After last weekend's Minnesota Orchestra adventure with Strauss' epic Alpine Symphony, this weekend's concerts linger in the Austrian mountain town of Portschach, where Brahms spent the summer of 1877. Beside a lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains, he wrote a letter to a friend, describing the scene: "So many melodies fly about that one must be careful not to step on them." Fortunately, he captured several of them and fashioned them into his Second Symphony, which the Minnesota Orchestra plays this weekend. Catch the live broadcast Friday night on Classical MPR.
If you're catching the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony this weekend, bring a towel. A beach towel, actually. Their program, "The Sea," offers Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture (featuring, as Mendelssohn insisted, enough "train oil, seagulls and salted cod") plus Britten's moody and frightening Four Sea Interludes, and Debussy's La Mer.
And if you can't wait til this summer for John Kimura-Parker to start his tenure leading the Minnesota Orchestra Sommerfest, then catch him Friday night at Luther College in Decorah, as he plays the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Des Moines Symphony. Dvorak's Eighth Symphony too, as a nod to the Czech master's time in nearby Spillville, Iowa.
Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale is one of his more challenging plays to pull off, for its wrenching shifts in tone, from pathological jealousy, to pastoral bliss. I finally got to Ten Thousand Things production last weekend, and it's a stunner. Stephen Epp is by turns absolutely terrifying and hilarious, and Sha Cage leaves you with a halo of forgiveness and compassion two things in short supply these days. Just note that the performances are in short supply too: this weekend in St Paul, then next weekend in Red Wing. Run Don't Walk.
Re: the power of theater. Fleabag, the TV show on Amazon Prime, started life as a live stage show at London's National Theatre. That production gets an encore screening in select cinemas this weekend, and later in November. You can find out why Fleabag dominated the Emmy Awards this year, with its creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge winning Emmys for writing, acting, and developing the comedy.
As for Sunday, the Vikings can wait. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street by watching all the great classical music segments. It's an impressive list, including:
- Yo-Yo Ma and the Honkers
- Yo-Yo Ma and Hoots the Owl
- Wynton Marsalis and Hoots the Owl
- Renee Fleming counts to 5
- Gustavo Dudamel and the Orchestra of Monsters
- Lang Lang and the Grouch Symphony
- James Galway's ABC's with Big Bird
- Itzhak Perlman on Easy and Hard
- Itzhak Perlman and Telly Monster
- Joshua Bell and Telly Monster
- Evelyn Glennie on the Garbage Cans
- Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and the lost baseball
- Seiji Ozawa's Pretty Great Performances
- Alan Gilbert at Lincoln Center
- Denyce Graves sings Elmo's Lullaby
- Isabel Leonard sings Rossini
- And who knew? Aida loves cookies, especially when she's Marilyn Horne!