With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the Louisville Orchestra presents an opportunity to celebrate the occasion one week early in a concert with an incredibly romantic back-story. On Saturday, February 7, at 8pm Maestro Jorge Mester will lead the Louisville Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor in the Grawmeyer Award winning composition, Neruda Songs at the Kentucky Center’s Whitney Hall. Single tickets range from $25 - $50 and can be purchased by calling 502.584.7777 or by visiting LouisvilleOrchestra.org.
The story behind the heartbreakingly romantic Neruda Songs is particularly poignant. In 1997, composer Peter Lieberson met the alluring mezzo-soprano, Lorraine Hunt. The two fell in love and soon thereafter married. In an airport bookstore, Peter found a collection of love poems by Chilean author Pablo Neruda (1904–73), which he presented to Lorraine as a gift. In an expression of his devotion to his wife, he later chose to set five of these poems to music, which he wrote for his wife to sing. Lieberson wrote, “Each of the five poems that I set to music seemed to me to reflect a different face in love’s mirror.” Ms. Lieberson gave the premiere of Neruda Songs on May 20, 2005, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. By this time, she was gravely ill with terminal cancer, and the disease claimed her life in July 2006. (As an extension of this story, Mr. Lieberson, himself, was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2006 and has subsequently undergone extensive treatment). Peter Lieberson won the 2008 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition from the University of Louisville for this most personal work. This will be the Louisville Orchestra’s first performance of the piece.
Mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor will be joining the Orchestra for the performance of Lieberson’s Neruda Songs. This Grammy®-Award winning artist has had numerous world-premieres, including Steven Stucky’s August 4, 1964. Ms. O’Connor also premiered Neruda Songs with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Bernard Haitink and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich under David Zinman.
In concert with Neruda Songs will be Maurice Ravel’s Ma Mère l’Oye (“Mother Goose”) Suite and Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5 in D Major, Op. 107 (“Reformation”).
For more information on this program or the guest artists, or to purchase tickets visit LouisvilleOrchestra.org.