Review by DON FOWLER Masked patrons lined up in front of Veterans Memorial Auditorium displaying their tickets and vaccination cards to attend the opening of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra's 2021-22 season. "I am about to take up residence in
Masked patrons lined up in front of Veterans Memorial Auditorium displaying their tickets and vaccination cards to attend the opening of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2021-22 season.
“I am about to take up residence in Rhode Island for the first time with a new lease on life,” cancer survivor Bramwell Tovey told the audience before raising his baton to lead them and the orchestra in the traditional opening night rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Conductor Tovey looked particularly chipper as he complemented the Philharmonic staff and volunteers for continuing to function and perform during the pandemic (“We won’t use that word on stage ever again”).
While it was not a capacity audience, it was the largest gathering in over two years to witness a classical concert. The RIPO was the first classical audience to resume live concerts earlier this year with smaller ensembles.
Saturday night’s concert was aptly named “The Music Returns,” with fellow Canadian and mezzo-soprano Susan Platts joining Tovey and the orchestra in a stirring rendition of Mahler’s enchanting “Ruckert-Lieder.”
Tovey usually gives his audiences a brief taste of something new and different. This time it was a piece by native Rhode Islander Jessie Montgomery titled “Banner,” which picks up where she left off with “Anthem,” a piece commissioned by the Providence String Quartet and Community MusicWorks to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The evening was highlighted by a rousing rendition of Brahms Symphony No.4, which had us all on our feet for our wonderful orchestra and conductor.
The orchestra deserves our full support and a sell-out crowd for its second concert of the season on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. at Vets.
Violinist Jennifer Frautschi, a two-time Grammy nominee, will perform Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, op 47, D minor, with the audience. Also on the program is Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 (“Pathetique”).
To open the concert, Tovey will introduce us to Joan Tower’s “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman,” inspired by Copland’s “Fanfare for the Uncommon Man.” Tower dedicates it to “women who take risks and who are adventurous.”
Should be interesting!
Tickets are available by calling 248-7000 or online at riphil.org.