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Valentine’s Day: “If music be the food of love, play on!”

February 13, 2015

Who are we to argue with the Bard? Especially when the players are those hopeless romantics, The Philadelphia Orchestra; the conductor is Stéphane Denève, a Frenchman (and therefore an expert in romance); the musical selections are heart-warming; they’re accompanied by members of the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre acting out some of Shakespeare’s most famous musings on love … and, it’s Valentine’s Day!

 

 Stéphane Denève (Photo by Uwe Ditz)

This is Denève’s first stint on the podium since being named principal guest conductor, and he’s leading a truly wonderful program, including selections from William Walton’s score for the Laurence Olivier film of As You Like It and Berlioz’s take on Beatrice and Benedict, those two quarrelling lovers from Much Ado About Nothing. We must warn you there’s some heartbreak mixed in with the evening’s romance; they don’t call Romeo and Juliet star-crossed lovers for nothing, and Tchaikovsky is a master at wringing out all the pathos in that story.

 

 The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre

But don’t worry, we’ll conclude on a happy note, with Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and its famous Wedding March. What’s that Will? “All’s Well that End’s Well.” Indeed!