Tuesday, December 10, 2013
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“I want people to feel tangibly like we are all in this together, and by that I mean everybody – me, the orchestra and the audience,” said Robert Moody.
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Broadway singer Jennifer Hope Willis will join the PSO for its Pops concerts.
PORTLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sept. 29 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1
WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland
TICKETS: $25 to $75
PORTLAND SYMPHONY POPS
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 6
WHERE: Merrill Auditorium
TICKETS: $31 to $81
This will be Shaham's first guest appearance with the PSO, and at least her second performance in Maine. She appeared many years ago at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, working under conductor Lewis Kaplan.
She also vaguely recalls a recital somewhere up the coast "24 or 25 years ago when I was a teenager." Details are fuzzy, but the one memory from those visits was the food, and she looks forward to checking out Portland's reputation as a foodie capital.
Shaham performs across the world, and may be best known for her classical concert series for children, "Baby Got Bach." Her goal is to bring classical music to new audiences regardless of their age. In addition to her career as a performer, she also works as a broadcaster, writer and lecturer.
She will join Moody for a pre-concert Classical Conversation before the opening concerts on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1.
The concerts will close with Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony. Moody has wanted to program this piece for several years, but has held off because the orchestra performed it just before he arrived six years ago. He doesn't like to repeat pieces too frequently.
"But I think we've waited an appropriate amount of time now," he said. "It's one of those pieces that simply has to be experienced live, because you can never get from a recording the kind of living surround sound you get from a Prokofiev orchestration when it's done well live."
Moody compared the piece to a Bellagio water fountain in Las Vegas. Things are going along predictably, and then water erupts from out of nowhere, surprising everybody.
"That's how I think of this piece," Moody said. "You don't expect it, and all of a sudden something pops up. It's really quite remarkable and exciting."
And that adds two more reactions to Moody's menu of orchestra emotions: Shock and awe.
THE ORCHESTRA'S opening week continues Oct. 5-6 with a pair of pops concerts featuring the music of Cole Porter and George Gershwin. Moody will lead two guest vocalists through a program that embodies the American musical spirit.
Both singers, Mike Eldred and Jennifer Hope Willis, have extensive credits singing on Broadway. Eldred performed in Portland last year as a PSO guest, while Willis will be making her debut with the orchestra.
In separate interviews, both said they were attracted to the program because of their love of the composers. Both Gershwin and Porter hold a special place in America's musical legacy, and the opportunity to sing a concert of their combined works was an opportunity too great to pass up.
"Everybody loves this music. What's not to like? They both know how to write a song," Eldred said.
For a full season schedule, go to portlandsymphony.org.
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be reached at 791-6457 or:
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Broadway singer Mike Eldred will join the PSO for its Pops concerts.
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Orli Shaham will perform Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony with the PSO in its opening concerts.