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Orchestra kicks off 50th season with ‘Carmina Burana’

By Andrew Meacham
MONICA HERNDON | Times New Music Director Michael Francis conducts the Florida Orchestra in the Star Spangled Banner before the start of RachmaninoffOs Piano Concerto No. 3 on Saturday October 3, 2015 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. The show opened Friday October 2, at the Straz in Tampa. There's one more show Sunday October 3, at 7:30 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Tampa. Orchestra: The Florida Orchestra is asking for $950,000 to help cover salaries and travel costs to perform in areas without a professional orchestra. The request is sponsored by Rep. Ben Diamond, D-St. Petersburg. Money is tight in Tallahassee and House Speaker Richard Corcoran is a vocal critic of parochial pork-barrel spending. But you would never know it to see the stampede of requests for cash for all kinds of projects. House members have filed more than 1,200 requests that total $2.6 billion -- more money than the annual budget of the nation's third largest prison system. With new rules requiring that every project must be heard in at least one hearing, the rush is on to get as many projects scheduled for discussion as possible. A look at where most of the requests are coming from and what they look like.

50TH ANNIVERSARY:

FLORIDA ORCHESTRA

The Florida Orchestra opens its 50th season with Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, one of the most explosive pieces of classical music being played today. (The Buccaneers often use it to rev up the crowd.)

"It’s a spectacular way to open the 50th anniversary, one of the most iconic pieces of all," music director Michael Francis said.

Soloists include soprano Madison Leonard, fresh off a run with the Washington National Opera (as the High Priestess in Aida); tenor John Kaneklides, a St. Petersburg Opera favorite; and Canadian-American baritone Michael Nyby, who has won praise for his interpretation of the Carmina Burana.

8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.

SURVIVOR: FREEFALL

Freefall Theatre is ready to go with a world premiere of White Fang, based on Jack London’s novel about a fighting hybrid wolf-dog. It’s a story about being shuffled among three different owners in the Yukon territory, adapted by British playwright Jethro Compton, who is also directing the show.

The theater had to undergo its own survival story following roof damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The show will be held in the auditorium as workers restore Freefall’s black box performing space. Opens Friday and runs through Oct. 29 at 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $50, $25 younger than 18. (727) 498-5205. freefalltheatre.com.

MAKING LIGHT:

CAPITOL STEPS

They started during the Reagan years, congressional staffers letting off steam with skits. Within a few years, the Capitol Steps proved so popular they quit their day jobs. The satirists have been poking bipartisan fun ever since, only now they’re professional performers who tour the country.

Judging by the song titles from their recent album, Orange Is the New Barack, the Steps’ writers are hanging with a quick pace of current events. Recent tunes include a Mexifornia Medley about President Trump’s wall, Hillary’s version of I Will Survive, and the disquieting How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea? 7 p.m. Sunday at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $45-$65. (727) 822-3590. mypalladium.org.

WHIRLWIND TOUR:

BILL BURR

Bill Burr has quite a weekend planned.

"This is my three-day run," he said by phone recently. "Thursday, I fly in early, I go to the Patriots-Buccaneers game. Friday, I get to live my dream and do my stand-up act. Saturday, I go to Florida-LSU. I love Florida."

When you’re one of the biggest comics in America, you can do just about anything. After years of grinding it out in clubs, the widely respected, perpetually aggrieved Boston native has moved to comedy’s A-list, with a host of successful specials, an animated Netflix sitcom (F Is for Family), a popular podcast (Bill Burr’s Monday Morning Podcast) and more and more acting roles (Breaking Bad, Kroll Show, Daddy’s Home). He has been coming to Tampa Bay for years, first in clubs like Side Splitters, and now with shows at 7 and 10 p.m. Friday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. SE, St. Petersburg. $42.50 and up. (727) 892-5767. — Jay Cridlin, tbt*

For more with Bill Burr, go to tampabay.com/soundcheck.