Nashville Symphony presents Carmina Burana

Carmina Burina (photo by Karyn Photography)

Enjoy the spectacle of the season and experience Carmina Burana as never before in this multimedia sensation. Carmina Burana features updated choreography from the Nashville Ballet and an original film that will bring this bawdy medieval text vividly to life. With its epic score for full orchestra, adult chorus and children’s chorus, Carmina Burana is a feast for the senses, and this is your chance to witness the debut of the Nashville Ballet and Nashville Symphony’s exciting new production.

Friday, May 31 through Monday, June 3, the Nashville Symphony will present an innovative new multimedia production of Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s scenic cantata based on the medieval collection of poems. The Symphony has partnered with Nashville Ballet and filmmaker Duncan Copp to create a completely re-imagined approach to this staple of 20th century repertoire, with all-new choreography created by the Ballet’s Paul Vasterling and a stunning original film by Copp.

The result will be an epic musical and visual experience at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, with the orchestra performing on the floor of Laura Turner Concert Hall in a retrofitted “orchestra pit,” choral ensembles placed in strategic locations around the concert hall, and Nashville Ballet dancers onstage while Copp’s film is screened in HD above the stage.

“There are few pieces I look forward to conducting more than Carmina Burana, which features some of the most memorable moments in the classical repertoire and explores themes that are as relevant today as when it was written centuries ago,” says Giancarlo Guerrero, Nashville Symphony Music Director. “The Nashville Symphony is all about presenting notable works in an entirely new and fresh way, and we are excited and grateful to bring together Nashville’s cultural community for what promises to be one of the highlights of our concert season.”

The concerts will also feature Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Jonathan Leshnoff’s Symphony No. 4 (“Heichalos”), both of which were performed by the orchestra during the historic Violins of Hope concerts at the Schermerhorn in 2018.

The performances are at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1; at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 2; and at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 3, 2019. The final performance of Carmina Burana on June 3 will coincide with the League of American Orchestras’ 2019 national conference, hosted by the Nashville Symphony, which will give orchestra professionals from across the country an opportunity to witness Nashville’s talent, creativity and collaborative spirit firsthand.

The performers are Nashville Symphony with Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Nashville Ballet with Paul Vasterling, artistic director; Duncan Copp, film producer and director; Nashville Symphony Chorus with Tucker Biddlecombe, chorus director; Blair Children’s Chorus with Mary Biddlecombe, artistic director; Valentina Farcas, soprano; John Logan Wood, tenor; and Stephen Powell, baritone.

The program consists of Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman by Joan Tower; Symphony No. 4 “Heichalos” by Jonathan Leshnoff; Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber; and, of course, Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. The full Latin title of the piece is Carmina Burana: Cantiones profanae cantoribus et choris cantandae comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis (“Songs of Beuern: Secular songs for singers and choruses to be sung together with instruments and magical images”). The piece is divided into three sections – Springtime, In the Tavern and The Court of Love – and the first and last movements are both an invocation to Fortune (“Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi” or “Fortune, Empress of the World”) that each begin with the widely recognizable passage “O Fortuna.”