★★★★★ - Irresistible
The Smith Center audience was treated to a delightful performance called "Symphonic Spectacular" last Saturday night by the Las Vegas Philharmonic, under the guidance of conductor Donato Cabrera.
In our daily lives, we often are surrounded by the music of Rossini, Bizet, Borodin and Strauss, we don`t even think…these are some of the most popular classical composers. Their music is very widely exploited even today. We hear a variety of fragments or whole symphony, skillfully interpreted as music layouts everywhere in the entertainment industry. Who has not heard “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” - one of Strauss's most popular waltzes, traditionally broadcast worldwide by public television and radio stations around the world for the winter holidays and New Year`s Eve? Certainly, the audience would have had a well-established taste on the music which were planned for the evening.
Live concerts have always been unique and unrepeatable events. For musicians it is a great challenge to reinvent and recreate music which has had public attention for hundreds of years.
Mr. Cabrera made very good impression with his skillful approach to the classic music, especially Rossini. "Overture to William Tell" was masterfully executed. Especially the first part of it: in slow tempo and small dynamics their performance was expressive and emotional, with great attention to details. The conductor and his orchestra had strong connection which resulted into a great tempo and dynamic build in the culmination of the piece.
And then there is "Carmen" adding to the experience tragedy, stirring passion, sweet love, and opera (even though there wasn't any singing). As Donato Cabreara commented, “Opera is everywhere and it should be in every form of art," and I agree with him. Euphonious and playful motifs with the spice taste of the orient from the woodwinds and brass section, were so well delivered that they slipped into the blood. The strong, dramatic strings section kept the mind alert in anticipation of denouement.
The orchestra’s performances of the "Bacchanale' from "Samson and Delilah" and Borodin`s "Polovetsian Dance" from "Prince Igor" were impressive. Again, lovely work from the woodwinds and brass, mystery and danger enriched by soft and cozy fragments from the strings. Here, in pieces like these, the conductor`s proficiency and talent were expressed most clearly. Figuratively speaking, there was intensive invisible power coming from his baton, organizing all the instrumental sections, leading one by one of them to peace and nuanced places. Everything was presented in perfect tempo, where the lyrical moments were skillfully developed without interrupting the steady rhythm.
The overall performance was characterized by precise and detailed work, but many times my attention was drawn by the percussion section. Their job is hard, because it takes great attention to be active, while physically doing not so much. In such situations a musician can often make an unprepared entrance. Not the case in this concert. Their entrances were so well timed. The sound of the percussion could be heard just as much as it should, in complete unison with all other instruments. Fine work is often unnoticed because of its delicacy.
Wonderful emotions continued to swirl throughout the concert, and to my surprise, I found myself holding my breath with my heart beating when the musicians began to play the most popular waltz in the world.
The evening also enjoyed a touch of Mr. Cabrera’s sense of humor as he engaged the listeners by sharing fun and exciting facts from the composer`s life- thus making for a spontaneous and unique live, personal experience. Congratulations to Las Vegas Philharmonic on their successful Symphonic Spectacular!
Photo Credit: Jerry Metellus