Virginia orchestra returning with classical favorites

Published 9:47 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The good news is that the Virginia Symphony Orchestra returns to play for the Franklin-Southampton Concert Association this Saturday, March 3. The better news is that guest conductor Adam Turner has selected a variety of well-known classical pieces from the likes of Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bernstein and Gershwin. The best news is that singing will be included as well, featuring three operatic talents performing selections from “Carmen” by Bizet, “The Magic Flute” by Mozart” and “Samson and Delilah” by Saint-Saens. The bad news? There won’t be any fat ladies wearing horns and breast plates while they sing. Not this time, anyway. Sorry.

The concert is being presented for free — yes, free — through the seemingly never-ending generosity of the Camp Foundation, and the music begins playing at 7:30 p.m. As always, this show will be in the auditorium of Southampton High School in Courtland.

Maestro Turner is in his fourth season as principal conductor and artistic advisor at Virginia Opera. During regular appearances with the VSO and the Richmond Symphony, Turner conducted Young People’s Concerts and additional outreach activities. His leadership of Virginia Opera’s annual “Opera in the Park” series, featuring both of the aforementioned orchestras in their respective communities, reaches nearly 10,000 attendees across Virginia with a program of opera and popular hits, ensuring the next generation of prospective opera lovers, and bridging the gap between popular and classical music genres.

• Baritone Andrew Paulson will perform the “Toreador Song” from “Carmen” (You’ll know it when you hear it.) His recent career highlights include Paul Jobs in the world premiere workshop of “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” with Santa Fe Opera, Jim Crowley in “An American Dream” with Opera Maine. Role highlights include Figaro (“Il barbiere di Siviglia,”) Marcello (“La Bohéme,”) Giorgio Germont (“La traviata,”) Enrico (“Lucia di Lammermoor,”) Papageno (“Die Zauberflöte”) and Mercutio (“Roméo et Juliette.”)

• Mezzo-soprano Melisa Bonetti will sing “Seguidilla,” also from “Carmen.” Her 2018 season kicked off with her Richmond Symphony debut, including selections from Mahler’s “Des Knaben Wunderhorn.”  She then continued her Virginia Opera residency, covering the role of Hermia in Britten’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” She will perform Alisa in their upcoming production of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.” Melisa takes on her first Russian opera this year as Martha in Iolanta with the Queen City Opera. Previous engagements include productions with Wolf Trap Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Kentucky Opera, Dayton Opera, Cincinnati Opera, the Lexington Philharmonic, and the Queens Symphony Orchestra.

Soprano Teresa Castillo is scheduled to sing “Der Holle Rache” from “The Magic Flute.” Castillo was a recent participant at San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Opera Program and sang the role of #1 in Conrad Susa’s “Transformations.” This spring, she will make her Carnegie Hall debut appearing with the New England Symphonic Ensemble performing a brand new work entitled Reflections on a Mexican Garden, which was written for her by composer Kevin Padworski. Other recent performances include Yum-Yum in “The Mikado” with Loveland Opera Theatre.

On the concert stage, Ms. Castillo has performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Brahm’s “Ein deutsches Requiem“ and the world premiere Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory’s Convergence with the Boulder Symphony, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Arapahoe Philharmonic.