People love a good story, and composers of classical music know how to tell one. Benjamin Del Vecchio, director of the Hendricks Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Choir, has chosen several examples of dramatic stories to present to the public on Feb. 22 and 24.
Avon Intermediate School Strings perform side by side with the orchestra for Haydn's second movement of Symphony No. 94, the "Surprise" Symphony, which contains the famous theme of a simple melody played softly, then - fortissimo! One of 12 "London Symphonies," Haydn's motive in composing this piece was to offer something new and memorable.
Hendricks Symphony Orchestra opens with Overture to the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart. Based on the tale of that infamous seducer of all women, Don Juan, this work is an example of opera buffa, both a comedy and melodrama.
The choir joins the orchestra with the Coronation Scene from the opera Boris Godunov. Loosely based on the life of a tsar of the same name at the turn of the 17th century, Boris Godunov was Mussorgsky's only opera, and Rimsky-Korsakov is credited with the orchestration for most modern performances. Returning guest soloist Cody Medina (baritone) sings the lead role.
Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks by Richard Strauss completes the first part of the program. Strauss' career spanned well into the 20th century, and his music reflects the contemporary sound. Till Eulenspiegel is a tone poem. Music tells the story of the whimsical German folk hero, Till. Two repeating themes represent his character: a horn melody that ends in three long loud notes and a clarinet that plays a tune giving the listener a sense of Till's craftiness.
Following intermission is Mussorgsky's tone poem, Night on Bald Mountain. Unfortunately for the composer, no one wanted to play it, not even when he added vocals. Again, Rimsky-Korsakov revamped it for orchestra, and the piece debuted five years after Mussorgsky's death.
The finale for "Music's Bad Boys" is Arrigo Boito's Faustian opera Mefistofele, Act One, or in today's jargon: "Let's Make a Deal" (with the devil). HSS welcomes back guest soloist Rev. Michael Magiera, tenor, who performs the role of Faust, and Cody Medina plays Mefistofele. Medina has performed in several of the symphony's concerts over the years. He is currently finishing his doctoral of music from Indiana University. He also teaches studio voice and music history at Bellarmine University in Louisville. In addition to "Music's Bad Boys," he will sing the Winterreise song cycle by Schubert at IU in March, and in April will perform Beethoven's Ninth in Columbus, Carmel, and Anderson. Rev. Michael Magiera has been a professional musician for more than three decades. He began his career in Philadelphia and has performed operatic roles all over the United States and in Europe. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2005 and serves at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church in Indianapolis.
Both concerts will be performed at Avon Middle School South. Friday's concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday's concert is at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door or $12 in advance, students $7 ($5 in advance), and seniors are $12. Advance tickets may be purchased at Wooden Key Hallmark stores in Avon, Brownsburg, Chapel Hill, Mooresville, and Plainfield or at Brownsburg and Danville public libraries. Tickets may also be purchased online (plus a processing fee) at www.hendrickssymphonic.org.