This month throughout The Kennedy Center there is programming surrounding the theme of “Unexpected Italy.” The National Symphony Orchestra will feature two programs, the first contained works by Franz Liszt and Gioachino Rossini.
Gianandrea Noseda is an energetic conductor who looks as if he may float away from the earth. His pure joy and vibrancy lift him up. He started the night by speaking of the beauty of Italy and how people often forget to notice it. “Beauty, when shared, is even more beautiful.”
Rossini’s ability to arrange a story in a symphony is expertly displayed.
The first piece they played was Liszt’s ‘Dante’ Symphony. The first movement “Inferno” had moments of frenzy and calm, high and low. The horns and the timpani led the way. It sped on, gradually building. “Purgatorio” featured the University of Maryland Concert Choir and soprano Erika Grimaldi. Grimaldi’s robust and earthy soprano was filled with longing emotion. This movement felt more triumphant yet sleepy. The choir sounded angelic and their voices soared throughout the concert hall.
The second half of the program featured Rossini’s ‘Stabat Mater.’ This lengthy religious piece featured a slightly reduced orchestra and more soloists. Joining Grimaldi was mezzo-soprano Chiara Amarù, tenor Michele Angelini, and bass Marko Mimica. The University of Maryland Concert Choir was also featured. This symphony was delicate and dramatic. Amarù’s voices were grounding and well controlled. Angelini has a gorgeously clear and flowing voice while Mimica’s bass is full and open.
‘Stabat Mater’ starts out with drama and carries that throughout. Moments are full and robust and some moments the orchestra drops out altogether. Rossini’s ability to arrange a story in a symphony is expertly displayed.
This program was a grand example of Italian influence on music, featuring one compose from Italy and another who was not.
Running Time: 2 hours with 1 intermission.
The National Symphony Orchestra performs at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets and more info click here.