South Florida Symphony Orchestra‘s twenty-fifth anniversary season resumes in the new year with Masterworks II, featuring Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9, the world premiere of Ocklawaha by composer-in-residence John Gottsch, and a selection of opera arias from Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Verdi, and Agustín Lara. Led by Music Director Sebrina María Alfonso with guest soloists Catalina Cuervo and Gerardo Ortega, the Masterworks programs are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the following dates: January 24 at New World Center in Miami Beach; January 25 at The Parker in Fort Lauderdale; and January 26 at Tennessee Williams Theatre at The College of the Florida Keys in Key West.
“This rich and varied program aims to take our audiences on a musical journey,” said Alfonso. “Shostakovich opposed a totalitarian regime in his time delivering a neo-classical work that was considered more of a rebuke than a celebration of ultimate strength and power. His Ninth Symphony certainly resonates with what is presently happening in Ukraine, today. And, in Gottsch’s latest, he similarly reflects on the plight and culture of Native Americans. Finally, who can resist the sheer power of some of the world’s most beloved arias?”
Originally intended to be to a grandiose piece that would glorify Stalin’s regime and Russian victory over the Nazis in 1945, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 rendered a more complex, thoughtful, and sometimes carefree composition. The composer was known for his resistance to Soviet rule and his subversion tactics often promising to compose the piece the regime wanted while actually giving it something else.
Composer-in-residence Gottsch will present the world premiere of Ocklawaha. The Ocklawaha is a river that originates in the lakes of central Florida and flows north through some of the most mysterious and breathtakingly beautiful parts of the state. As a young boy, the composer traveled the Ocklawaha with his father, learning the history of the river and surrounding lakes. The musical narrative brings the storied struggles of Florida’s Native American ancestors through thoughtfully arranged orchestral movements to life.
Masterworks II will also feature a selection of opera arias performed by soprano Catalina Cuervo and tenor Gerardo Ortega, including Giacomo Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro,” “Un Bel Dì, Vedremo,” and “O Soave Fanciulla”; Agustín Lara’s “Granada”‘ and Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Donna è Mobile” and “Brindisi” (The Drinking Song from La Traviata).
Tickets for the Masterworks II program start at $15 for The Parker and $25 for New World Center and Tennessee Williams Theatre at The College of the Florida Keys. Tickets may be purchased here or by calling (954) 522-8445.
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