The Florida Orchestra will open their 2022-23 season with a bang: The opening concert of the Hough Family Foundation’s Masterworks series in October features Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay.
The masterpiece has been used in countless references in popular culture for dramatic effect.
“Carmina is such a beautiful musical spectacle,” said music director Michael Francis, who is conducting the concert. “It deals with the idea of fate and fortune. I think all of us feel like we’ve been thrust in the tumble dryer phase in the last few years with COVID. And I thought just to have that back as that great opening of the season works very well.”
It will be tempered with Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe Suites 1 and 2, which Francis said is sensual and together will “create a wonderful sensory overload.”
After returning in full last season, the orchestra is keeping its momentum, with many of the Masterworks concerts happening at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, the Duke Energy Center for the Arts — Mahaffey Theater and Ruth Eckerd Hall. All Masterworks concerts include a free pre-concert conversation with musicians and conductors that explores the stories behind the music, starting one hour before the performance.
Another highlight of the season is the world premiere of Michael Ippolito’s Violin Concerto in December. The piece was written specifically for The Florida Orchestra’s concertmaster Jeffrey Multer. Ippolito grew up in Tampa watching the orchestra and is now a collaborator, having composed Triptych for the orchestra in the 2017-2018 season.
“This is the third piece he’s written for us, and it’s a major commission and for our esteemed concertmaster,“ Francis said. “Michael has a wonderful sense of drama, and I’m sure this will be a compelling piece of music. I’ve already seen some of the sketches and some of the initial drafts. It looks like a wonderful piece perfectly suited to Jeffrey’s consummate technique and musicality.”
In January, the orchestra will present American music with Gershwin’s An American in Paris, featuring jazz legend Wynton Marsalis’ Tuba Concerto played by TJ Graf, the orchestra’s principal tuba.
Tuba concertos aren’t very common, but Francis said the brilliance of Marsalis’ piece will complement Graf’s ability.
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“I think people will actually begin to understand what a magnificent virtuosic instrument that tuba can be in the right hands,” Francis said.
February brings a mini Sergei Rachmaninoff festival to honor the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth. On back-to-back weekends, world-renowned pianist Joyce Yang will return to The Florida Orchestra for Rachmaninoff’s Second and Third Piano Concertos. Yang last played with the orchestra in February 2020, so Francis said he thought the audience would love having her back.
The Florida Orchestra recently named a new assistant conductor, Chelsea Gallo. She’ll begin in the fall and is conducting Jeans ‘n Classics Presents Abbey Road (Feb. 4) in the Raymond James Pops series and the Best of Ballet (Dec. 15) in the Morning Coffee series.
“(Chelsea) is a wonderful musician and was by far the best candidate for the job,” Francis said. “A great communicator, great conductor, terrific ideas, a real zest for music and life and a marvelous musical personality. So I’m really excited to work closely with Chelsea.”
Another highlight from the Masterworks series is Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring featuring Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (Oct. 21-23). Aretha: Queen of Soul with vocalist Capathia Jenkins (Jan. 13-14) and Harry Potter vs Star Wars (March 18-19) are standouts in the Pops series.
The Masterworks series also includes the orchestra’s first-ever performance of Wagner’s The Ring Without Words (May 20-21, 2023). Wagner’s Ring cycle of operas typically takes about 15 hours to perform over several days, but this version condenses highlights into just over an hour.
Francis said that concert is a great example of how far the orchestra has come by showing its virtuosity. The variety of offerings in the orchestra’s series and programs demonstrates how flexible the organization is.
“I hope Tampa Bay sees ... that we really care about the community and are constantly looking to find ways to reach the people in the right way,” he said. “But even beyond all of that is our passion to share this marvelous music to bring this wonderful community together.”
Season tickets are on sale now at floridaorchestra.org. Individual tickets will go on sale Aug. 15. A full schedule of community concerts will be released over the summer.
Hough Family Foundation Masterworks Series
Carmina Burana with The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay featuring Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe Suites 1 and 2 (Oct. 7-9)
Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring featuring Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (Oct. 21-23)
Scheherazade featuring Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto, conducted by JoAnn Falletta (Nov. 5-6)
Brahms’ Violin Concerto featuring Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8, conducted by Joshua Weilerstein (Nov. 12-13)
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 with world premiere Ippolito Violin Concerto (Dec. 2-4)
Gershwin’s An American in Paris featuring Marsalis’ Tuba Concerto, conducted by Fawzi Haimor (Jan. 6-8, 2023)
Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony featuring Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, conducted by Ankush Kumar Bahl (Jan. 21-22, 2023)
Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 featuring Elgar’s Cello Concerto (Jan. 28-29, 2023)
Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 featuring Joyce Yang (Feb. 17-19, 2023)
Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 featuring Joyce Yang (Feb. 24-26, 2023)
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 with Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, conducted by Nicholas Hersh (April 1-2, 2023)
Mendelssohn’s Elijah with The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay (May 5-7, 2023)
Wagner’s The Ring Without Words featuring Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 (May 20-21, 2023)
Raymond James Pops Series
Hollywood Sings, conducted by Michael Krajewski (Oct. 14-15)
Magic of Rodgers & Hammerstein, conducted by Stuart Malina (Oct. 29)
Holiday Pops, conducted by Bob Bernhardt (Dec. 9-11)
Aretha: Queen of Soul, conducted by Stuart Malina with vocalist Capathia Jenkins (Jan. 13-14, 2023)
Jeans ‘n Classics Presents Abbey Road, conducted by Chelsea Gallo (Feb. 4, 2023)
Harry Potter vs Star Wars, conducted by Lawrence Loh (March 18-19, 2023)
Wild West, conducted by Daniel Black (April 15-16, 2023)
Sinatra and Beyond, conducted by Jack Everly with vocalist Tony DeSare (April 29-30, 2023)
A Night at the Oscars, conducted by Lawrence Loh (May 27, 2023)
Morning Coffee Series
Poetry in Music, conducted by Stuart Malina (Oct. 27)
Arabian Fantasy, conducted by Stuart Malina (Nov. 17)
Best of Ballet, conducted by Chelsea Gallo (Dec. 15)
Let’s Dance, conducted by Stuart Malina (Jan. 12, 2023)
German Romanticism, conducted by Chelsea Gallo (Feb. 1-2, 2023)
Divine Inspiration, conducted by Stuart Malina (March 15-16, 2023)
Spring in Paris, conducted by Sameer Patel (April 12-13, 2023)
Making Waves, conducted by Stuart Malina (April 26-27, 2023)
The Power of Music, conducted by Stuart Malina (May 10-11, 2023)