South Orange Symphony to be joined by CHS Symphonic Choir

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Symphony Orchestra will be joined by the 100-voice Columbia High School Symphonic Choir, directed by Jamie Bunce, on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. at South Orange Middle School, 70 N. Ridgewood Road. The free concert features Haydn’s great oratorio, “The Creation (Part I),” with chorus and soloists; Wagner’s vibrant overture to “The Flying Dutchman”; and Rachmaninov’s mystical tone poem, “Toteninsel.” Susan Haig conducts this free concert, and all South Orange area residents ages 5 and older are welcome.

The South Orange Symphony Orchestra will be joined by the 100-voice Columbia High School Symphonic Choir, directed by Jamie Bunce, on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. at South Orange Middle School, 70 N. Ridgewood Road. The free concert features Haydn’s great oratorio, “The Creation (Part I),” with chorus and soloists; Wagner’s vibrant Overture to “The Flying Dutchman”; and Rachmaninov’s mystical tone poem, “Toteninsel.” Susan Haig conducts this free concert, and all South Orange area residents ages 5 and older are welcome.

Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation” features three outstanding vocal soloists describing the Biblical creation story. The symphony will be joined by bass-baritone Sean Cooper, a resident of South Orange, who performed in the original Broadway casts of “Riverdance” and Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’s “La Boheme.” Tenor Patrick Robertson, featured in last November’s South Orange Symphony concert, returns to sing the aria and dramatic recitatives describing the creation of light, sun and moon. Both Robertson and Meier are pursuing master’s degrees in music and vocal performance, respectively, at Montclair State University.

Richard Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” tells the dramatic tale of a sea captain doomed to roam the seas forever. The famous overture presents the major themes of the opera and introduces the main characters through a series of leitmotifs or musical sketches.

In “Toteninsel,” or “Isle of the Dead,” Sergei Rachmaninoff portrays the mysterious, hypnotic journey by boat to a remote burial island. It opens with the rhythmic sound of oars pulling through the water, and builds through beautiful themes and textures to convey deeply emotional and expressive memories of life. Rachmaninoff was inspired to compose the work after seeing the famous painting by Swiss Symbolist artist Arnold Bocklin. The work is composed in a late Russian Romantic idiom, full of complex harmonies and rich orchestral textures recognized in his famous Symphony No. 2. 

The concert promises to be an entertaining and educational afternoon, with 160 musicians onstage.

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