An Embrace of Romantic Masters
- Saturday, February 15 – Cascade Theatre, Redding, 7:30pm
Sunday, February 16 - Laxson Auditorium, Chico, 2:00pm
- Prokofiev – Romeo and Juliet, Suite No. 2
- Puccini – Manon Lescaut - Intermezzo from Act 3
- Griffes – The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan
- Tchaikovsky – Romeo and Juliet
- With theatre faculty and students from CSU, Chico
Conductor Kyle Wiley Pickett will give a free pre-concert talk one hour before the concerts begin.
Sponsors of the concerts include the firm Matson and Isom in Chico and Up State Hearing in Redding.
“Music is a big part of Valentine’s Day and romance,” according to NSS Music Director Kyle Wiley Pickett, who will conduct. “In fact, in one play, Shakespeare calls music the ‘food of love.’ I wanted to bring together a couple of different versions of the Romeo and Juliet story, from different orchestra composers, and then add other music that fits with the passion.”
The concert includes the most famous musical setting of the Shakespeare story, the tone poem Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky, and a more action-filled version by a later Russian, Serge Prokofiev. Pickett wrote, “Tchaikovsky ties the lovers’ story all together in one piece. Prokofiev wrote his as a ballet, with different scenes, so it works perfectly to have our actors introduce the music with short selections from Shakespeare’s play.”
Joining the Symphony’s players are four Chico-area actors: Keith Bratton and Simone Kertesz will portray Romeo and Juliet in readings from the Shakespeare play. CSU, Chico faculty member Cynthia Lammel and student Eric Whitacre complete the play reading cast, which is co-directed by Lammel and William Johnson.
In addition to the two versions of Romeo and Juliet, the program will be rounded out with two equally lush and Romantic works: the opera composer Puccini’s Intermezzo from Manon Lescaut and a rarity, The Pleasure Dome of Kublai Khan, which was also inspired by a literary work. The composer, American Charles Tomlinson Griffes, wrote a music version of a famous poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which will be read at the concert by William Johnson.