Sommerfest 2015 will offer a taste of Cuba

ows_14256064098117[1]The Minnesota Orchestra will see some immediate benefit from its May tour of Cuba. The orchestra on Friday announced a Sommerfest lineup that includes pianist Nachito Herrera and the Coro Entrevoces, a 23-voice choir that is called “the pride of their homeland.”

The “Celebrate Cuba!” program will be July 5 at Orchestra Hall. The orchestra kicks off the annual summer music festival with four free community concerts: June 29 at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, July 1 at Hilde Performance Center in Plymouth, July 2 in Winona, and July 6 in Hudson, Wis.

Sarah Hicks, principal conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall, will lead the ensemble in the score of “Singin’ in the Rain” while the 1952 film is shown on a large screen. Two performances are planned, July 9 and 10.

Hicks and violist Sam Bergman will host an “Inside the Classics” program on Rachmaninoff’s symphonic dances on July 11. Rachmaninoff will again be the topic on July 17, sharing the bill with Brahms. Andrew Litton, Sommerfest’s artistic director, will conduct the program, which features pianist Alessio Bax. Litton and Bax return the following night, July 18, for a program of Spanish-themed music, including Ravel’s “Boléro.”

The Temptations, the legendary R&B vocal group, will do one night, July 12. The orchestra does not play during this performance.

Chamber music, a tradition of Sommerfest, will be presented July 19 with Schubert’s Quintet for Piano and Strings and on July 26 with Rossini and Mozart. Both programs feature eight orchestra musicians and guest pianist Susan Billmeyer.

Sommerfest was built on Viennese waltz music and two programs, July 24 and 26, will deliver the goods. Litton will conduct music of Johann Strauss Jr. Also part of the concert are Bizet’s “Carmen Fantasy” and Vaughn Williams’ rarely performed Tuba Concerto.

YouTube sensations Igudesman & Joo (violin and piano respectively) come in July 25 and Litton himself will sit down at the piano for Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F on July 31. Dvorak’s 7th Symphony is also part of the program.

Soprano Kelly Kaduce is featured in the orchestra’s concert performance of “Madame Butterfly” on Aug. 1. Minnesota-raised Kaduce is also scheduled to sing “Rusalka” with the Minnesota Opera in 2016.


By Graydon Royce, Star Tribune
March 6, 2015


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