Make us your home page

Flying off with Wagner

TAMPA — 2013 is the 200th anniversary of the birth (on May 22) of Richard Wagner, and his music is going to be performed even more than usual around the world, topped by a new Ring cycle this summer at the composer's shrine, the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. The Florida Orchestra joined the party Friday by opening its concert with the overture from Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, with guest conductor Cristian Macelaru on the podium at Ferguson Hall of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

Under Macelaru, associate conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, you could hear where golden-age Hollywood composers took their cues for big-screen Westerns and Gothic romances (and cartoons), as Wagner's picturesque score compressed all the action of the opera into 12 minutes, with plenty of stirring French horn calls, surging strings and tempestuous timpani.

Orion Weiss was the nimble soloist in Mozart's last piano concerto, No. 27, and he was especially good in the melancholy Larghetto, exhibiting delicate restraint in exposed solo passages. Tempos between pianist and orchestra were a bit out of joint in the first and third movements, resulting in a tendency to rush. Weiss showed off his bravura technique in Mozart's two densely notated cadenzas.

In 1829, Mendelssohn toured the ruins of Holyrood Castle, palace of Mary, Queen of Scots, in Edinburgh, and "I found there the beginning of my Scotch symphony," he wrote in a letter. His Symphony No. 3, its four movements played without pause, is a beautifully crafted work, complete with a toe-tapping highland reel. Macelaru — bushy-haired, flamboyant of gesture — drew an inspired performance from the orchestra.

Finally, there is a blast from the past this weekend among the French horns: James Wilson, longtime principal until about five years ago, is playing as a substitute in the section.

John Fleming can be reached at or (727) 893-8716.

.if you go

Program repeats at 8 p.m. today at Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $15, $30, $45. (727) 892-3337 or toll-free 1-800-662-7286;

Flying off with Wagner 01/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 11, 2013 11:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. From the archives: Account of famed Riggs-King match heightens Tampa mob intrigue


    With the Sept. 29 opening of "Battle of the Sexes" — the movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell about Billie Jean King's landmark 1973 tennis win over Bobby Riggs — we thought there might be renewed interest in this 2013 Peter Jamison story from the Tampa Bay Times.

    Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs in "Battle of the Sexes."  [Melinda Sue Gordon, Fox Searchlight Pictures]
  2. Halloween Horror Nights: 'The Shining,' 'Saw' and more things to give you nightmares at Universal Orlando


    The 27th year of Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights will scare the pants off you -- in the best possible way.

    The scare zone inspired by horror flick Trick r' Treat is one of the most beautiful at this year's Halloween Horror Nights 27.
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 22


    Arcade Fire: The wildly acclaimed indie rock outfit tour in support of their fifth album, Infinite Content. Presumably, the band will also play songs from their first few albums. Wolf Parade opens. 7 p.m., University of South Florida Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $35-$75. (813) 974-3004.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 08:  Musician Win Butler of Arcade Fire performs onstage during The 24th Annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas at The Shrine Auditorium on December 8, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for
  4. What the 10 terms Merriam-Webster just added to the dictionary say about our foodie culture


    Joining "troll" (as in, a rude person on the Internet, not a bridge-dwelling creature), "alt-right" and "dog whistle," 10 food-related words were added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary this week. That's out of 250 new terms, a pretty good ratio that signals the ongoing shift toward a more food-obsessed culture, one …

    IPA is one of the words recently added to the dictionary.