The Mid-Columbia and Walla Walla symphonies begin their 2012-13 seasons this month, each kicking off a series packed with heroes, love songs and vintage classics like Requiem and Messiah.
The Mid-Columbia Symphony's first concert is Oct. 20 and is titled From Russia With Love, which includes a horn concerto and Suite No. 1 from Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet.
"This first concert is all Russian and very romantic," said maestro Nicholas Wallin. "We are featuring Prokofiev's music from his ballet score to Romeo and Juliet. People might be more familiar with Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet, but we just performed that a couple of years ago. Prokofiev's (version) is very dramatic, rich, lush and emotional."
The season progresses with a concert Jan. 20 dedicated to heroes featuring the music of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 and Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait, which also features a guest narrator.
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"The narration contains several of Lincoln's most famous sayings, including several quotations (he made) about the Civil War," Wallin said.
On March 16, the Young Artists competition winners make their debut with the symphony. This concert features the music of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story and music from Richard Wagner's Tristan and Isolde.
Songs of Love and War is the theme for the May 18 concert, featuring the music of Verdi's La Forza del Destino, the finale of Act I in Puccini's La Boheme, and Haydn's Mass in Time of War.
"We end our season with vocal soloists and the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers in an opera and choral celebration," Wallin said. "Verdi was born in 1813, so his La Forza del Destino overture is another 200th birthday piece. We will add some of Puccini's most famous love music with La Boheme."
"I really couldn't imagine doing a season of music focused on love and war without including that closing scene between Mimi and Rodolfo."
All concerts are at 8 p.m. at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. Also included in a symphony season pass price is its Christmas concert at 3 p.m. Nov. 25.
Season tickets to the Mid-Columbia Symphony are from $110 to $190. Individual tickets to each concert are from $25 to $50. Tickets are available at www.midcolumbiasymphony.org or by calling 943-6602.
The Walla Walla Symphony season begins Oct. 23 in Cordiner Hall on the Whitman College campus with an evening of Beethoven's music, including Emperor Piano Concerto No. 5 and Symphony No. 8. Guest pianist is Mei-Ting Sun.
Handel's Messiah is performed at 3 p.m. Dec. 2. Guest soloists include soprano Molly Holleran, mezzo-soprano Angela Niederloh, tenor Wesley Rogers, baritone Jeremy Irland, organist Kraig Scott and the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers under the musical direction of Justin Raffa.
The music of Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet, Wagner's Prelude, Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet.
On April 23, the Project Trio joins the symphony as guest performers. Music includes Chasing the Sun and Grand Canyon Suite with Project Trio performing Rast and Random Roads Suite.
Verdi's Requiem wraps up the Walla Walla Symphony's 2012-13 season May 14. Guest performers include soprano Janeanne Houston, mezzo-soprano Lucille Beer, tenor Robert McPherson, baritone Richard Zeller and the Walla Walla Choral Society, under the musical direction of Christine Janis.
Special performances by the symphony include the free family concert and foodraiser at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 and The Nutcracker performance at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15.
All symphony performances are in Cordiner Hall on the Whitman College campus in downtown Walla Walla.
Season tickets are from $75 to $125 for adults and from $15 to $70 for students. Individual concert tickets are from $16 to $28 for adults and from $8 to $16 for students. Tickets are available at www.wwsymphony.org or by calling 509-529-8020.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com