30 years and going strong: Orlando Philharmonic hits the heavens | Review

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra opened its 30th season final weekend with a heavenly trip by way of the heavens: A performance of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.”

It’s no small feat that the OPO, often affectionately called “the Phil,” has made it 30 years. It was organized after its predecessor, the Florida Symphony Orchestra, collapsed under its debts and went out of enterprise.

No one back then within the early 1990s would have foreseen an Orlando-based orchestra, stronger than ever, led by a music director with a world-class popularity, performing in a new state-of-the-art acoustical live performance hall. But that’s the deal with audiences skilled as the orchestra, underneath the baton of music director Eric Jacobsen, opened its season in Steinmetz Hall on the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Travel problems attributable to Hurricane Ian modified this system slightly, and Jacobsen acknowledged the suffering throughout the state.

“This has been an intense week,” he mentioned, “but we hope this live performance provides you some pleasure at this time.”

After more than three days without power, it certainly brought me joy to really feel the electrical energy in the room Sunday afternoon as guest soloist Adele Anthony put the sparks in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major. And don’t think the orchestra slacked off; this isn’t the type of work where the musicians can hide behind the soloist’s virtuosity. The orchestra breathed life into Tchaikovsky’s attractive and highly effective theme within the first movement — and stored up with Anthony within the finale.

“The Planets” confirmed why Holst’s orchestral suite remains a mainstay in the classical repertoire. Each piece, titled after a different planet, was full of persona — setting a transparent mood with memorable themes and attention-getting accents. (In the case of the Philharmonic’s efficiency, each movement was augmented by completely different coloured lighting as properly.)

“Mars, the Bringer of War” hummed with depth because the brass and percussion added navy shadings. “Mercury, the Winged Messenger” was a flittery flight of the fingers for the gamers; one could hear the rush of the wind of their enjoying.

The famed “Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity” motion soared in each its jolly liveliness and its more soberly sedate theme, which had a beautiful richness of depth in its grandeur. The repeated two-note motif of “Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age” suggested to Jacobsen an obsessive reminiscence, however I found the clocklike precision of time marching on developed a deeper sinister facet — reminding us how time creeps up on an individual.

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After the delightful surprises of “Uranus, the Magician,” the University of Central Florida Women’s Chorus added an otherworldly component to the farther reaches of house of their offstage, wordless singing on “Neptune, the Mystic.”

Brilliant work, all around.

Shawn Welcome performs his spoken-word piece "Pits," a tribute to the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra on its 30th anniversary, during the season-opening concert Sunday, Oct. 2, in Steinmetz Hall at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando.

During the weekend’s live shows, Orlando poet laureate Shawn Welcome carried out “Pits,” his spoken-word tribute to the organization’s anniversary stuffed with evocative phrases similar to “a celebration of the vibrations” and “the strings drive us to really feel.”

His piece known as for the Orlando Philharmonic to expertise applause that “acts like confetti” and proposed “a toast to what touches the intangible.”

I’ll drink to that — and the subsequent 30 years of memorable music.

Get more info at orlandophil.org.

  • Next Classics Series performance: Oct. 15-16 in Steinmetz Hall on the Dr. Phillips Center, 445 S. Magnolia Ave. in Orlando. Pianist Orli Shaham plays Mozart.
  • Symphony Storytime Series premiere: Oct. 22-23 at The Plaza Live, 425 N. Bumby Ave. in Orlando. “Spooky Serenades” will get little ones in the Halloween spirit.
  • Focus Series premiere: Oct. 24 at The Plaza Live. Violinist Guillermo Figueroa and flutist Nestor Torres lead “Celebrating Puerto Rican Heritage.”
  • Pops Series premiere: Nov. 26 in Steinmetz Hall “Home from the Holidays” presents yuletide favorites.

Find me on Twitter @matt_on_arts, facebook.com/matthew.j.palm or email me at [email protected] Want more theater and arts information and reviews? Go to orlandosentinel.com/arts. For extra fun issues, comply with @fun.issues.orlando on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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