Conductors got their name by both guiding orchestras and wielding copper batons that deflect lightning away from the brass section. Behold an electrifying performance with this GrouponLive deal to see the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. Choose between the following options:
- For $20, you get two general-admission tickets to your choice of one 2012–13 season performances at the Carolina Theatre in October, January, February, March, or May (up to a $40 value).
- For $100, you get two season tickets for general admission to all six 2012–13 performances at the Carolina Theatre (up to a $200 value).
Kids and students of all grade levels get in free.
“A Master Revisited” on Sunday, October 21, at 3 p.m.
Two orchestra veterans and the section principals take the lead in an evening of classical formalism and jazz-influenced modernism. Christopher Ulffers plays the titular instrument of Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerto in A Minor, then flutist Allison Dimsdale leads in John Rutter’s Suite Antique, composed in the 1970s but with Bachesque instrumentation and style. The piece begins to take on a distinctly contemporary flavor in later movements, as the flute swings like Dean Martin’s yo-yo over an orchestral waltz. The curtain-closer is the ominous Death and the Maiden string quartet, arranged by Gustav Mahler and written by Franz Schubert as the latter’s health was failing. Weeping violins reach heartbreaking heights while the portentous lower register plays the role of the Reaper.
“Musical Fairytales” on Sunday, November 11, at 3 p.m. or Monday, November 12, at 7 p.m. (both at the Hayti Heritage Center)
Voices at two ends of the classical-music spectrum meet in a pair of November performances. Coloratura soprano Louise Toppin—more typically found on stage at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center—leads a group of East Durham schoolchildren assembled by KidZNotes in “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” An appropriately youth-focused program precedes the anthem. Ravel’s “Ma Mère L'oye” retells in music the magical tales of Mother Goose, and “Songs of the Auvergne” turns to the folk traditions of France, with pastoral lyrics sung in the Occitan language. Gabriel Fauré wrote the “Dolly Suite” for one specific child: the young daughter of his mistress. Affectionate and highly personal, the warmly rippling piano pieces soothe the child in her cradle or evoke the private jokes of family life.
“Hidden Jewels” on Sunday, January 13, at 3 p.m.
Guest artist Mimi Stillman takes the flute in this light and airy evening, with a set list favoring the kind of fast-paced and playful pieces that have become her specialty. An opening to the composer’s acclaimed opera, C.M. von Weber’s Oberon Overture is surging, acrobatic, and appropriately fairylike. In Mercadante’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra no. 1 in E Minor, Stillman’s trills rise like incense smoke over a softly murmuring orchestra. Doppler’s Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise continues in this mysterious vein, from its minor-key intro to its coyly exuberant climax. Hayden’s Symphony no. 101 in D, The Clock, opens on a warm, organic note despite its name but begins to take on mechanical qualities in the second movement, and by the fourth, all the musicians are cyborgs.
“Musical Landscapes” on Sunday, February 17, at 3 p.m.
Offenbach’s Barcarolle, from his opera The Tales of Hoffman, kicks off a journey through three fantastical settings. Adapted from the fantastical memoirs of E.T.A. Hoffmann, the work seduces the ear as the protagonist is seduced by a courtesan who means to obstruct his poetic destiny. Respighi’s Fontane di Roma was secretly inspired by the fountains of Rome, and the four movements evoke the stately majesty of sculpted stone and the burbling life of the water. In Rossini and Respighi’s La Boutique Fantasque, venturesome brass and strings recreate a toyshop full of enchanted dancing dolls who come alive at night.
“The Human and the Spiritual” on Sunday, March 10, at 3 p.m.
With a guest appearance by the Concert Singers of Cary, this concert combines the avant garde and the strictly traditional, the mundane and the transcendent. Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge stretches the definition of the word opera, unfolding between David (baritone), Geraldine (soprano), Bill (tenor), and Sally (contralto), two married couples simply playing their weekly game. The orchestra accompanies as each sings out his or her move and soloes an inner monologue. As emotions soar and thoughts stray from the game, Barber’s work revels in the dark complexities of being human. Schubert’s Mass no. 5 in A Flat provides a more traditional counterbalance, in which the singers lift up their angelic voices in contemplation of the divine.
“A European Tour” on Sunday, May 19, at 3 p.m.
Tenth-grade wunderkind George Li joins the orchestra on a musical journey. With performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Philharmonic, and the Xiamen Philharmonic under his belt, the 17-year-old pianist was recently awarded a four-year scholarship to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. This whirlwind tour kicks off with Six Swedish Dances by Max Bruch, then hops down to Germany for Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto no. 1 in G. A challenging piece that calls for mature emotional depth as well as extremely agile fingers and toes, the concerto demonstrates the vast potential of this still-learning star. Finally, Prokofiev’s Symphony no. 7 in E flat extends an invitation to the ornate arts of Russia in an powerful instrumental epic.
Though Carolina Theatre features a discounted price for seniors, this Groupon still offers the best deal available for all adult customers.
The Carolina Theatre of Durham
One of the few original theaters in Durham to remain in operation, The Carolina Theatre has endured more than 85 years of history in its quest to entertain. The venue's main room, Fletcher Hall, rose in popularity during World War II, when soldiers from Camp Butner arrived by bus to watch films on its colossal screen. In the last three decades, ongoing renovations have restored the venue to its original glory while propelling it into contemporary times with the addition of modern accoutrements, including two upstairs movie screens, stage-level dressing rooms, and landing pads on the roof for skateboard hovercrafts.