LSM Newswire

Monday, September 21, 2009

Portland Symphony Orchestra Opens 85th Anniversary Season with Heroes and the American Dream, October 6

PORTLAND, Maine – For the opening of the Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO)'s 85th anniversary season, PSO Music Director Robert Moody leads the orchestra along with actors from Portland Stage Company in a program titled "Heroes and the American Dream" on Tuesday, October 6 at Merrill Auditorium.

The concert opens with Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica" (Italian for "heroic"), originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte but retitled after the former revolutionary, so admired by Beethoven, had himself declared emperor. The symphony itself is the true revolutionary, more structurally complex and sophisticated than any that had come before, and known for its display of a great range of emotion.

The second half of the program features the Maine premiere of Ellis Island: The Dream of America, by composer Peter Boyer. Innovative in its format, the work brings elements of the theatre and multimedia into the concert hall, employing seven actors from Portland Stage Company and projected historical images from the Ellis Island archives. The spoken texts for the work come from the Ellis Island Oral History Project, an historic collection of interviews with immigrants about their experiences coming to America. Boyer fashioned short monologues from the actual words of these immigrants, and wove them into an orchestral tapestry which frames and comments on their stories—by turns poignant, humorous, moving, and inspiring. The work concludes with a reading of the Emma Lazarus poem "The New Colossus" ("Give me your tired, your poor…"), providing an emotionally powerful ending to this celebration of our nation of immigrants.

Sponsored by Gorham Savings Bank, "Heroes and the American Dream" will take place at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, at 7:30 PM. Tickets range from $20-$70 and are available through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or Phone and internet orders are subject to $6-per-ticket handling fees. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle St., Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 PM.

A Concert Conversation with Robert Moody and composer Peter Boyer precedes the performance at 6:15 PM and the concert will be followed by a PostConcert Q&A with the artists. A live recorded broadcast of the concert can be heard on Maine Public Broadcasting Network on Wednesday, October 21, 2009.

Audience members are also invited to attend Afterglow, a new afterparty at Restaurant Grace immediately following all Tuesday Classical performances. Patrons can mingle with the artists while supporting the PSO, as Restaurant Grace will donate a portion of the evening's proceeds to the PSO.

Students in grades 5 and up are invited to attend the open dress rehearsal on Monday, October 5 at 7:30 PM. Dress rehearsals are free, but space is limited and reservations are required. Email or call (207) 773-6128 ext. 308 for more information.

The PSO's 2009-10 season is sponsored by IDEXX Laboratories. For complete season information, including artist biographies; program notes; and Online Insights, provided with support from season Enrichment Sponsor Fairpoint Communications; visit



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