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Carlos Kalmar Leads the BSO in Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, May 23-25

April 26, 2013

Carlos Kalmar leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) in selections of Prokofiev's passionate Romeo and Juliet on Thursday, May 23 and Friday, May 24 at 8 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Saturday, May 25 at 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. The program also features Narong Prangcharoen's Phenomenon and Saint-Saëns' Piano Concerto No. 3 performed by pianist Jean-Philippe Collard.

The most famous love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet, was written over four-hundred years ago, yet its heartrending passion lives on in the countless operas, ballets, poems and other works of art it has inspired. One of the most celebrated and accomplished interpretations of Shakespeare's classic tale is Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet. Prokofiev, deeply moved by the tragic narrative of these two star-crossed lovers and eager to honor Russia's tradition of full-length story ballets, quickly composed Romeo and Juliet in the summer and fall of 1935. The piece was commissioned by Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet, however the company eventually cut the production, first disagreeing with Prokofiev's decision to close the performance with a happy ending and then rejecting the work as "undanceable." Yet Prokofiev was not deterred and in 1936 he composed two concert suites, which showcased the brilliance of his ballet and led to its first successful performance in 1940 by Leningrad's Kirov Ballet.

Today, Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet is one of the most recognized ballets in the world, but its musical score also stands as an incredible contribution to the concert repertory.

Also on the program is Saint-Saëns' Third Piano Concerto, performed by pianist Jean-Philippe Collard, who is noted for his interpretations of Saint-Saëns in particular. The rarely-performed Third Piano Concerto is a spectacular virtuosic showpiece, and was premiered with the composer himself at the piano in 1869. Collard's 1999 recording on EMI Classics of all five of Saint-Saëns' piano concerti with Andre Previn and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is highly acclaimed.

The performance also features leading Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen's Phenomenon, which premiered in Tokyo in 2004. Phenomenon, one of Prangcharoen's most widely performed pieces, brims with energy and draws its inspiration from the power of nature and unexplainable natural phenomena. In particular, Phenomenon transports audiences to Northeast Thailand where the music unravels the mystery behind the Naga Fireballs.

Read more about Carlos Kalmar Leads the BSO in Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, May 23-25 by baltimore.broadwayworld.com