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When: Sun., June 6, 7:30 p.m. 2010
Price: $10-$65
Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra is conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. Ludwig van Beethoven’s compact

Symphony No. 8 forms the centerpiece of a deeply satisfying orchestral program that also includes Mozart’s Symphony No. 35 along with Wagner’s exquisite and tender symphonic poem Siegfried Idyll. Ben Roe, former NPR music director and current producer of SCETV / WDAV radio program Spoleto Today, will offer a pre-performance talk at 6:15 p.m. in the Exhibition Hall of the Gaillard Auditorium. Presented by Spoleto Festival USA. Approximately one hour 30 minutes.

Spoleto's musical backbone
Many Spoleto-goers are totally unaware that, year after year, the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra probably contains more raw talent than many of the finest major-metro ensembles. These gifted young players are the orchestral superstars of tomorrow. Maestro Emmanuel Villaume, Spoleto's director for opera and orchestra, calls them "my orchestra of virtuosos." Their playing crackles with youthful energy, while delivering the most sumptuous sound imaginable. They provide glittering instrumental support for the festival's operas, choral concerts, and the Intermezzi and Music in Time series.

From big band to outer space
The first concert will offer the juiciest big-band music, beginning with Maurice Ravel's luxuriously edgy La Valse (the Waltz). The big work will be Richard Strauss's grand orchestral epic, Also Sprach Zarathustra (thus spake Zarathustra), with its near-seismic opening passage made famous by the classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Lighter fare comes in the second concert
The headline composer is Beethoven, from whom we'll hear the tense and dramatic Coriolan Overture — plus his Symphony No. 8, an underrated masterpiece from his later years that reveals a distinct comic streak from a composer we think of as a crusty old curmudgeon. Mozart's rousing Haffner Symphony (No. 35) and Wagner's exquisitely tender Siegfried Idyll round out the program. No matter what they're playing, you can expect exciting orchestral performances.

— Lindsay Koob



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