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The Philadelphia Orchestra
08/06/2022 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Following her recent PBS special Ledisi Live: A Tribute to Nina Simone, 2021 Grammy winner and fourteen-time Grammy-nominated powerhouse vocalist Ledisi will capture the spirit of singer, pianist and activist Nina Simone in this special program. Performing alongside The Philadelphia Orchestra, Ledisi will take on the legendary musician’s emotionally searing and socially conscious songs.
Among her roles in film and television, Ledisi has performed in the George Clooney directed film Leatherheads; portrayed the great Mahalia Jackson in the Oscar-nominated movie Selma, and played the legendary Patti LaBelle on the hit BET series American Soul. This year, Ledisi landed the starring role in the film Remember Me: The Story of Mahalia Jackson. She will also portray the incomparable Gladys Knight in the long-awaited film based on Neil Bogart’s career, Spinning Gold, the story of Casablanca Records.
Strayhorn/Walden A Lovesome Thing: Billy Strayhorn Suite*
Price Piano Concerto in One Movement*
Brahms Symphony No. 2
Making her SPAC debut on this program is American pianist Lara Downes, a trailblazer on- and off-stage and an acclaimed NPR host. As a chart-topping recording artist, a powerfully charismatic performer, a curator and tastemaker, she is recognized as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene.
Downes will perform two SPAC premieres: A Lovesome Thing: Billy Strayhorn Suite, co-commissioned by SPAC, Downes and the Boston Symphony and featuring three selections from the music of Billy Strayhorn, as well as Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement, which evokes Price’s experiences as a Black woman raised in the post-Civil War South. This stunning Concerto includes references to spirituals, call-and-response, and the “juba”—a lively, syncopated plantation dance that predates the Civil War.
Closing the program is Brahms’s Second Symphony, possibly his most popular, and said to be his personal favorite. Its pastoral aura surely accounts for some of its appeal; but there is tension and drama as well, building to an extraordinary, triumphant finale.
Villa-Lobos “Ária (Cantilena),” from Bachianas brasileiras No. 5*
Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1
World renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma will make his return to SPAC for the first time since 2017 with a program that opens with the “Ária” from Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas brasileiras No. 5, a delightful blend of Brazilian folk tunes and Bach-inspired chamber music.
Following is Saint-Saëns’s sparkling First Cello Concerto, one of the greatest and most technically challenging cello pieces ever written, in the masterful hands of Yo-Yo Ma. The evening closes with Rimsky-Korsakov’s sweeping Sheherazade—core Russian Romantic repertoire seemingly invented to showcase the Philadelphia Sound.
Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… Experience one of the most beloved films of all time as never before… with the power of a full symphony orchestra performing the entire musical score live-to-picture!
Directed by Rob Reiner, The Princess Bride features an all-star cast including Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Wallace Shawn, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Christopher Guest, Fred Savage and André the Giant.
The great Peter Falk narrates this romantic tale of the beautiful maiden, Buttercup, and her one true love, a young farm hand named Westley. After he’s captured by a ruthless pirate and presumed dead, Buttercup’s unhappy marriage to the horrible Prince Humperdinck seems inevitable. But before the wedding can take place, she’s kidnapped by three outlaws and it’s up to a mysterious Man in Black to come to her rescue…
Now for the first time, composer Mark Knopfler’s unforgettable score has been specially arranged for symphony orchestra. Missing this cinematic concert experience would be inconceivable!
So, in the words of Miracle Max… “Have fun stormin’ the castle!”
FREE ice cream provided by Stewart’s Shops at this event before the start of the main stage performance!
Wednesday, August 10 – Beethoven’s Fifth at 7:30 p.m.
Dvořák Carnival Overture
Rachmaninoff The Isle of the Dead
Habibi Jeder Baum spricht*
Beethoven Symphony No. 5
Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin returns to Saratoga to lead the Orchestra in four programs, beginning on Wednesday, August 10.
Highlighting the evening is Beethoven’s indelible Fifth Symphony, originally scheduled as part of the 2020 season to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. Written in 1807–08, and on the program when The Philadelphia Orchestra gave its first concert in 1900, it’s an epic tour de force that still resonates today.
Also inspired by nature, and based on a direct quote from Beethoven, composer Iman Habibi’s Jeder Baum spricht imagines Beethoven’s response to today’s climate crisis.
Thursday, August 11 – Beethoven’s Eroica at 7:30 p.m.
Rossini Overture to The Thieving Magpie
Bruch Violin Concerto No.1
Beethoven Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”)
Twenty-six-year-old violin superstar Randall Goosby makes his SPAC debut performing Bruch’s youthful yet expressive Violin Concerto No. 1.
Also featured on this program is Composer Jessica Hunt’s Climb, a letter-through-time to Beethoven, expressing her gratitude for his work. Hunt relates Beethoven’s personal struggles to her own experience with chronic illness.
A vast ode to heroism, revolution, and freedom, the “Eroica” is considered by many to be the greatest of not just Beethoven’s symphonies, but the greatest of all time. From its indelible opening theme to its thundering finale, the “Eroica” Symphony is one of Beethoven’s most popular works.
Friday, August 12 – Angel Blue Sings Coleman & Barber at 7:30 p.m.
Barber Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Coleman This is Not a Small Voice for Soprano and Orchestra*
Dvořák Symphony No. 7
Beginning with Rossini’s effervescent Overture to The Thieving Magpie, this program features the SPAC debut of soprano Angel Blue.
In a performance grounded in our shared connection to a sense of place, Angel Blue transports us to Knoxville: Summer of 1915 through Samuel Barber’s dream-like depiction of the world through the eyes of a child. Valerie Coleman creates an inspiring new work for voice and orchestra using texts by contemporary Philadelphia-based poets.
Closing the evening is the towering triumph, Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony. Cascading from brooding themes to the serenity of woodwinds to the overwhelming tragic grandeur of the finale, the work has astounded audiences since its April 1885 premiere in London.
Saturday, August 13 – Beethoven’s Ninth at 7:30 p.m.
Frank Pachamama Meets an Ode*
Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (“Choral”)
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s residency finale is highlighted by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Written just a few short years before his death, “Beethoven’s profound ode to brotherhood, salvation, and pure joy reminds us why we are here as an orchestra,” says Yannick, “and why we constantly try to make our world better by playing music.”
Philadelphia Orchestra Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank draws inspiration from Beethoven and her Peruvian culture in Pachamama Meets an Ode, challenging us to look at gifts from the past with new and searching eyes.
The evening culminates with a brilliant fireworks display.