What do you get when “Mozart Meets Hemingway and Siudy Flamenco?”
The answer, promises South Florida Symphony artistic director Sebrina María Alfonso, is an imaginative and memorable program of music that will be performed in Key West, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
The Symphony, celebrating its 20th anniversary season, opens its Masterworks Series Dec. 16 – 19 with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Haffner” Symphony, cellist Zuill Bailey in the Florida premiere of Michael Daugherty’s “Tales of Hemingway” and Manuel de Falla’s “El amor brujo” accompanied by the acclaimed Siudy Flamenco Dance Co.
Mozart originally composed his beloved Symphony No. 35 in 1782 as a hastily-written serenade for the ennoblement of a prominent Salzburg merchant, Sigmund Haffner. He incorporated themes from his popular comic opera, “The Abduction from the Seraglio,” and later added wind parts and revised the movements to complete the symphony.
Michael Daugherty’s “Tales of Hemingway” is a concerto for cello and orchestra composed in 2015 and premiered by Zuill Bailey, a frequent soloist with the South Florida Symphony. Hemingway’s writing inspired the four movements: “Big Two-Hearted River,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “The Old Man and the Sea” and “The Sun Also Rises.”
Donald Rosenberg of Gramophone magazine wrote of the premiere: “Daugherty sends the cello soaring and singing with the orchestra as he summons key moments in the Hemingway books. The solo writing calls for an artist of eloquent persuasion, and Zuill Bailey more than meets the score’s demands with playing that combines fervor and poetry.”
Earlier this year, Bailey won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. In addition, the inaugural recording also was honored with Grammys for Best Classical Contemporary Composition and Best Classical Compendium.
Symphony president Jacqueline Lorber said, “Zuill has always been a favorite of our audiences and we’re absolutely thrilled to have him back to perform this important new work.”
Internationally-acclaimed flamenco dancer and choreographer Siudy Garrido and her company take the stage with the symphony to perform Spanish composer Manuel de Falla’s fiery suite, “El amor brujo” (“Love, the Magician”). Movements include the celebrated “Danza ritual del fuego” (“Fire Dance Ritual”), “Cancion del fuego fatuo” (“Song of the Will-o-the Wisp”) and “Danza del terror” (“Dance of Terror”).
To lend the story flamenco flair, 2011 Drama Desk nominee Garrido added a prologue with principal characters introduced by dancers and a new sung character, a witch-like shaman, performed by two-time Latin Grammy-nominee Argentina. Tony Award-winner George Akram will also be featured.
“This is a great opportunity to embrace Falla’s initial vision to bring dancers and musicians together,” Garrido said.
The South Florida Symphony, under the direction of Maestra Sebrina María Alfonso, will perform “Mozart Meets Hemingway and Siudy Flamenco” on Saturday, Dec. 16 at Key West High School in Key West; Sunday, Dec. 17 at the Arsht Center in Miami; and Tuesday, Dec. 19 at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale. For tickets and more information, go to SouthFloridaSymphony.org.