The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of music director and conductor Mary Woodmansee Green, will celebrate Valentine's Day with "Bernstein to Bolèro ... Fated Loves" at 8 p.m. Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 at First Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head Island.
Musical settings of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers for the Broadway stage and the Bolshoi Theatre open this romantic program. Alexander Borodin's Russian "Polovtsian Dances" and Maurice Ravel's "Bolèro" will conclude the musical valentine.
The concerts will open with a medley from Leonard Bernstein's 1957 musical, "West Side Story." This program includes the best known songs from the show.
Serge Prokofiev's completed his first ballet, "Romeo and Juliet," in 1936, but it was not performed. The composer then fashioned two orchestral suites from the music. The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra's program features selections from both suites, which contain major scenes from Shakespeare's immortal play. They include the "Montagues and the Capulets," depicting the intense rivalry between the two families, and the climactic and dramatic "Death of Tybalt," describing the fight between the Montague Romeo and the Capulet Tybalt.
As part of the 19th-century group of composers known as the "mighty handful," Borodin was interested in creating music that was inherently Russian. In 1869, he began to write an opera based on the legendary 1185 defeat of Prince Igor of Novgorad by the nomadic Polovtsky, a Central Asian tribe. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin completed the opera after his death in 1887. Today the only parts of the opera frequently performed are the overture and the "Polovtsian Dances," which occur when Prince Igor has been captured by the Polovtsy chief Khan Kolchak and the two rulers are entertained in a series of dance episodes.
"Bolèro," Ravel's brilliant study based on the Spanish dance form first was performed in 1928 at the Paris Opera. It immediately became one of his most popular orchestral works, and by 1931 it had been recorded four times, including one conducted by Ravel himself. It frequently has been used in television and movies, in particular the 1934 Carole Lombard-George Raft film of the same name and, memorably, in the more recent "10."