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An ambitious Saint-Saëns recording project, a new film series, a centennial salute to Leonard Bernstein and several superstars are among the highlights of the Utah Symphony's 2017-18 season.
The orchestra, led by music director Thierry Fischer, will record all five of Saint-Saëns' symphonies live for release on the Hyperion label. The project marks the first Saint-Saëns symphony cycle to be recorded by an American orchestra. Also included on the recordings will be shorter works such as "Danse macabre" and "Carnival of the Animals."
The season also will include appearances by soprano Renée Fleming (in a season-opening gala that also marks the 40th anniversary of sister company Utah Opera); violinist Hilary Hahn and pianist Stephen Hough, each appearing in Abravanel Hall for the first time since 2012; and Broadway heavyweights Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Pianist Conrad Tao, a frequent guest of the Utah Symphony, will be artist-in-residence, soloing on two separate programs. Works marking the Bernstein centennial include his Symphony No. 2 ("Age of Anxiety") and "Chichester Psalms"; the latter is one of the major choral works featured on the upcoming season, along with Mozart's great C Minor Mass and Stravinsky's "Symphony of Psalms."
Members of the Utah Symphony also will be featured prominently on a handful of concerts, led by concertmaster Madeline Adkins' performance of the Korngold Violin Concerto on the season finale.
Inspired by audience response to screenings of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" with live orchestra accompaniment over the recent winter holidays, the orchestra has added a Films in Concert series of four disparate films, including "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and a classic Western to be announced. The second Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," is also in the lineup.
Here is the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera 2017-18 season. Orchestra concerts are in Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, and operas are in the Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. except as noted.
Sept. 8-9, 7 p.m. • Films in Concert. "Raiders of the Lost Ark"; score by John Williams.
Sept. 13 • Special Event: An Evening with Renée Fleming.
Sept. 15-16 • Masterworks. Mozart, Overture to "Don Giovanni"; Beethoven, Violin Concerto; R. Strauss, "Don Juan" and "Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks." Thierry Fischer, conductor; Augustin Hadelich, violin.
Sept. 22-23 • Masterworks. Berlioz, "Roman Carnival Overture"; Saint-Saëns, Symphony No. 2; Dvorák, Cello Concerto. Thierry Fischer, conductor; Harriet Krijgh, cello.
Sept. 26 • Special Event: "Salute to Youth." Conductor and young soloists TBA.
Oct. 7-15 • Opera. Puccini, "La bohème." Robert Tweten, conductor; Kathleen Clawson, director.
Oct. 20-21 • Masterworks. Brahms, Selections from "Hungarian Dances"; Schoenberg, Violin Concerto; Beethoven, Symphony No. 5. Thierry Fischer, conductor; Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin.
Oct. 24, 7 p.m. • Films in Concert. "The Nightmare Before Christmas"; score by Danny Elfman.
Oct. 27-28 • Entertainment. "Broadway Divas." Jack Everly, conductor; Christina Bianco, Mandy Gonzalez, N'Kenge and Kristen Plumley, vocalists.
Nov. 3-4 • Masterworks. Ravel, "Ma mère l'oye (Mother Goose)"; Saint-Saëns, Introduction and Rondo capriccioso; Ravel, "Tzigane"; Rachmaninoff, Symphonic Dances. Matthias Pintscher, conductor; William Hagen, violin.
Nov. 10-11 • Masterworks. Brahms, "Four Preludes and Serious Songs"; Mozart, Mass in C Minor ("The Great"). Markus Stenz, conductor; Celena Shafer and Sarah Shafer, sopranos; Thomas Cooley, tenor; Patrick Carfizzi, bass-baritone; Utah Symphony Chorus and University of Utah choirs (Barlow Bradford, chorus master).
Nov. 17-18 • Masterworks. Rossini, Overture to "The Barber of Seville"; Rachmaninoff, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; Elgar, Symphony No. 1. Mark Wigglesworth, conductor; Jon Kimura Parker, piano.
Nov. 24-25 • Special Event: "Messiah" Sing-In."
Dec. 1-2 • Masterworks. Saint-Saëns, "Bacchanale" from "Samson et Dalila," Trois tableaux symphoniques d'apres "La Foi," Symphony No. 3 ("Organ"). Thierry Fischer, conductor; organist TBA.
Dec. 8-9 • Masterworks. Saint-Saëns, Symphony in F Major ("Urbs Roma"), Piano Concerto No. 2, "Carnival of the Animals." Thierry Fischer, conductor; Louis Lortie, piano.
Dec. 12 • Special Event: Celtic Woman with the Utah Symphony.
Dec. 15-16 • Entertainment. Holiday Pops with Brian Stokes Mitchell.
Dec. 16, 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. • Family. "Here Comes Santa Claus!"
Dec. 21-23, 7 p.m. • Films in Concert. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"; score by John Williams.
Jan. 5-6 • Masterworks. Haydn, Symphony No. 8 ("Le soir"); Dvorák, Selections from "Slavonic Dances" and Violin Concerto. Thierry Fischer, conductor; Hilary Hahn, violin.
Jan. 12-13 • Masterworks. Stravinsky, "Funeral Song" and "The Firebird"; Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto No. 1. Thierry Fischer, conductor; Stephen Hough, piano.
Jan. 21-29 • Opera. Jake Heggie, "Moby-Dick." Joseph Mechavich, conductor; Kristine McIntyre, director.
Feb. 2-3 • Masterworks. Joseph Martin Kraus, Overture to "Olympie"; Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 9 ("Jeunehomme") and "Eine kleine Nachtmusik"; Haydn, Symphony No. 99. Bernard Labadie, conductor; Ronald Brautigam, piano.
Feb. 9-10 • Entertainment. "Dancing and Romancing." Conductor TBA.
Feb. 17 • Films in Concert. Classic Western TBA.
Feb. 23-24 • Masterworks. Saint-Saëns, "Danse macabre" and Symphony No. 1; Bernstein, Symphony No. 2 ("Age of Anxiety"). Thierry Fischer, conductor; Conrad Tao, piano.
March 2-3 • Masterworks. Saint-Saëns, Symphony in A Major; Bernstein, "Chichester Psalms" and Divertimento for Orchestra; Stravinsky, "Symphony of Psalms." Thierry Fischer, conductor; boy soprano from Madeleine Choir School TBA; Utah Symphony Chorus and University of Utah choirs (Barlow Bradford, chorus master).
March 10-18 • Opera. Leoncavallo, "I Pagliacci," and Puccini, "Gianni Schicchi." Joseph Colaneri, conductor; Tara Faircloth, director.
March 17, 11 a.m. • Family. "Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham." Kimberly Schroeder, actor and soprano; Sara Valentine, actor; conductor TBA.
March 23-24 • Entertainment. Audra McDonald, vocalist; conductor TBA.
April 6-7 • Masterworks. Franck, "Le chasseur maudit (The Accursed Huntsman)"; Prokofiev, Piano Concerto No. 2; Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 2 ("Little Russian"). Karina Canellakis, conductor; Conrad Tao, piano.
April 13-14 • Entertainment. "Elvis: The King's Songbook."
April 14, 11 a.m. • Family. Enchantment Theatre Company presents "The Firebird."
April 20-21 • Masterworks. Nielsen, "Helios" Overture; Grieg, Piano Concerto; Sibelius, Symphony No. 2. Kazuki Yamada, conductor; Alexandra Dariescu, piano.
April 27-28 • Masterworks. Shostakovich, Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 and Symphony No. 10. Thierry Fischer, conductor; Boris Giltburg, piano; Travis Peterson, trumpet.
May 4-5 • Masterworks. R. Strauss, Serenade for Winds, "Don Quixote" and "Also sprach Zarathustra." Thierry Fischer, conductor; Rainer Eudeikis, cello (Don Quixote); Brant Bayless, viola (Sancho Panza).
May 12-20 • Opera. J. Strauss II, "Die Fledermaus." Gary Thor Wedow, conductor; Kyle Lang, director.
May 22 • Special Event: All-Star Evening. Conductor and young soloist TBA.
May 25-26 • Masterworks. Tristan Murail, "Reflections/Reflets III" (U.S. premiere); Korngold, Violin Concerto; Rachmaninoff, Symphony No. 2. Thierry Fischer, conductor; Madeline Adkins, violin.
For season ticket information, visit www.utahsymphony.org .