BY HUGH KRUZEL
If you think symphony is for stuffed shirts, you might want to reconsider your viewpoint. The Sudbury Symphony’s 2014/15 season is rolling over Beethoven and featuring music from Swinging Sixties, Star Wars and a 1980 musical. (Ludwig makes makes a comeback at the the March 7 concert.)
Love the crooners of the 1960s? Then sit back and listen to the lush words and music from the era of Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra (Oct. 18) as sung by guest performer Michael Vanhevel. Yes, this too is “classical” music. You’ill want to take to the aisles and kick up your heels. It is also a performance of contrasts. While Vanhevel is in his 20s, legendary 93-year-old Howard Cable will conduct the orchestra this first performance of the season. Cable was the executive director of entertainment at Expo 67 and has worked with Robert Goulet, Peggy Lee, and Ella Fitzgerald.
A full house is expected for the SSO’s Film and Music Series presentation Nov. 8 in Collège Boreal’s Concert Hall. This special 7 pm exclusive gathering includes a screening of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The tickets are $40 for this chance to listen to music, watch the film and take part in a discussion about how the 1920s shaped the arts and our world.
The SSO holiday program is set for Nov. 29 with a special family Classic Cheer matinee at 2 pm. Theatre Cambrian actors and singers will join the SSO to help put everyone in the spirit of the season.
Another playful twist with collaboration brings a concert performance of Les Misérables by YES Theatre for a three night run (Dec. 17-19) backed by the full orchestra.
Appropriately close to Valentine’s Day, take your heart and soul to French Romance (Feb. 7) and be swept up into the emotions. Conductor Victor Sawa will intoxicate you with clouds of sweet sound and transport you up to the climax with Stravinsky’s Firebird.
“The Firebird Suite is truly one of the most spectacular masterpieces ever written. I am sure it will be the biggest orchestral sound that Sudbury has heard in a very long time. The roof of Glad Tidings should be shaking by the end of it… live music at its absolute best,” says concert master Christian Robinson.
Explosive is the only way to describe Musical Fireworks (March 7), where the feature piece is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. Da da Da DA! We all know and love the opening and barn-burning volume and passion of this piece.
“Season 2014-15 is perhaps one of the most ambitious yet,” says Robinson. He will be commemorating his 10th year with the SSO with his performance of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major.
Let’s not forget Prairie Pops Spectacular April 18 featuring singer-songwriter Jeff Straker. The Saskatchewan folk artist has performed previously with the Saskatchewan Symphony, which is also conducted by Sawa.
Are you a fan of science fiction? Then you will want to attend the Out of this World concert May 9 which will feature the theme music from 2001: A Space Odyssey (composed by Richard Strauss in 1896), a compilation of Star Trek themes and selections from The Planets by Gustav Holst including Jupiter and Venus, and my favourite, Mars! Not to be missed is the suite from Star Wars by composer John Williams. Will Han Solo and Princess Leia be in the audience? Maybe not, but you can. For this performance, the symphony will be conducted by Marc David, music director and principle conductor of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.
Nick Ross, personnel manager and violinist with the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, is enthusiastic that its 39th season offers something for everyone. And Lee Anne Desrocher, SSO office manager, says she is “looking forward to meeting many more new patrons this year.”
If you are under 30, jump for joy as the SSO Amped Up program continues this season. This will not only get special discounts but sometimes the best seats in the house. Underwritten by Vale, these tickets are a great date night out.
Reach the SSO office for subscriptions, single tickets, or special event purchases at 705.673.1280, or visit www.sudburysymphony.com for a complete list of dates and content.