Brand-new venues, new performers, a Bernstein centennial, a Kristallnacht memorial and a 50th birthday celebration. The 2017-18 classical music season for Tacoma Opera, Symphony Tacoma and Northwest Sinfonietta extends beyond Tacoma to Puyallup, Gig Harbor and Seattle, and goes way beyond your expectations.
“At Symphony Tacoma, we strive to put community first, to welcome our audience in, going beyond tradition to surprise and captivate,” said Sarah Ioannides, the symphony’s music director.
At Symphony Tacoma, we strive to put community first, to welcome our audience in, going beyond tradition to surprise and captivate.
Sarah Ioannides, music director of Symphony Tacoma
“We wanted this season to showcase the diverse range of experiences our chamber orchestra is capable of creating — everything from a grand Beethoven symphony to an intimate Baroque ensemble,” said Thom Mayes, executive director of the Northwest Sinfonietta.
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Here’s what’s in store for each group.
The opera celebrates 50 years in 2018 with a season of three beloved gems of the repertoire: Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” in October, Bizet’s “Carmen” in February and Lehár’s “The Merry Widow” in April.
“Figaro,” to be performed at the Rialto Theater, is the tale of the hero in Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” (he of the famous “Figaro! Figaro, Figaro, Figaro! aria) who is now getting married but is no less devious. “Carmen” is one of the most popular operas ever, the love story of a gypsy and a toreador last performed by Tacoma Opera in 2007. Franz Lehár’s “The Merry Widow,” back in the Rialto, is a bon-bon of Viennese waltzes and polkas with a 19th century comedy plot.
The symphony’s season opens with a tribute to legendary American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, part of a Pacific Northwest centennial celebration and including music from “West Side Story.” Other big works in the year include Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite,” Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1, plus a United States premiere of “The Eros Effect and Solidarity” by Swedish composer Marie Samuelsson. It is a work for choir and orchestra expressing the human capacity to respond in solidarity during social movements. The season will finish with an all-Wagner evening.
Dotting the symphony’s season will be new guest artists soprano Kelly Cae Hogan, principal trumpeter Charles Butler, pianist Andrew Tyson, cellist Efe Baltacigil and the glam-classical-rock quartet Opus X.
The orchestra continues to alternate between the Pantages and Rialto theaters, as well as Chapel Hill Presbyterian in Gig Harbor and St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Tacoma.
More new ideas come from the Sinfonietta, which is playing to its chamber strengths by adding three concerts led completely by musicians — no conductor — in two new venues. The first will be in December: a holiday concert of baroque hits in the ornate setting of the Winthrop Hotel Ballroom and featuring Sinfonietta co-founder Kathryn Habedank on harpsichord. The second contrasts co-concertmasters Brittany Boulding and Denise Dillenbeck playing “The Four Seasons” in both Vivaldi and Piazzolla versions in Puyallup. The final concert takes the orchestra’s winds and percussion to the casual vibe of The Triple Door in Seattle. Subscribers can pick one of these as part of their subscriptions.
In the main series, the orchestra continues with innovation: an all-American concert of Copland, Barber and Hailstork in October, a European concert with Joseph Swenson playing Ravel’s “Tzigane” in March and a Bernstein centennial concert performance of the opera “Trouble in Tahiti” in June. On Nov. 9 will be a program commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms that burned synagogues and killed many Jews in 1938. Works by Beethoven, Hans Krása (who died in the Holocaust) and contemporary Israeli composer Sharon Farber will be performed by solo cellist Amit Peled and Holocaust survivor Curt Lowens, with guest Israeli conductor Yaniv Attar.