Chamber Orchestra's fall concert features works by opera composers

The mere mention of "opera" conjures images in many people's minds of the proverbial "fat lady" belting out Italian arias in a robust soprano.

But the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra will delete the vocal from the mix at its concert this afternoon. The performance, under the direction of guest conductor Alison Gaines, will highlight instrumental works of opera composers spanning nearly two centuries and a handful of European countries.

The program will include Puccini's "Crisantemi," Rossini's "Signor Bruschino Overture," Faure's "Pavane," Handel's Entrance of the Queen of Sheba from "Solomon," Verdi's Prelude to Act 3 from "La traviata," Mascagni's Intermezzo from "Cavalleria rusticana" and Benjamin Britten's "Soirees musicales."

"They're not all from an opera, but the people who wrote them are known as opera composers," Gaines said.

"A lot of the music is going to be very familiar to people."

Gaines will give a preconcert lecture about the works on the program at 1:15 p.m. the day of the performance.

The concert also will feature Lithuanian violinist Aleksandr Snytkin, a Kansas University doctoral student, playing Mozart's "Violin Concerto No. 3."

The Lawrence Chamber Orchestra will continue its 31st season with a concert at 2 p.m. today at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H. Tickets, available at the arts center, are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $7 for students and $30 for families (two adults plus students).Prior to the concert, at 1:15 p.m. in the arts center auditorium, guest conductor Alison Gaines will discuss the varied works on the program and her insights into the music.

Snytkin is studying under KU violin professor Ben Sayevich, also a Lithuanian native. Snytkin recently won first prize in the Springfield (Mo.) Symphony concerto competition. Earlier this fall, he performed as a guest artist with the quartet Accorda in Kansas City. He began his musical education at age 7 and ultimately received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Lithuanian Academy of Music, the school with which KU's School of Fine Arts is finalizing a formal exchange program.

Gaines is the assistant conductor of the Kansas University Symphony Orchestra and is beginning her third year as music director of the Benedictine/Atchison Community Orchestra. She recently was appointed music director of the Philharmonia Orchestra (north of Kansas City.)

Gaines, herself a musician, was principal bassist of the Tulsa Philharmonic and has performed with the New York String Ensemble, Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony and the Spoleto (Italy) Opera Festival. She also has played with the Lawrence Chamber Orchestra.

"The good thing about being a guest conductor and not music director is that you do jump into the musical part right away and give them a chance to get used to you," she said of her conducting work with the Lawrence orchestra. "But as far as administration and logistics, you don't have to worry about that."


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