Choruses united with MSO for 'Carmina Burana' at The Maryland Theatre
When the Maryland Symphony Orchestra opens its 38th concert season on Oct. 19, there will be many reasons to celebrate.
Not only will it begin the yearlong celebration of Music Director Elizabeth Schulze’s 20th anniversary with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra but it will also be the ensemble’s first performance in the newly renovated Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.
To celebrate, the MSO is mounting a collaborative event by presenting Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m.
“Each program this season has special meaning for me personally, with favorite works and beloved guest artists, all chosen to mark the occasion of my twentieth season with the MSO. My, how time has flown,” Schulze said.
Portions of “Carmina Burana” have been used in countless movies, video games, and television commercials. Its secular texts, based on medieval poems, illustrate such universal topics as fortune and fate, love and desire, and the anticipation and celebration of the return of springtime.
The Maryland Symphony Orchestra will be joined by the nationally acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning Baltimore Choral Arts Society and Frederick Children’s Chorus – nearly 200 performers in all.
“Carmina Burana’ is an auspicious way to begin our season. With 200 performers onstage, spilling into the boxes. Our audience will experience one of the most spectacular and popular works in our repertoire,” Schulze said.
Karena Ingram, audience development manager at Baltimore Choral Arts Society, said the group will have about 94 singers from the Baltimore area performing in the concert.
“We’ve been rehearsing for the performance since Sept. 2, and I think our singers really enjoy the virtuosity and challenges of singing a major work like ‘Carmina Burana.’ And to be able to sing it at the MSO’s grand reopening of The Maryland Theatre is an honor for us all,” Ingram said.
Founded in 1985, the Frederick Children’s Chorus’s mission is to bring children together for the joyful exploration and celebration of singing. The chorus offers an opportunity to all children in the community to learn to sing and become confident in their ability to read musical notation.
“The Frederick Children’s Chorus was with us 15 years ago as well, when we last performed ‘Carmina Burana,’ and they were fantastic. It made perfect sense to invite them back for this spectacular musical reunion,” Schulze said.
Judy DuBose, artistic director and founder of the Frederick Children’s Chorus, said approximately 40 singers, ranging in age from 10-18, will participate. The young singers come from Frederick County and surrounding counties in Maryland, as well as Virginia and West Virginia.
“Each week they have dedicated a portion of the two-hour rehearsal to working on the choruses together. They have been working on the diction which is Medieval Germanic Latin and Medieval German. Since neither of these languages exist today, the students were given a guide, and a recording with the words sung with the correct pronunciation,” Dubose explained. “They have practiced with the recording and music at home, as well. The music is not difficult but because it is sometimes very quick it is necessary to repeat the words at increasingly quicker tempos. They can be tongue twisters.”
She said the chorus shared the stage with the MSO the last time they performed the piece approximately 10 years ago.
“It is a great honor and a unique experience for children to be invited by the Maryland Symphony to perform this piece,” DuBose said. “Several of our high school-aged members remember performing it then.”
DuBose said the composer wrote “Carmina Burana” for a large orchestra, an adult choir, a children’s choir and three soloists, soprano, tenor and baritone.
“Being a part of such a large group of musicians evokes an emotional response that is hard to put into words,” DuBose said.
Soprano Natalie Conte, tenor Christian Figueroa, and baritone Rob McGinness will lend their voices as featured soloists in ‘Carmina Burana”’
“We have three outstanding new soloists for ‘Carmina Burana.’ Soprano Natalie Conte, who will also sing in the first half of the program, tenor, Christian Figueroa and baritone, Rob McGinness. All three are prize-winning singers who have distinguished themselves in the opera house and on the concert stage,” Schulze said.
“Both Beethoven’s ‘Consecration of the House Overture’ and Barber’s ‘Knoxville: Summer of 1915’ were programmed specifically to acknowledge and celebrate the grand opening of The Maryland Theatre’s expansion. Beethoven wrote his overture specifically to celebrate the opening of a new theater during his day. And The Maryland Theatre was built in 1915, the year commemorated by Barber’s nostalgic and evocative musical portrait of days long past.,” Schulze said.
This concert and the entire 2019-20 concert season is presented through the generous support of Antietam Broadband. The MSO is also supported by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.
Tickets for the concert range from $19 to $79 for adults and children.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 301-797-4000 or go online at www.maryland symphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the MSO Box Office at 28 W. Washington St. (2nd floor), Hagerstown.
Top photo: Music Director Elizabeth Schulze is celebrating her 20th season with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra. (Submitted photo)
Other performances scheduled for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra’s 38th concert season:
The American Symphony
Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m.
Home for the Holidays
Dec. 21, 7 p.m. ; and Dec. 22, 3 p.m.
Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m.; and Feb. 9, 3 p.m.
Time for Three
Feb. 29, 7:30 p.m.
Mozart + Mahler
March 14, 7:30 p.m.; and March 15, 3 p.m.
Ports of Call: Journeys and Discoveries
April 4, 7:30 p.m.; and April 5, 3 p.m.
To Whitney, with Love
May 9, 7:30 p.m.