The Dallas Opera and The Dallas Symphony Orchestra are each presenting romantic masterpieces over the weekend. Here's the rundown:
Watts plays Grieg
Pianist Andre Watts is a model virtuoso. Along with superb technical facility, he brings a true showman's cocktail of ease and energy to his performances. Watts' aesthetic (and massive hands) are well suited to present Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's richly romantic Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16. The concerto opens with large energetic chords cascading down the keyboard that will be recognizable to many audience members. This piece is a fantastic work to hear live because its passionate soaring melodies provide both pianist and orchestra ample opportunities to shine.
Guest conductor James Gaffigan, an exciting young American conductor, has placed Grieg's piano concerto at the center of this Nordic-themed concert. The concerto, along with Grieg's orchestral Lyric Suite, Op. 54 will be sandwiched between two works by Finish composer Jean Sibelius. These pieces will most likely be less familiar to audiences, but each is a gorgeous example of Sibelius' talent for nationalistically tinted orchestral writing.
You can hear Watts, Gaffigan, and the DSO Thursday-Sunday. Tickets and more information here.
This Friday marks opening night of The Dallas Opera's penultimate production of its aptly titled 2011-2012 season, Tragic Obsessions. Guiseppe Verdi's La traviata, set in 19th-century Paris, tells the story of a young woman of questionable virtue and her passionate love affair with a wealthy young heir. Verdi's beloved masterpiece has everything you expect in such a tale - disapproving parents, duals with rival lovers, gorgeous arias you're bound to recognize and tragic illnesses. This is The Dallas Opera's first production of La traviata at the Winspear Opera House and it marks soprano Myrtò Papatanasiu's American debut in the leading role of Violetta. Papatanusiu will be joined by Tenor Jame Valenti as her lover, nobleman Alfredo Germont, and Laurent Naouri as the disapproving father.
La traviata will be performed April 13, 15, 18, 21, 27, and 29. More info here.
P.S. - La traviata Bonus Round!
The Metropolitan Opera is also producing La traviata this weekend in New York. For those of us without plane tickets and plans to be at Lincoln Center this weekend, the Met is transmitting its production of Verdi's tragic love story live in HD at movie theaters across the country. You can read the New York Times' review of Willy Decker's stunning production starring Natalie Dessay here. The Met's live in HD presentations are beautifully produced and provide audiences with a convenient and accessible venue to hear and see one of the world's best opera companies. Plus, you'll be sitting in a movie theater, so you can totally eat popcorn.
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La traviata shows this Saturday at 11:55am (central) at AMC NorthPark 15 and other locations.
P.P.S. - Just FYI Bonus Round!
The Fort Worth Classic Guitar Society and Allegro Guitar Society of Dallas are also presenting a beautiful concert this weekend. Columbian classical guitarist Ricardo Cobo is in town performing a solo program in Fort Worth tonight (7:30pm at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth) and in Dallas Saturday night (7:30pm at SMU's Caruth Auditorium). Complete program and ticket information here.