Olympia Symphony Orchestra’s grand finale for its 66th season provides the experience of visiting characters its audience will immediately recognize. The group’s upcoming concert, Cast of Characters, subtitled “an overture in four parts,” could also refer to the players themselves, whom conductor Huw Edwards calls “a cast of characters and a microcosm of society.”
The show kicks off with Spanish toreadors from Bizet’s Carmen. Then comes Sergei Prokofiev’s score for the epic film Lieutenant Kijé, followed by Ravel’s popular Ravel’s ballet score Mother Goose.
That piece was inspired by such classic tales as Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve’s Beauty and the Beast (1740), “Sleeping Beauty” and “Tom Thumb.”
Finally, Offenbach’s overture to Orpheus in the Underworld contains rich solos for cello, clarinet and violin. As a bonus treat, the season closes with a boisterous cancan.
Says Edwards, “One of the amusing stories within the symphony is the tale of Russian soldier Lieutenant Kijé, or Kizhea. The fictional protagonist of an anecdote is a mistake made by the Russian army. Eventually the character is presented to the czar and is sent to Siberia, where he meets the woman of his dreams and lives a completely different story.”
Describing the concert as “a tapas bar,” Edwards continues, “The main reason why there is no guest artist on this program is because the orchestra itself is the soloist. These varied pieces contain big solos and mini-cadenzas for so many instruments: violin, clarinet, saxophone, harp, cello, viola, celesta, oboe, trumpet offstage, flute, contrabassoon … a true cast of musical and programmatic characters.”
This show will be a rich folly for symphony patrons and players alike.
Cast of Characters
The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia
7:00 p.m. Sunday, April 28