration to 2021 in our 15th anniversary season gave us an additional reason to celebrate! I am most proud of the fact that with this performance, Orchestra Miami will have performed all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies outdoors in our public spaces for free!”
This is a free concert. Guests are encouraged to bring a blanket or a beach chair, as no fixed seating is provided. Limited concessions will be available, so guests are encouraged to bring a picnic. Please be advised that no glass bottles are allowed on the beach. Parking will be available at the 23rd Street garage (340 23rd Street) and at the Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Drive).
For patrons who wish to have reserved seating, VIP packages are available for purchase. For $300 per person, patrons will receive a reserved parking space, reserved premium seating at the concert, bar access throughout the event (alcoholic and non- alcoholic beverages), and light bites during the concert from Wy Not Eat Miami as well as a champagne toast and beers sponsored by Tripping Animals Brewery. Get VIP tickets here.
Ode to Joy is sponsored by Bvlgari Hotel Miami Beach and the City of Miami Beach, with additional sponsorship provided by W Hotel, the Collins Park Neighborhood Association, WLRN and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.
Complete information can be found at www.OrchestraMiami.org or by calling (305) 274-2103.
About Orchestra Miami
Founded in 2006 by Artistic Director Elaine Rinaldi, Orchestra Miami exists to build community through music, and is celebrating its 15th season of bringing affordable concerts of quality symphonic music to all people in Miami-Dade County. Orchestra Miami’s goal is to provide people opportunities to experience art, build community, and educate through music. Orchestra Miami’s signature programs include its “Beethoven on the Beach” free outdoor concerts, its “Discover Miami Through Music” series, its many collaborations with the Miami Dade County Public Schools and its Family Fun Concert Series.
Orchestra Miami’s 2021-22 15th Anniversary season continues with its annual “Beethoven on the Beach” free outdoor concerts on Feb 25, 2022, in Pinecrest and March 6, 2022, in Miami Beach, “Airborne,” a Discover Miami Through Music concert celebrating Miami’s aviation history at Shake-a-Leg Miami on April 9 and 10, 2022, and An Evening with Miami’s first lady of Jazz, Wendy Pedersen, on May 21, 2022, at Miami’s Scottish Rite Temple, and two remaining concerts of our Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Family Fun series at Pinecrest Gardens.
Orchestra Miami consists of a select group of professional musicians, all permanent residents of South Florida, whose collective body is unparalleled in terms of excellence and experience. Led by Founder and Artistic Director Elaine Rinaldi, Orchestra Miami continues to exceed expectations in terms of programming and artistic quality. For more information, please visit our website at www.OrchestraMiami.org.
About Orchestra Miami’s Artistic Director, Elaine Rinaldi
Elaine Rinaldi is the founder and artistic director of Orchestra Miami, where critics have called her performances “brilliant” and her interpretative work “impeccable.” As Artistic Director of Orchestra Miami, she has had the privilege of working with some of the top names in classical music, including guitarist Angel Romero, flutist Nestor Torres, cellist Ian Maksin, baritone Mark Rucker and sopranos Elizabeth Caballero and Eglise Gutierrez, and has presented North American premieres of works by American composers David Chesky and Marvin David Levy. Her 2017 performance of Marvin David Levy’s Atonement garnered First Prize for her and Orchestra Miami in the American Prize/ Ernst Bacon Award for American Music (Professional Division) Competition. Through her work with Orchestra Miami, she has introduced more than 29,000 elementary school students to classical music via live performances with Orchestra Miami. Recent conducting engagements have included Mozart’s The Magic Flute for Opera in the Ozarks, L’incoronazione di Poppea and The Magic Flute for the Miami Music Festival, The Magic Flute with Emmy-Award winning director David Grabarkewitz for Orchestra Miami, Don Giovanni for Opera Orlando and the Tri-Cities Opera and Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi at Mezzano Romantico Summer Festival (Fiera di Primiero, Italy).
In addition to her work as a conductor, Elaine is in demand as one of the nation’s top vocal coaches and accompanists through her private studio in New York. Recent recitals have included Espana alla Rossini with mezzo-soprano Anna Tonna and a tour of Japan with soprano Yunah Lee. She was on the faculty of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music as a lecturer in vocal coaching, and maintains an active recital and chamber music performance schedule. Her awards have included Third Prize winner in the American Prize Competition for Conducting and Orchestra Performance (Professional Division), the Agnis Varis/Intercities Performing Arts grant, the League of American Orchestra’s mentorship with Joann Faletta, Finalist for the American Prize for Orchestral Conducting and Orchestra Performance, the Newton Swift Prize for Accompanying at the Mannes College of Music and the M. B. Byrd full tuition scholarship at the University of Miami Frost School of Music.
About the Soloists
Elaine Alvarez, Soprano
Cuban-American soprano Elaine Alvarez burst onto the international opera scene in 2007, making a break-out company debut with her soulful portrayal of Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In June 2019, Ms. Alvarez made a stunning 11th-hour debut as Aïda under the baton of legendary Maestro Riccardo Muti, marking her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Elaine previously joined Maestro Muti on tour with the Ravenna Festival Italy and the Orchestra e Coro Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in concert performances of Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Other recent notable engagements have featured Alvarez in numerous role and house debuts of iconic leading ladies including Tosca with Choregies d’Orange and Opera de Oviedo; Kat’a Kabanova with Boston Lyric Opera; a return to Mimi for Opera National de Bordeaux; a much anticipated role and house debut for San Diego Opera as Florencia en el Amazonas; the title role in Cecilia Valdéz with the iconic Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid; major Verdi debuts for Opera Royal de Wallonie as Elvira in Ernani, Hélène in the rarely produced Jerusalem, and the title role of Aïda under the baton of long-time collaborator Speranza Scappucci. Alvarez also joined Opera Royal de Wallonie for her first foray into the bel canto repertoire as Donizetti’s infamous Tudor Queen, Anna Bolena in Liege and on tour at the Royal Opera House Muscat.
Born in Miami, Florida, Alvarez began her musical studies as a child with her mother, Yasmin, a distinguished classical music professor trained in her native Cuba. Alvarez is a graduate of the prestigious New World School of the Arts and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Manhattan School of Music. She has also studied at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy, studying most notably with Marilyn Horne and Renata Scotto. Alvarez currently studies with Manuel Perez and Anthony Manoli and resides in Miami with her husband, Michael, their children, and their Yorkshire Terrier, Lola the Wonder Pooch.
Marianne Cornetti, Mezzo-Soprano
Marianne Cornetti is internationally recognized as one of the leading Verdi mezzo-sopranos of her generation. She has appeared as Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Princess Eboli in Don Carlos at prestigious opera houses across the world, garnering rave reviews and winning the hearts of audiences globally. Opera Magazine claims, “If her timbre did not sear itself into the memory, her vocal command of this redoubtable role was complete” and Seen and Heard International raves, “[Her] voice is a miracle of power and flexibility from top to bottom. It is the emotion which she imparts into her singing, however, that makes her Azucena so memorable… Cornetti imbues each [role] with an emotional force all its own… The cheers and applause that rained down upon her at the end were well deserved.”
Acclaimed performances of iconic leading Verdi roles include engagements as Azucena in Il Trovatore at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Metropolitan Opera, Arena di Verona, Bregenz Festival, Teatro Comunale in Florence, National Theatre of China in Beijing, Teatro Muncipal in Sao Paulo, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Bavarian State Opera in Munich, La Coruña in Spain, Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, Teatro Regio in Parma, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, and in the Teatro Comunale di Bologna’s tour in Japan, and as Amneris in Aida at the Teatro alla Scala, Hamburg State Opera, Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, New National Theatre Foundation in Tokyo, Theatre Royale de La Monnaie in Brussels, Israeli Opera at Masada, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Auditorio de Tenerife, and Choregies D’Orange.
She appears frequently in concert in such works as Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Elgar’s Sea Picture and De Falla’s El Amor Brujo. She has recorded Cilea’s L’Arlesiana and Puccini’s Edgar opposite Plácido Domingo and was recently featured on a Teatro Regio di Parma recording of Verdi’s Don Carlo released in 2017 on the Dynamic record label.
Russell Thomas, Tenor
With a “heroically shining tone of exceptional clarity and precision” (Opera Magazine) and “gorgeously burnished power” (The New York Times), American tenor Russell Thomas uses his signature elegance and intensity to create vivid character portrayals on the world’s most important stages.
In the 2021/22 season, Thomas returns to several of his most celebrated roles in important international venues. He first brings his critically acclaimed portrayal of Florestan to a new production of Fidelio at San Francisco Opera, conducted by new SFO Music Director Eun Sun Kim. He then appears as Cavaradossi in Tosca at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Radames in Aida at Los Angeles Opera, and as the title character in Verdi’s iconic Otello at Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Elsewhere, Mr. Thomas makes his Fort Worth Opera debut in a 75th Anniversary Concert and performs Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Orchestra Miami. He also appears at Seattle Symphony for Das Lied von der Erde and sings the title role in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen.
During the hybrid 2020/21 season, Mr. Thomas starred in two operatic films: performing opposite John Holiday in Dallas Opera’s Vanished, based on Janá?ek’s song cycle The One Who Disappeared, and singing Canio in Pagliacci with Lyric Opera of Chicago. He also appeared digitally in concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra and at galas for Los Angeles Opera and San Francisco Opera. He returned to live in-person performances with the title role in Oedipus Rex at LA Opera and reprised his Alvaro in La forza del destino at Deutsche Oper Berlin.
During this time, Thomas also began his tenure as Artist in Residence at LA Opera, where he plays a substantial role in artistic planning and casting. In addition to hosting and curating the company’s After Hours recital series, he has spearheaded new training programs designed to serve outstanding singers from historically Black colleges and universities and Los Angeles public high school students from underserved communities.
Acclaimed for his “voice of intrinsic warmth and refined sense of style” (Opera News), Thomas has enjoyed a string of operatic triumphs in key Verdi roles, including debuts as Otello at Canadian Opera Company, Manrico in Il trovatore at Bayerische Staatsoper, Radames in Aida at Houston Grand Opera, Stiffelio at Opera Frankfurt, and Don Alvaro in La forza del destino at Deutsche Oper Berlin. An alumnus of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Program, Russell most recently returned there as Rodolfo in La bohème. Other important role debuts include Idomeneo at the Salzburg Festival, Roberto Devereux at San Francisco Opera, Florestan in Fidelio at Cincinnati Opera, and Adorno in Simon Boccanegra at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. His portrayal of Tito in the new Peter Sellars production of La clemenza di Tito at the Salzburg Festival drew praise from The New Yorker, which noted, “Thomas’s penetrating tenor, which has lately acquired richness and heft, anchored the evening.”
Kevin Short, Bass-Baritone
American bass-baritone Kevin Short sings around the globe in repertoire ranging from Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Monteverdi’s L’Coronazione di Poppea to Verdi’s Attila, Bizet’s Carmen, and Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer. His North America appearances include performances with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Pacific, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Sarasota Opera Company, Spoleto Opera Festival, Canadian Opera Company, Vancouver Opera, Edmonton Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, and the Opera de las Americas.
His European and Asian credits include appearances with multiple opera companies, orchestras, and festivals. They include Opera Comique (Paris), Welsh National Opera, Kazan State Theater-Russia, Theatre Caen, Grand Theatre du Luxembourg, Oper der Stadt Köln, Semperoper Dresden, Stadttheater Stuttgart, Theater Aachen, Theater Basel, Theater Bern, Theater St. Gallen, Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos, Teatro di Catania, Teatro di San Carlo, Maggio Musicale, Savonlinna Festival-Finland; Bregenzer Festspiele-Austria, Baden-Baden Festspiele-Germany, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence-France, Festival Montpellier-France, l’Opéra de Rouen-France, l’Opéra de Reims-France, Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan, and festivals in Beijing, China; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Granada, Valencia, Gran Canaria, and Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Short also has an active concert and recital schedule and has performed with the Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Handel and Haydn Orchestra-Boston, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Radio Symphony, Netherlands Filharmonisch Orkest, Swiss and Italian RAI Orchestra, Radio France Orchestra, Marseille Philharmonie, Gulbenkian Orchestra- Lisbon, Portugal, Parma Reggio Emilia Orchestra, Malta Philharmonic, Transylvania Symphony, Thüringen Symphony Orchestra-Germany, Jena Symphony-Germany, Moscow Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Symphony, Russia, Omsk Philharmonic-Russia, Siberian State Symphony, New Japan Philharmonic, Hiroshima Symphony, the Kazan Symphony for the opening of the Universiade Games in Kazan, Russia, and the Winter Olympics (Nagano, Japan) Festival Orchestra in 1998.