RSO’s Classics Series continues with ‘Tragic Desire’ Feb. 1

Staff Report

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra’s (RSO) 2013/14 season continues at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford. The concert is the fourth in this season’s ComEd Classics Series.

As part of the RSO’s season of “Music that Ignites Your Passion,” the February concert is titled “Tragic Desire.” The stage is set by Brahms’ somber and majestic Tragic Overture. Hector Berlioz’s epic opera/oratorio, “The Damnation of Faust,” yields up three orchestral gems demonstrating his mastery of orchestration and storytelling.

Lord Byron’s dramatic poem “Manfred,” possibly inspired by the Faust legend, tells the story of a man tortured by the death of his beloved who seeks relief through the supernatural world. Robert Schumann wrote his version of “Manfred,” even as he sunk into the depths of insanity, tormented by inner voices and hallucinations.

In the 1930s, the young Dmitri Shostakovich was the most celebrated composer of the new Soviet Union — until his new opera displeased Joseph Stalin. Faced with the choice of artistic capitulation or death in the Gulags, Shostakovich responded by creating one of the most powerful and moving artistic statements in history, his Symphony No. 5. Even though he called it “A Soviet Artist’s Response to Just Criticism,” it was meant to be a defiant cri du coeur, a testament to individual freedom.

Tickets for this concert are available online at or by calling the RSO Box Office at (815) 965-0049. Concert ticket prices range from $20 to $58. Student tickets are $7.

Posted Jan. 29, 2014

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