Pacific Symphony Plays Orff's Carmina Burana, Plus Pianist Yeol Eum Son, Fireworks
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It’s the kind of powerful music everyone knows even if they think they don’t—especially the intense opening chords of the first movement of Carl Orff’s massive choral work “Carmina Burana,” which have become standard fare for hundreds of soundtracks for movies, TV commercials and video games. Pacific Symphony and Music Director Carl St.Clair bring the awe-inspiring “Carmina Burana,” in all of its spine-tingling majesty, to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, where “O Fortuna!” opens and closes the work. Joining the Symphony on stage for “Rhapsody and Rapture,” the third concert of the 22nd summer season, sponsored by The Orange County Register, is Pacific Chorale (John Alexander, artistic director), Southern California Children’s Chorus (SCCC—Lori Loftus, director), and three world-class soloists: soprano Kiera Duffy; tenor Thomas Glenn; and baritone Christòpheren Nomura.
Also on the program is an appearance by the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition’s silver medalist, Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son, playing Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini”—the same repertoire that earned her the distinguished title. Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News commented after a recent performance of the young pianist: “_Son should have no trouble building a career. She’s got the fingers and the personality—and, at least here, the haut-est couture."
_ The full Latin title is actually “Carmina Burana: Cantiones profanae cantoribus et choris cantandae comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis” (“Songs of Beuern: Secular songs for singers and choruses to be sung together with instruments and magic images.”) A big name for a mammoth work, “Carmina Burana” is the best-known work of Orff’s prolific musical career, comprised of a collection of 24 Latin poems by the same name. The cantata is split into three sections celebrating spring, the “joys of the tavern” and “the joys of love,” and single-handedly catapulted the composer into the musical history books. In fact, after its immensely successful premiere by the Frankfurt Opera on June 8, 1937, Orff wrote to his publisher, “Everything I have written to date, and which you have, unfortunately, printed, can be destroyed. With ‘Carmina Burana,’ my collected works begin.”
Joining the Symphony on stage are soprano Kiera Duffy (winner of a 2008 Sullivan Foundation grant and a finalist in the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions); tenor Thomas Glenn, a recent graduate of the San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship program; and baritone Christòpheren Nomura, who has been acclaimed the world over as a Mozartean baritone, appearing as Don Giovanni, and Papageno in “The Magic Flute,” the Count in “Marriage of Figaro,” and Guglielmo in “Cosi fan tutte.” All three have performed on opera, concert and recital stages around the globe in repertoire from the Baroque to the 20th century. _