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Richmond Symphony performs iconic love story

M E D I A  A D V I S O R Y

November 2, 2016 – Richmond Virginia Music Director Steven Smith will lead the Richmond Symphony in Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet on Saturday, November 12 at 8pm and Sunday, November 13 at 3pm. Joining the Symphony on stage will be the Richmond Symphony Chorus under the direction of Erin R. Freeman with guest vocalists Kathryn Leemhuis (mezzo-soprano), Vale Rideout (tenor), and Darren K. Stokes (bass-baritone). Both concerts will be held at the Dominion Arts Center’s Carpenter Theatre.

Inspired by both Shakespeare and Beethoven, Romeo and Juliet is Berlioz’s most comprehensive and romantic score. In describing his first encounter with Beethoven’s music, the French composer felt “the shock was almost as great as that of Shakespeare had been. Beethoven opened before me a new world of music, as Shakespeare had revealed a new universe of poetry.” Berlioz’s rendition of Romeo and Juliet is divided into seven movements—four movements for orchestra and three for solo voices and chorus. The young lovers are portrayed by the orchestra, rather than traditional vocals, and soloists are used as narrators to help tell the story. This format was intentionally chosen by Berlioz in an effort to “attempt another means of expression” from the norm. The result is “an unorthodox work” that was highly unusual in the middle of the nineteenth century, but a great success.

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 www.richmondsymphony.com or by calling 1.800.514.ETIX.

On Sunday, November 6 at 2pm, Richmond Symphony Music Director Steven Smith and Shakespeare specialists, Carol and Ken Adelman, president and vice-president of “Movers & Shakespeares” will host an afternoon of music and theatrics at the historic Agecroft Hall in Richmond. The speakers will compare beloved film versions of “Romeo and Juliet” alongside Berlioz’s brilliant musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, all in anticipation of the upcoming Masterworks concerts. Visit richmondsymphony.com for more information.

The series sponsor is Altria. The concert is sponsored by Riverfront Investment Group. The media sponsor is Boomer Magazine.

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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, radio broadcasts, and educational outreach programs. The Richmond Symphony is partially funded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About the Richmond Symphony Chorus

James Erb organized the all-volunteer Richmond Symphony Chorus in 1971 for a December performance of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, under guest conductor Robert Shaw. For 36 years, Erb continued to direct and build the Chorus to reflect the Symphony’s high standards. Erin Freeman assumed leadership of the Chorus at the start of its 2007–08 season. The repertoire for its selected volunteer membership has included most of the standard repertoire for chorus and orchestra: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion and Mass in B Minor, Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 and Choral Fantasy, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Requiem settings by Mozart, Brahms, Verdi and Faure, Mahler’s Symphony No.2, Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony and all of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. Over the years they have also sung shorter choral-orchestral works by Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Bruckner, Delius, Debussy, Barber, Britten, Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Stravinsky, Olivier Messiaen and Luigi Dallapiccola. Recent projects have included a performance and recording of Mahler Symphony No. 8 with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under the direction of JoAnn Falletta, a performance with the Richmond Symphony in the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and a recreation of the Chorus’s inaugural performance of Missa Solemnis.