May: A Month of Incomparable Breadth
The month of May brought to citizens of the Delaware Valley a microcosm of what The Philadelphia Orchestra does on a broad basis throughout the entire year. Beginning with concerts that showcased music from the Baroque era led by early-music specialist Nicholas McGegan and moving on to standards of the repertoire with Yannick and pianist Hélène Grimaud, the subscription season concluded with symphonically staged performances of Puccini’s opera Tosca, with a cast of world-renowned opera stars.
In the midst of that, musicians from the Orchestra took part in the third of four Free Neighborhood Chamber Concerts, at Historic Strawberry Mansion, generously supported by the William Penn Foundation (the final free concert will be July 21 at Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown). The month closed out with Yannick and the musicians taking their artistry to Europe and Israel, with a variety of works by Brahms, Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Wayne Oquin, and Strauss. Such a diverse offering of performances speaks to the talent and virtuosity of the musicians—truly world class.
Read some reviews:
Beautiful Baroque: “The Respighi suite exuded much of that far-too-often-underrated composer’s irresistible charm. … The Stravinsky was quite sufficiently entertaining. … But it was the Rossini piece that … came closest in my judgment to pure fun in the rousing performance that McGegan drew from the marvelous Philadelphia Orchestra.”—Seen and Heard International
Yannick and Hélène: “If it’s possible to speak volumes in a single note, Grimaud did so in the movement’s final seconds, first by delaying the harmonic conclusion and then by coloring the note with a sound distinct from everything else that has come from her coloristic palette. Yes, it was quite a performance.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
Tosca: “It is these moments of sheer musical theatricality which showcase the value of pairing a world-class symphonic orchestra with a timeless operatic classic. … In short, this was a great artistic amalgamation that did not disappoint.”—OperaWire