The Omaha Symphony served up a musical feast Friday night. The main course, which occupied the second half of the program, was Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique,” a meal in itself. Epic, radical and inspired at the time of its composition, it is no less thrilling today, and the Omaha Symphony gave a remarkable reading of this almost hourlong piece.
It was the classiest circus performance I’ve ever seen.
Cirque Musica, a group that mixes acrobatics, magic and other acts with classical repertoire, brought its “Crescendo” program to the Holland Center on Saturday night to perform with the Omaha Symphony. The result was an evening of stirring orchestral favorites paired with the gutsy moves of 10 talented, athletic performers.
All Susanna Perry Gilmore lacked was a veil to complete her musical depiction of the enticing, sweetly pleading heroine of Arabia’s “thousand and one nights.”
The Omaha Symphony’s final 2015-16 weekend is all about “program music” — the art of telling stories and painting scenes through aural media. Brilliant solos by the symphony’s principals permeated Friday night’s opener, as they will again in today’s 7:30 p.m. season finale.
Zap! Pow! Bam! Saturday night, the Omaha Symphony delivered a thrilling night of musical derring-do with Superheroes!, an evening featuring music from films and television shows featuring Batman, Superman and Spider-Man.
Twenty-five years ago next month, Whitney Houston canceled her first appearance at Omaha’s Civic Auditorium since 1987. She never made it back.
But last night, in the person of her former backup singer Amanda Cole, the Omaha Symphony audience experienced the reflected musical light of Houston’s once white-hot shooting star.
The talent and vocal accomplishments of the Oak Ridge Boys are beyond question. And in the best moments of Saturday night’s weekend opener with the Omaha Symphony, their loving audience could aurally bask in their full harmonic glory.
Matt Catingub’s annual spell of Omaha musical magic had a Latin sparkle — and he conjured it for Omaha’s orchestra first.
In his previous guest-conductor visits, Catingub energized the Omaha Symphony and excited audiences by drawing from a deep catalogue of rock and pop arrangements. Saturday night, however, marked the premiere of Catingub’s new “Latin Pop Revolution” show tracing south-of-the-border influences on big-band jazz, 1960s and ’70s rock and the dance tunes of more recent decades.
It’s hard to go wrong with a show featuring 20 selections from stellar songwriters George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Jerome Kern.
Throw in four Broadway singers with opera-quality voices, an orchestra that was in fine form and innovative staging that told a story with each song, and success is almost guaranteed.
No matter what type of music they come to hear, concertgoers expect to leave with some sense of completion.
That isn’t at all the theme of this weekend’s Omaha Symphony MasterWorks program, which presents the great “unfinished” 19th-century symphonies of Franz Schubert (1822) and Anton Bruckner (1896).
It’s a happy sign of modern times, not to mention this musical weekend in Omaha, that a highly accomplished concertmaster such as Susanna Perry Gilmore proudly calls herself a fiddler as well as a violinist.
“Celtic Journey,” debuted by the Omaha Symphony to frequent ovations Saturday night, will take its place as one of the most ebullient programs in the orchestra’s Holland Performing Arts Center decade.
The mysterious contrasts of Russia and its music — sometimes bright, often brooding, usually brash, always big — made for a truly compelling fourth annual Omaha Symphony winter festival.
Strong crowds greeted Music Director Thomas Wilkins, his finely honed ensemble and their intriguing guest soloists on both Friday and Saturday nights, reiterating Omahans’ enthusiasm for the showcase weekend of the annual MasterWorks series.
With a show title like “Keyboard Kings,” one might have expected the Omaha Symphony’s Saturday night tribute to four 1970s keyboard-vocalists to feature piano playing that, in Billy Joel’s words, “sounds like a carnival.”