60th Anniversary Tour
Thurday, April 8, 2021 | 7:30pm
Herbst TheatreVenue InformationSan Francisco
About This Performance
Celin, Pepe, Celino and Lito Romero—members of the “Royal Family of the Guitar” celebrate an astonishing milestone. If you’ve heard and loved the guitar in your lifetime, chances are you have the prolific and peripatetic Romeros to thank for its enduring popularity. Their program features Spanish songs with versatile vocalist Isabel Leonard.
The Guitar Series is presented in association with the OMNI Foundation for the Performing Arts
Music by FALLA, LORCA, VILLA LOBOS, RODRIGO and others
To some fortunate musicians, it is given to rise to the peak of a musical art form; to some very few musicians, it is given to originate an art form. The Romeros have achieved both.
The illustrious career of The Romeros is unmistakably a milestone of twentieth century music. Celedonio Romero, with his sons Celin, Pepe and Angel, founded the internationally renowned ensemble known to millions as "The Royal Family of the Guitar." With the introduction of Celin’s son, Celino, into the quartet in 1990, and Angel’s son Lito joining in 1996, the Romeros encompass three generations of concert artists. To have so many virtuosi of the same instrument in one family is unique in the music world, and in the realm of the classical guitar it is absolutely without precedent. Since the Romero family came to the United States in 1957, they have consistently dazzled audiences everywhere and have inspired enthusiastic praise from critics coast to coast. The Romeros have given thousands of concerts all over the world; today, they continue to produce music which is extraordinary. Whether performing as a quartet, duo or as soloists in recital and with symphony orchestra, the Romeros prevail as champions in the realm of classical guitar.
The sterling reputation of The Romeros has further been earned by repeated appearances with virtually every major symphony orchestra all over the world. Regular festival appearances include the Hollywood Bowl, Blossom, Wolf Trap, Saratoga, Flagstaff, Garden State, the Osaka in Japan Granada and Nerja in Spain and many others.
The Romeros are extremely popular with college audiences and make regular appearances on university series throughout the country as well as on the fine arts series of major cities. In New York they have appeared several times at Carnegie Hall, at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, at the Cloisters in upper Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park and on the Distinguished Artists Series at Rockefeller University. In addition to their extensive concertizing throughout the Untied States, they also regularly tour Europe and the Far East playing in every major city.
A number of important additions to the guitar repertoire have been written for The Romeros by such distinguished composers as Joaquín Rodrigo, Federico Moreno Torroba, Morton Gould, Rev. Francisco de Madina and others. Television fans have seen and heard the Romeros many times on interview shows including the Tonight and Today shows as well as on PBS specials and PBS’s telecast of Evening at the Boston Pops with The Romeros performing Vivaldi and Rodrigo.
Recordings have done much to spread the international fame of The Romeros. Their voluminous discography spans the repertoire of the classical guitar from the works of its earliest composers to those of today’s masters—Rodrigo and Moreno Torroba, as well as compositions by Celedonio Romero and numerous transcriptions by The Romeros themselves.
Those who are privileged to hear these world-renowned musicians perform have the delightful opportunity to experience a musical phenomenon: “One of the enduring mysteries of musical talent is how skills seem to flow genetically from musical parent to musical child. In the Romero family the flow has been swift and unimpeded. The virtuosity of the four Romeros was uniformly solid and finely considered, as if these techniques had derived from a single mold” (The New York Times).
Multiple Grammy Award-winning Isabel Leonard continues to thrill audiences both in the opera house and on the concert stage. In repertoire that spans from Vivaldi to Mozart to Nico Muhly, she has graced the stages of the Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, Salzburg Festival, Bavarian State Opera, Carnegie Hall, Glyndebourne Festival, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Charlotte in Werther, Blanche de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, Costanza in Griselda, the title roles in La Périchole and Der Rosenkavalier, as well as Sesto in both Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and Handel’s Giulio Cesare.
She has appeared with some of the foremost conductors of her time: Valery Gergiev, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pappano, Charles Dutoit, Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Yannick Nézét-Seguin, Franz Welser-Möst, Plácido Domingo, Edward Gardner, James Levine, Edo de Waart, James Conlon, Marin Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Michele Mariotti, Harry Bicket, Andris Nelsons, and Michael Tilson Thomas with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Vienna Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, among others. Ms. Leonard is in constant demand as a recitalist and is on the Board of Trustees at Carnegie Hall.
She is a multiple Grammy Award winner, most recently for Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges on Decca (2016) and The Tempest from The Metropolitan Opera on Deutsche Grammophon (2014), both Best Opera Recording. Television and film appearances include Sesame Street and host for The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD movie theater transmissions. Ms. Leonard is the recipient of the Richard Tucker Award and has lent her voice, in honor of her father who died from the disease, to the Prostate Cancer Foundation by filming a public service announcement (PSA).
This season she makes debuts at Royal Opera House Covent Garden as Charlotte in Werther, Dutch National Opera as Angelina in La Cenerentola, Cincinnati Opera as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and The Glimmerglass Festival as Maria in The Sound of Music. In concert, she will sing L’enfant et les sortilèges with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony, Shéhérazade with the New York Philharmonic and Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and La damnation de Faust with the Saint Louis Symphony. Additional performances include a concert with the University of North Carolina Symphony Orchestra and a recital at the University of Connecticut.