Orchestra to play `Figaro' prelude

Opera: Conductor Jason Love and the Columbia Orchestra will present Mozart's classic, as well as selections from Mendelssohn and Stravinsky on Saturday.

Howard Live

April 15, 2004|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Maestro Jason Love's penchant for the contemporary musical idiom means that his Columbia Orchestra, Howard County's premier ensemble for instrumental music, spends a fair amount of time outside the standard symphonic repertoire.

That, however, will not be the case Saturday evening when the Columbians take the Rouse Theatre stage for a program of favorites taken straight from the heart of the classical canon.

There is no better-loved overture anywhere than the instrumental prelude to Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro, a story of love and forgiveness triumphant amid the fledgling republicanism of late 18th-century Europe.

As the opera begins, Figaro and Susanna, the servants who will show up their "social betters" countless times before the tale is through, are about to be married.

The brief overture, with its bustling energy wedded to Mozart's irresistible charm, conveys the excitement of the impending nuptials as vividly as one could imagine.

Another masterwork that, like Figaro, entered the standard repertoire immediately and never left is Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, premiered by the composer's friend, violin virtuoso Ferdinand David, in March 1845.

From the soulful main theme that opens the work to the bright, effervescent melodies of the final movement that close it, Mendelssohn's E minor is one of the most durable, best-loved concertos of all.

Most striking is the lyricism of the solo writing that, though romantic to the core, is also pure and classically poised.

Mendelssohn, said the great cellist Pablo Casals, was "a romantic who felt at ease within the mold of classicism," and nowhere does this melding of sensibilities come together with more beauty attached than in this concerto.

Joining Love and the orchestra will be violinist Igor Yuzefovich, winner of the 2003 Yale Gordon Competition held in Baltimore each year.

Born in Moscow, Yuzefovich moved to the United States in 1991 and studied at Catholic University and at Peabody Institute, where he earned a degree in violin performance.

A student in the Graduate Performance Diploma program at Peabody, Yuzefovich has performed at New York's Carnegie Hall and at concerts in South Africa, England, Canada, Israel, Ireland and Jordan, where he played the Beethoven Violin Concerto at a birthday celebration honoring King Hussein.

Rounding out Saturday's program will be Petrushka, Igor Stravinsky's ballet score depicting puppets coming to life in an all-too-human setting of love, jealousy and murder.

Angular, rambunctious and full of Russian folk tunes brilliantly orchestrated by the composer, Stravinsky's Petrushka comes to us in two versions: the original score of 1911 composed for Paris' Ballets Russes and the extensively revised 1947 edition designed less for the theater than for the concert hall.

Love has settled on the later version for this concert.

The Columbia Orchestra presents works by Mozart, Mendelssohn and Stravinsky at 8 p.m. Saturday at Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia. Tickets are available online at www.columbiaorchestra.org or at the Music & Arts Center at Chatham Station Shopping Center, the Music & Arts Center in Laurel or the Columbia Association on Wincopin Circle. Tickets also may be purchased at the door, although credit cards cannot be processed the day of the concert. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for those older than 60, and $5 for full-time students.

Before Saturday's performance, Howard Community College faculty member Bill Scanlan Murphy will discuss the lives and works of the three composers in a free "Prelude" discussion scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Information: 410-381-2004 or www. columbiaorchestra.org.

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