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OML and Catarina Furtado together to explain why "some are more equal than others"

The Human Rights are the theme for this afternoon’s session of Questions and Answers, part of the Family Causes Cycle, which Metropolitana and the Association Hearts with Crown are presenting this season. An evening in which the great themes of the world today will be combined with classical music and the performing arts. For the whole family…

Are we all equal? Really? Or is it just a slogan with no application in society? And if we are all equal, why are some more equal than others? Why are those who “are different” (whether socially, ethnically, religiously or sexually) looked down upon? This is the starting point for this afternoon’s concert, at 5pm, at the Auditorium of Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

The initiative, a new feature of Metropolitana’s 2021/22 Season, seeks to combine classical music and theatre with pedagogical and social interest themes, in a partnership with Associação Corações com Coroa, founded by Catarina Furtado. The presenter and actress, who is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund, participates in this session in which the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra presents three works that reflect these pressing issues of the society in which we live.

“An orchestra is, by definition, an image of the perfect society. For everyone to function, the freedom of others must be respected. For an orchestra to function well, each musician depends on his or her colleague, facing the coordination of the conductor. This is the metaphor of a perfect society and music is a collective act”, says Maestro António Saiote, who is directing the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra this afternoon.

For the musician, “the notion of rigour and duty is always present, whether in an orchestra or in daily life in society”.

The first work chosen is The Unanswered Question, by Charles Ives, which has a special symbolism, explained by António Saiote. “To say that music is an universal language is a cliché, but it is true. Music expresses everything that cannot be expressed by acts. It goes beyond all that. In this first work we have a mirror of the real. The strings are static, they represent the druids in their act of meditation. They do not hear, they do not see, they do not speak. The strings represent silence. The woods are a kind of questions and answers of everyday life, of everything that distracts us, while the trumpet is the eternal question that seeks the answer that the druids pursue in their meditation: after all, what is the meaning of life?”

In real life, the lack of answers to our questions triggers discouragement and dismay in us, feelings for which Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings is the right soundtrack. The solution is to go towards the others, as Robert Schumann did when he composed the Overture, Scherzo and Finale, the third work to be played this afternoon by OML.

The maestro underlines the “excellent rehearsals” done throughout the week. “It was an excellent job. I usually say that in this country everything is lost and nothing is transformed. Well, I see that this is not what happened with the Metropolitan Orchestra”, says António Saiote. And he adds: “I felt very happy. I conducted the OML for the last time eight years ago and I must tell you that it has been an excellent surprise. The orchestra is very disciplined, very in tune, very competent. I know a lot of the musicians there, but we well know how sometimes that does not mean that, all together, they create a great orchestra. And in fact there is a very interesting positive spirit.

António Saiote has no doubts: “The Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra is an example of the best that is done in this country and deserves much more attention and support than it has had”.

In this afternoon’s Q&A, besides Catarina Furtado’s leading role, actors Catarina Rabaça and Rodrigo Cachucho also appear on stage. Actor João Reis is directing the performance.