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Richmond Symphony Altria Masterworks concert A New Year in Vienna

M E D I A  A D V I S O R Y

December 21, 2017 – Richmond, Virginia

Music Director Steven Smith will lead the Richmond Symphony and the Richmond Symphony Chorus in two Altria Masterworks performances of A New Year in Vienna on Saturday, January 13 at 8pm and Sunday, January 14 at 3pm. Joining the Symphony on stage will be the Richmond Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Erin R. Freeman, with guest soloists from the Virginia Opera’s Emerging Artists: April Martin (soprano), Melisa Bonetti (mezzo-soprano), David Blalock (tenor).  Both concerts will be held at the Dominion Energy Center’s Carpenter Theatre.


The program includes Suppé’s Poet and Peasant Overture, selected songs from Mahler’s “Des Knaben Wunderhorn,” and a collection of waltzes including Strauss, Jr.’s Overture to “The Gypsy Baron,” Voices of Spring, Op.410, Pleasure of Train Polka, Op.281, and On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op.314.


Kick off 2018 with music composed by Vienna’s “most original genius,” Johann Strauss, Jr. during our upcoming Altria Masterworks concert: A New Year in Vienna! Strauss, Jr. wrote over 500 waltzes, polkas, quadrilles, and other types of dance music, as well as nearly 20 operas. His most popular work was On the Beautiful Blue Danube. Originally composed to be accompanied by a men’s choir, Strauss made the piece purely orchestral in 1867 for an exhibition in Paris. No New Year’s concert would be complete without this waltz that has become known as Vienna’s unofficial second national anthem. Voices of Spring was originally composed to showcase a very special soprano in the Vienna Court Opera. The Richmond Symphony and the Richmond Symphony Chorus will be performing Voices of Spring and more next weekend featuring special guests: April Martin (soprano), Melisa Bonetti (mezzo-soprano), David Blalock (tenor). This is a fantastic performance to kick off the New Year — not to be missed!


Poet and Peasant was composed to accompany what Franz von Suppé referred to as a “comedy of songs.” The story tells of a broken-hearted poet who finds himself on vacation with “country-folk” in the mountains. Most of Suppé’s work is made up of pieces like this: instrumental overtures and songs to accompany theatrical comedies. This piece will provide a fiery start to the concert as the orchestra plays an energetic piece that fades into a waltz only to end with another boom!


Gustav Mahler was the quintessential turn of the century artist: seeking to expand the musical experience without completely disregarding the past. In 1887, he came across the book Des Knaben Wunderhorn or the Youth’s Magic Horn. Mahler spent the following twenty years setting these poems to music. Des Knaben Wunderhorn is where Mahler finally finds his home as a composer. His entire soul is poured into this work. Humor, joy, youth, love, and loss: Des Knaben Wunderhorn has it all.


Adult tickets for Altria Masterworks performances start at $10, college student single tickets are $7, and child tickets are free for individuals under the age of 18. Purchase tickets online at richmondsymphony.com or by calling 1.800.514.ETIX.


The series sponsor is Altria. The media sponsor is Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Appearance of Virginia Opera Emerging Artists is sponsored by BrickStreet Foundation.

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About the Richmond Symphony

Founded in 1957, the Richmond Symphony is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy concerts, and radio broadcasts. The Symphony also provides educational outreach programs to over 50,000 students and teachers each year. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.