by Chris Clonts
The Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra will perform Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Sheherazade” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (April 24) at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, where the show can be seen in person. It will also be streamed online.
“Sheherazade,” composed in 1888 and adapted into a ballet in Paris in 1910, was inspired by “One Thousand and One Nights,” the collection of folk tales from the Islamic Golden Ages, and is being performed for the first time by the KSO. The complex piece sparkles with vivid orchestral color, exotic harmonies and gorgeous melodies.
“We are thrilled to present one of the most technically challenging works in the orchestral canon,” said Joel Neves, the orchestra’s music director. “It’s really a soloist’s paradise, featuring major solos for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, cello and — uniquely — second trombone.” Neves said the most important individual contribution is the recurring violin solo that will be performed by concertmaster Brian Wall. “It represents the mysterious Princess Sheherazade,” he said.
The story, as originally described by Rimsky-Korsakov, is the tale of the Sultan Schariar, who decides to put each of his wives to death in the belief that “women are false and faithless.” Sheherazade, though, prevents her own death by entertaining the sultan with tales for the 1,001 nights in the original collection’s title. Many may best know the composer for “Flight of the Bumblebee,” an interlude from his opera “Tale of the Tsar Saltan.”
The performance will be streamed live. Limited socially distanced seats will be available for students and the general public. Patrons will be required to wear a face mask and fill out a symptom monitoring form in order to attend. A ticket form can be filled out for the Michigan Tech Ticket Office.
Due to pandemic restrictions, the ticket office will first take ticket requests and then will contact audience members with more instructions on seat placement and payment.
Founded in 1971, the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra is the Upper Peninsula’s oldest orchestra and one of five symphony orchestras in the Lake Superior region. The KSO is a college-and-community ensemble composed of Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff, and community musicians.