Like cheese, classical music is best enjoyed when in string form. Snack on the sounds of cultured compositions with today's GrouponLive deal: for $20, you get one ticket to the Virginia Symphony Orchestra's A Musical Gift: Franz Liszt's 200th at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk on Saturday, October 29, at 8 p.m. (up to an $85 value, depending on seat). Seating will be in the best-available section upon reserving the ticket by phone.
Led by veteran maestro JoAnn Falletta, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra transports audiences to mellifluous heights with expertly interpreted classical standards. A Musical Gift celebrates the 200th birthday of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt with renditions of his Piano Concerto no. 1 and Totentanz, in addition to an amusing birthday card read to him by a medium floating above the stage. Both pieces will be performed with key-fluttering esprit by internationally recognized pianist Fabio Bidini. The four movements of Josef Suk's Fairy Tale also enliven the proceedings with elegant harmonics, and the familiar romantic melodies of Tchaikovsky's Suite from Swan Lake tickle eardrums like a cell phone wrapped in goose feathers.
Inquisitive concertgoers can arrive at Chrysler Hall at 7 p.m. for a free "Behind the Notes" preshow talk led by JoAnn Falletta. During the conversation, the conductor will discuss the artistry of the evening's pieces, the history of the composers, and why reflections always block our entrance into mirror world.
Virginia Symphony Orchestra
Pay enough attention to the career of JoAnn Falletta, and you could easily conclude she's actually twins or triplets. She's the music director of not only the Virginia Symphony Orchestra but the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and serves as principal guest conductor of the Phoenix Symphony, among other institutional ties. (She's also conducted on Grammy-winning recordings for the Naxos label.) Under her baton, the VSO rotates among Norfolk, Newport News, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach with traditional classical programs, pops nights, and shorter family concerts that open with craft activities and an instrument "petting zoo." A "wear-what's-comfortable" dress code and pre-concert Behind the Notes talks ensure a decidedly inviting atmosphere even for symphony newbies.