JoAnn Falletta and Milwaukee Symphony tell quite a story

JoAnn Falletta
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Stories don’t always needs words to reach an audience.

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra delivered an evening of engrossing musical tales Friday evening, led by JoAnn Falletta, the orchestra’s former associate conductor (1985-'88).

Falletta conducted a colorful program built around Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” inspired by the collection of tales known as the “One Thousand and One Nights,” or “The Arabian Nights.”

The evening opened with John Corigliano’s “Phantasmagoria on ‘The Ghosts of Versailles.’” The piece is the composer’s orchestral distillation of his wildly imaginative opera about jack-of many-trades Pierre Beaumarchais and several of the characters on which he built his opera librettos, all come to life and returned to the past with the intent of saving Marie Antoinette.

Cellist Zuill Bailey joined the MSO for a performance of the Saint-Saens Concerto No. 1 in A minor. The concerto was the one piece on the program not based on stories, but one would never have known that from Bailey’s animated, audience-connected performance.

The cellist, broad-shouldered and long-armed, enveloped the instrument as he played. He gave a lyrical, engrossing performance that was full of expressive drama, as well as a few moments of theatrical sweep.
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