2017 Season
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    Aug 1 2 3 4 5
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  • Wednesday   August 9, 2017
  • First Presbyterian Church • 11:00 AM
  • KidsFest - WindSync: Peter and the Wolf
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  • First Presbyterian Church • 7:00 PM
  • Summer Suite featuring Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
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10
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  • Thursday   August 10, 2017
  • First Presbyterian Church • 8:00 PM
  • Opening Night: Windsync & Daedalus Quartet
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11
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  • Friday   August 11, 2017
  • First Presbyterian Church • 7:00 PM
  • Backstage Pass "Been There- Heard That? Music and Places"
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  • First Presbyterian Church • 8:00 PM
  • Go/Hear - Italy!
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12
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  • Saturday   August 12, 2017
  • Robinson Pavilion at Anyela's Vineyards • 7:30 PM
  • Mozart under the Stars
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13 14 15 16 17
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  • Thursday   August 17, 2017
  • First Presbyterian Church • 8:00 PM
  • The Great Beyond
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18
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  • Friday   August 18, 2017
  • First Presbyterian Church • 7:00 PM
  • Prelude Concert
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  • First Presbyterian Church • 8:00 PM
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19
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  • Saturday   August 19, 2017
  • Robinson Pavilion at Anyela's Vineyards • 7:30 PM
  • A Cabaret Evening with Ute Lemper
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20 21 22 23 24
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  • Thursday   August 24, 2017
  • First Presbyterian Church • 7:00 PM
  • Backstage Pass "Write It For Me: Composers, Performers & Dedicatees"
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  • First Presbyterian Church • 8:00 PM
  • Dedication
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25
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  • Friday   August 25, 2017
  • First Presbyterian Church • 8:00 PM
  • Go/Hear - Russia!
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26
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  • Saturday   August 26, 2017
  • First Presbyterian Church • 11:00 AM
  • KidsFest with Joey Alexander
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  • Robinson Pavilion at Anyela's Vineyards • 7:30 PM
  • The Joey Alexander Trio
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27 28 29 30 31
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  • Thursday   August 31, 2017
  • First Presbyterian Church • 8:00 PM
  • ECCO & Brandon Ridenour: I Got Rhythm
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1
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  • Friday   September 1, 2017
  • First Presbyterian Church • 8:00 PM
  • Go/Hear - Appalachia!
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2
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  • Saturday   September 2, 2017
  • Robinson Pavilion at Anyela's Vineyards • 7:30 PM
  • Festival Finale with ECCO
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Saturday   August 15, 2015 Brook Farm   •   7:30 PM(Rain location: Skaneateles High School)

A Night at the Met

Experience the glamour and drama of the Metropolitan Opera as international opera star Lisette Oropesa and musicians from the Metropolitan Opera orchestra take the stage for some of opera’s greatest hits, followed by a new arrangement of Gustav Mahler’s magical Fourth Symphony.

Program:

Strauss: Die Fledermaus Overture
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Strauss
Die Fledermaus Overture

For Johann Strauss, Jr., writing waltzes was the family business. His father, composer Johann Strauss, Sr., however, preferred his eldest son become a banker, which (as many a parent can relate) encouraged him to do the exact opposite. By age 19 he was his father's rival bandleader and would go on to far surpass his father's musical achievements. By the time of the premiere of his operetta Die Fledermaus ("The Bat"), in 1874, Strauss, Jr., was a world-famous musician; in Boston at the World Peace Jubilee two years prior, he led an orchestra of 10,000 and a chorus of 20,000. Like Strauss, Jr., himself, Die Fledermaus came to represent to the world the opulent, pleasure-filled ballrooms of Vienna (never mind that the libretto is actually French). The frothy tale involves aristocrats behaving badly, disguises, a drunk jailer, various shenanigans, and, of course, an opulent ball.

Strauss, Jr.'s knack for orchestral color, greatly admired by Brahms, is on display in the Overture, which both presents the themes of the operetta and stands on its own as a concert work. The Overture bursts out of the gate in grand style. A few reflective moments provide some insight into the individual characters of the opera, while the constantly shifting tempo and diversity of musical ideas foretell the highly amusing adventures ahead. Naturally, one of the themes is a waltz, which swirls and whirls its way along toward a fast (and ever-faster) polka. The waltz returns for a giddy conclusion, during which anyone left dancing surely collapses in a pile on the floor.

Handel: Piangero la sorte mia from Giulio Cesare
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Handel
Piangero la sorte mia from Giulio Cesare

Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar) is today the best known of Handel's 40-odd Italian operas, perhaps because the opera has it all: familial intrigue, political intrigue, and romantic intrigue. The opera also features the eternally beguiling Cleopatra, one of history's most fascinating women, who starts here as a villain and ends a heroine. With a heart-melting lyricism, Cleopatra laments in "Piangero" the sudden turn of circumstances by which both her lover, Caesar, and her political power seem forever lost to her. In the middle section of the aria, her anger boils over as she imagines the supernatural revenge she will take after her death. After this aria from Act III, our sympathies lie with her for the rest of the opera.

Mozart: Deh vieni from Le nozze di Figaro
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Mozart
Deh vieni from Le nozze di Figaro

In Mozart's opera, the men have the power but the women have the brains. This complex story of attempted (and thwarted) infidelity places the valet Figaro in an awkward situation when his boss, the powerful Count Almaviva, makes advances upon Figaro's fiancée, Susanna. Figaro has little faith in Susanna's fidelity, which she points out here in a song of love that she knows Figaro will assume is directed toward the Count. It is actually for Figaro himself. This lilting serenade from Act IV is masterfully characterized by Mozart: its lyrical lines are sensual and seductive, yet its simplicity and transparency convey innocence at the same time, a perfect reflection of both the supposedly steamy situation as well as Susanna's actual purity.

Donizetti: Chacun le sait from La Fille du Regiment
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Donizetti
Chacun le sait from La Fille du Regiment

The unlikely tale of a military regiment's canteen girl has been an audience favorite since Donizetti composed it; Paris alone heard it over 1000 times in its first 75 years, and the Metropolitan Opera (where it's tenor role was a vehicle for Luciano Pavarotti) has presented it dozens of times since then. One can't help but love Marie, a (supposedly) orphaned girl raised by a regiment who rouses the patriotism of the soldiers with her songs, especially "Chacun le sait" from Act I, heard here. Imagine yourself one of these soldiers, your courage roused by the aria's physical acrobatics, which are equivalent to a soldier's military valor. Vive la France!

Verdi: Sempre libera from La Traviata
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Verdi
Sempre libera from La Traviata

Verdi's controversial opera about a high society call girl and the man who adores her broke quite a few operatic taboos of the time. Not only did it cast the immoral Violetta in a sympathetic central role, it also set the tale (based on Alexandre Dumas's Lady of the Camellias) in the present day. Verdi wanted his listeners to feel his characters were real and relatable. In the finale of Act I, "Sempre libera," Violetta sings of her desire to always stay free in life, roaming from pleasure to pleasure. While the waltz rhythm conveys the fun of the ballroom party scene, Verdi characterizes her determination to remain a liberated woman through the strings' repeated notes. From this charismatic aria we understand both why Violetta so absolutely captivates Alfredo, as well as why their love is ultimately doomed to fail.

Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G Major (arr. Klaus Simon)
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Mahler
Symphony No. 4 in G Major (arr. Klaus Simon)

Better loved in his lifetime as an opera conductor than a composer, Gustav Mahler was an early champion of Strauss, Jr.'s Die Fledermaus. Yet he drew inspiration for his own music not so much from urban ballrooms as from the enchantment he found in Nature. In order to compose his symphonies, he often removed himself from the city to a lakeside retreat, usually a tiny hut right at the edge of the lake, not only for peace and quiet, but also for inspiration. The Fourth Symphony was largely composed in the summers of 1899 and 1900, at two alpine lakes, Aussee and Wörthersee.

The Fourth Symphony is suffused with evocations of the natural world. "Imagine the uniform blue of the skies…," Mahler told Nathalie Bauer-Lechner. "This is the fundamental mood of the whole [symphony]. Only sometimes it darkens and becomes ghostly, gruesome. But heaven itself is not darkened, it shines on in an eternal blue." Such natural allusions in Mahler's music are rarely without some corollary in the world of human behavior. Here, the blue sky of childlike simplicity and the belief in a heavenly afterlife confront the cloudy specter of death and human suffering, and the irreconcilable contrast between the two breeds a subtle sense of irony. In the end, however, naiveté wins us over.

The first movement begins with the startling ring of sleigh bells, the kind of extra-orchestral sound that in Mahler's time provoked the ire of traditional symphony lovers. A melody for strings proceeds with a childlike twinkle in its eye, where humor and sincerity are never far apart. From this simple beginning Mahler builds a glorious edifice out of some seven interwoven themes. In this most lightly scored of his symphonies, intimacy and grandeur are never too far apart.

Mahler originally subtitled the second movement "Our friend Death strikes up the fiddle for a dance," referring to death's personification in German folklore. By tuning each string a whole step up, the solo violin acts as a slightly demented tour guide through this alternatively bewitching and frightening movement. "The scherzo is mystical, confused and eerie, so that your hair will stand on end," Mahler wrote.

The patiently unfolding third movement is both the longest and emotionally richest part of the symphony. The childlike and folkloric now give way to a very adult contemplation on the beauty of human life and the inevitability of its decay. The most beautiful soaring melodies alternate with dark thoughts, until these opposites confront each other in a frenzied exchange about two-thirds of the way through. Looking upward again, the soaring melody returns and finally lands us—literally—in heaven.

In the finale, we find ourselves in a particular heaven of German folklore, as depicted by an anonymous poem, "The Heavenly Life," from Arnim and Brentano's 1808 Collection, Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy's Magic Horn). In its description of the plenty contained in heaven, the poem obliquely refers to the earthly suffering here below—"the whole dishfuls" imagined on high can only mean half dishfuls here. Yet the poem finally leaves these physical sensations behind for an image of heavenly music—with which "no music on earth can compare." Mahler's symphony finally comes to rest in this spiritual realm, with suffering forgotten, a dream where we all feel happy to linger.

    




Concert Sponsors:

The concert is generously sponsored by Sieglinde Wikstrom
This concert is made possible with support from the Noreen and Michael Falcone Fund for Artistic Excellence
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