Standing ovation for first US orchestra

GMT 20:20 2015 Saturday ,16 May

Arab Today, arab today Standing ovation for first US orchestra

The Minnesota Orchestra
Havana - AFP

The first American orchestra to tour Cuba since a historic rapprochement between the two nations received a rousing ovation late Friday from a packed house in Havana.

The Minnesota Orchestra last came to the island 85 years ago -- decades before the Cuban Revolution.

The orchestra received a five-minute-long standing ovation after the two-hour long performance of works by Beethoven at Havana's National Theater.

Following the ovation, the orchestra's musical director Osmo Vanska struck up a polka from his home country of Finland.

The orchestra is scheduled to perform again on Saturday.

The concert comes just days before American and Cuban officials meet in the United States to discuss reopening embassies, in a new round of negotiations.

Bilateral talks are scheduled Thursday as Cuba and the United States continue the process of normalizing ties.

President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on December 17 that the former Cold War foes would restore full diplomatic ties severed in 1961.

The rapprochement has created a potential opening for a variety of cultural exchanges as the two nations work to restore relations.

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