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Prokofiev in Concert

As intended early on when I moved my blog here to my own site, occasionally I take a little sidestep to promote upcoming projects and concerts. I do want to bring attention to a unique one happening Saturday, June 17, 8PM at Kresge Auditorium on the campus of MIT. The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra will be presenting a semi-staged production of Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet (1935; rev. 1940). Ticket information can be gleaned here.

The four act ballet is one of the composer's greatest masterpieces with gorgeous thematic ideas and often intense and energetic sequences strewn across the tragic Shakespearean tale. The performance will be a chance to hear a majority of the work live in concert with new staging and choreography by former Boston Ballet dancer Gianni Gino Di Marco, who has collaborated in the past with the CSO successfully in other similar programs.

As a performer working through the piece, one is struck by the intricate and intelligent way Prokofiev has orchestrated the music. Often a line will shift between a section, or two instruments, which actually can allow for better rhythmic precision, but requires careful listening to give the effect of a constant longer line across the motivic cells. This is a quite fascinating approach and it becomes imperative that performers listen carefully both within sections and across the ensemble to match rhythms and pitch. Therein also lies the challenge of the music. It requires a virtuoso effort and attention from all quarters of the orchestra with little time to relax.

To say that the orchestra has risen to this challenge would be an understatement. This may be among one of their most challenging programs and is a result of excellent direction and planning by its music director, Cynthia Woods.

It is a privilege to be able to play in a group of such dedicated performers, most are not professional musicians, but you would be hard pressed to know that the ensemble is a blend of various professions coming together to make amazing music happen.

There will be a preview of the concert on WGBH's local talk radio show hour at 1pm Friday, June 16 (rebroadcast that evening). Tune in then, or head to their website to see a preview.

After COVID, which seems so long ago, this makes for a triumphant conclusion to what has been an invigorating concert season.


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