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A week of classical music: 1812 Overture, Inside Beethoven’s 7th, Andre Rieu

By Andrew Meacham
Andre Rieu brings his orchestra and singular spectacle atmosphere to the Amalie Arena on Nov. 1, 2017. Times files.

FIRE THE CANNONS: 1812 OVERTURE

The Florida Orchestra brings out the big guns with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, best known for the 16 cannon shots symbolizing Russia’s defense against Napoleon. "It’s just a sensational piece of music, not just a blockbuster for the end of a pops concert," music director Michael Francis told the Tampa Bay Times.

Also cued up: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 2, the "Little Russian," and contemporary Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra.

But the freshest offering might be the premiere of Horizon Gravy, University of South Florida professor Paul Reller’s new work. It’s the first performance to come of the Florida Fanfare Project, five short celebratory pieces co-commissioned by the orchestra and participating universities. The debut marks the start of a statewide project commemorating the orchestra’s 50th anniversary.

Reller, an associate professor of music, serves as director of USF’s Systems Complex for the Recording and Performing Arts Electronic Music Studio and helped start the Bonk Festival of New Music.

Concerts start at 8 p.m. Friday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa; and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, at the Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg. $15-$45. (727) 892-3337. floridaorchestra.org.

CHOREOGRAPHY: SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE

Their explosive choreography dazzles, their movements tell stories. Now finalists on Fox’s ever-popular So You Think You Can Dance are refining their skills on a national tour. The tour features 10 finalists from Season 14 plus All-Stars Jasmine Harper and Marko Germar. 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $45 and up; dinner, meet-and-greet packages available. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.

OLD WORLD CHARM: ANDRé RIEU

He’s the grandmaster of spectacle, a bold force in mainstreaming classical music for popular audiences around the world. Now André Rieu is bringing his world to the Amalie Arena, complete with all the lavish staging, lighting and performers for masterpieces including the Blue Danube Waltz and many more. Critics knock the Dutch conductor for the same proclivities that fill stadiums, and for playing the violin while conducting the orchestra. He cries all the way to the bank.

"I think there is no difference between classical and nonclassical music," Rieu told the Times in a recent interview. "For me there is only good and bad music."

8 p.m. Nov. 1 at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $66 and up. Toll-free 1-800-854-2196. amaliearena.com.

For more with André Rieu, go to tampabay.com/thingstodo/stage.

THEY’RE COMING: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

Hat Trick Theatre’s Night of the Living Dead promises a lot of purposeful, if sometimes lurching, movement. Will they stop at the edge of the stage? Don’t count on it. Opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and runs through Nov. 5 at Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Murray Theatre, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $24. (727) 791-7400. For show times, see rutheckerdhall.com.

SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL: JULIUS CAESAR

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend them your ears! The St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival, now in its fourth season, brings its mainstage production, Julius Caesar, to Williams Park starting at 8 p.m. Nov. 1 through Nov. 5. It’s pay what you can, suggested donation $10. stpeteshakesfest.org.

A DEEPER DIVE: INSIDE BEETHOVEN’S NO. 7

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 will live forever as a statement of grace and simplicity. In Inside Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, one of an occasional series the Florida Orchestra offers, Michael Francis will discuss each part of the symphony. The orchestra will play snippets to illustrate the talk, then perform the entire work, a preview of its Masterworks concert Nov. 3-5. "Every bit of it has such rhythmic drive and power," Francis said of the symphony. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-2040. mypalladium.org.