By Livia Peterson
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is always uplifting; however, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, conducted by Francesco Lecce-Chong transported us on an epic and stunning journey. It was a musical event that never held back the emotions.
The first act consisted of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony — The Laboratory, Panic, and Trinity. Each movement prepared us for what to expect in Carmina Burana: the music allows and sometimes, expect us to ponder our existence. The Laboratory movement is akin to giving birth, the Panic movement provides realization, and the Trinity movement is our beliefs and passions all wrapped into one.
The second act comprised of Carmina Burana, the main event. As the English translations are above the orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Choir and Children’s Choir, soprano Sarah Schafer, tenor Derrek Stark, and baritone Hugh Russell enter the stage as each movement progresses. “Fortune, Empress of the World” is a marvelous introduction followed by equally breathtaking “In Springtime”, “On the Green”, “In the Tavern”, “The Court of Love”, and “Blanziflor and Helena”. “The Court of Love” is the personal standout, as it transcends everything that came prior to it. Ms. Schafer should return to Milwaukee in the Florentine Opera because she was extremely underused here.
The classic concerts may not be for everyone, but they demonstrate how exquisite our symphony orchestra is to the highest standard. Lecce-Chong’s passionate direction took the orchestra to the next level, where one could literally feel the music within our veins. Carmina Burana is mystical in its poignant message and beyond.