Growing up in Buffalo as a college student means there are very few options for Thursday night. Thirsty thursday can take place at the frat houses, “The U”, or other various bars, but it can get old… How about living a little more of a cultured life style? Take the money you may or may not ordinarily spend on beer (wine, piña coladas, whatever) and splurge on a Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra ticket. You won’t regret it.
Last thursday, BPO enchanted my ears with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s overture Romeo and Juliet. I also saw a few stars from Deleware in the Park reenact the main scenes of the play. It took place at Kleinhan’s Music Hall, but really pulled the audience into Verona, Italy, the setting of Romeo and Juliet. The show was a great excuse to get dressed up and listen/watch something magical that has been around since Shakespeare wrote the play in 1597. I was so thrilled to be watching Shakespeare that I incorporated it into my essay for a Lit and Law class, contrasting the themes of the play with another one of his work’s, Merchant in Venice.
It was an educational night, but also quite exciting. I learned that originally the Russian Composer, Sergei Prokoriev intended to allow his music to create a happy ending for Romeo and Juliet. This was due to added pressure by the Communists of Russia, that felt the ending was not acceptable to Soviet Sensors. Thankfully, he did not change his mind and ended the play with the dramatic deaths of Romeo and Juliet.. Boy, that would change the story line as we know it!
The music performed by BPO emphasized intense battle scenes and suspenseful moments in the plot. To call the music melodious, does it no justice. The harp’s elegance was my personal favorite. The clarinets added a mysterious and whimsical element.. but really don’t try to have me describe it. Go witness it first hand at their next show -or their “Joy of Music and Wine Festival” on November 21st. I know I want to go!
I had the opportunity to speak with one of the men that played the steel drums in the orchestra, Matt. He was in charge of keeping the beat, a HUGE role if you really think about it. Due to my limited ability to even read music (back from the days when I was 8 and played piano), I have no right to judge his ability, but I would say he did a phenomenal job. Matt did not just wake up one day and think “hmmm, I’ll be a timpist”. He went to school in Cleveland and got his BM and MM. He tried out multiple times for BPO, and didn’t make the cut. The standards, even with over 15 years of experience, are very high. He is thrilled to be apart of the famous group now, along with 60-70 others.
It was great to attend an event in Buffalo that wasn’t just about fashion. It was quite relaxing, and a very personalized experience. It also happened to be Buffalo State Music Night, I was amazed at how many professors were members of BPO! Their music really told a story, and I am so glad that I had the chance to witness it.
“Never was there a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”