Drawing on a background that includes 27 years as a violinist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, music director Max Hobart leads the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra through carefully curated programs with verve. The Valentine's Love Fest concert stars operatic husband-wife duo Brian Landry and contralto Ana Maria Ugarte as they essay songs from Carmen, Tosca, and Rigoletto, melting hearts and shattering brittle emotion processors with their voices' romantic resonance. The orchestra's musicians enhance the euphony with pieces by Wagner, Saint-Saëns, and Puccini. A preconcert lecture given by Wellesley Symphony Orchestra president Leslie Holmes educates listeners with info about the music and its interpreters.
Kenneth Donald Rogers—an American country-music star, photographer, producer, actor, and fellow with a nice beard—has won three Grammys and more than a dozen American Music Awards for his sweet, stirring crooning. Though he won't be toting his dozens of awards, Mr. Rogers will be bringing an impressive showcase of selections from his extensive collection of country hits. To prep the crowd for the main event, The Herndon Brothers—a local act lead by Ray Herndon, a country star known for livin' the dream—will layer the crowd in hometown vibes from their wide library of inspiring and honest tracks.
Made by the famed Italian Guarneri family of luthiers in 1743, the Bonjour violin comes to life today in the hands of master violinist Vadim Repin. The Russian virtuoso coaxes heart-tugging tones from the gorgeous wooden body of the violin—whose acoustics have blossomed along with its value over the years—as well as the radio receiver inside the instrument. Praised for his "unshakable bravura" by the New York Times' Steve Smith, Repin drives the instrument with a muscular, energetic style.