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Jimi James and Julie Diniz. Courtesy photos.




Experience “A Night at the Opera”

Where: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester
When: Saturday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: 668-5588, nhphilharmonic.org




Opera night
NH Philharmonic partners with Opera NH

05/21/15
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



When constructing a concert season, New Hampshire Philharmonic artistic director Mark Latham tries to create programming conveying the idea that classical symphonic music is “still relevant to masses of people and still speaks to the ordinary person.”

He does this in many ways. One is by partnering with local arts organizations and schools. This fall, the Phil collaborated with theatre KAPOW, who performed theater snippets alongside the orchestra’s “Shakespeare Lives” concert. In March, local school children created art inspired by the organization’s annual “Drawn to the Music” event, which was projected overhead while musicians played. And this Saturday, May 23, it collaborates with Opera New Hampshire in presenting “A Night at the Opera” at the Palace Theatre.
Latham said via phone that the Phil presented a similar program years and years ago. It was a big hit, and he thinks it will be even more so today.
“My understanding is that this will be a big hit all around because opera is really popular these days,” Latham said. “I think it’s maybe the one form of classical music that’s still managing to increase its audiences. It’s been helpful that other opera houses have been screening Met live broadcasts. [Opera] has become a more accessible and a great medium all around.”
The concert comprises all the world’s most well-known opera music, from Carmen (orchestral suite and arias) and The Marriage of Figaro (overture and arias) to Don Giovanni (overture and arias) and Tosca (arias), La Forza del Destino (overture) and Porgy and Bess (duet). Represented artists include Bizet, Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Rossini and Gershwin.
Latham worked with the orchestra’s vocal accompaniment — professional opera singers Jimi James and Julie Diniz, who are traveling from New York to perform here — to produce an engaging program accessible even to the most amateur of opera audiences. Only the best, most expressive pieces made the cut.
“We’re indulging ourselves and taking icing from various opera cakes, you might say,” Latham said. “I think most people will recognize most of the arias. It’s sort of the Top 10 from the aria repertoire.”
Opera music, Latham said, is naturally exciting and dramatic, similar to that music he chose during January’s “A Night at the Oscars” concert. Before each song they sing, James and Diniz will provide a bit of context to set the scene.
“Opera music has a story behind it. The music is trying to depict a character or a part of a storyline,” Latham said. “At the end of Act II in Tosca, for instance, the heroine stabs a tyrannical guy who’s trying to force himself on her, and of course, the music that surrounds her is incredibly intense. … That’s what’s really fun about opera. In a way, you’re not searching for the emotional content. It’s there on the platter, and you just have to render it faithfully according to the composer’s wishes.”
Latham was also excited to partner with Opera New Hampshire because the Phil’s new executive director, Faith Wilson, is also Opera New Hampshire’s executive director. He hopes to continue to collaborate with the organization, and in the future, maybe produce a semi-staged concert version of an opera. 
 
As seen in the May 21, 2015 issue of the Hippo.





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