Two Classical Gems and a World Premiere from one of Hawai‘i’s Own.
The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra (KPO) will conclude its 2018-2019 Concert Season on Sunday, March 24, 2019, at 4:00 PM at the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea. Ticket info below.
In keeping with the orchestra’s central mission, the concert, “Of History and Nature,” celebrates and supports the timeless beauty of classical music, as well as nurturing the rich cultural and musical traditions of the Hawaiian people. It will feature selections from two operas, Overture to “Nabucco,” by Giuseppe Verdi, and the world premiere of the symphonic suite from “The Battle of Kuamo‘o,” an exciting new Hawaiian opera by KPO principal cellist Herb Mahelona that will be showcased at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland later this year. These inspiring pieces will be complemented by Johannes Brahms’ idyllic, nature-inspired Symphony No. 2, for a fantastic close to a concert season that has taken audiences to wondrous places in their minds and souls.
Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) was known for his soaring melodies, distinctive characters, and a continuous flow of music and action. “Nabucco,” which premiered in 1842, was his first great operatic success. Based on the biblical books of Jeremiah and Daniel, it tells the story of the slavery and eventual exile of the Jews from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. These historical events are used as a background for a romantic and political plot, and the score is full of memorable melodies.
Herb Mahelona, grew up in Honolulu and now living on Hawai‘i Island, is principal cellist of the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra and is the high school choir director at the Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i Campus. “The Battle of Kuamoʻo,” his second Hawaiian-language opera, premiered at Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i (in Keaʻau), as part of their annual all-school Hōʻike, and was first produced in 2014. The symphonic suite from the opera was composed specifically for KPO. Young performers from Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i Campus will join the Orchestra on stage for the final movement of the suite.
“I am excited to be a part of this historic and significant collaboration with the Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra and the Kamehameha Schools Hawaii High School,” said Mahelona. “It will be a cultural first for the orchestra – performing music from a Hawaiian opera, written by a Hawaiian composer, and performed by Hawaiian students, about a pivotal event in Hawaiian history that occurred on this very island back in 1819, exactly 200 years ago!”
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) showed considerable musical talent as a pianist in his teens and became a protégé of Franz Liszt and Robert and Clara Schumann in his early twenties. Despite his famous connections, it was many years before Brahms became established as a composer and it took him nearly twenty years to complete his first symphony. After moving to Vienna in 1872, he completed a series of masterpieces, including his popular Violin Concerto in D. His Symphony No. 2 in D major, which was composed during a visit to the seaside in the Austrian province of Carinthia during the summer of 1877, and premiered in Vienna in December of the same year. Brahms’ second symphony preserved the structural principles of the classical symphony with two lively outer movements and a slow movement followed by a short scherzo in between. It is often described as a “pastoral symphony” with a genial, outgoing character that sometimes invites comparisons to Beethoven’s sixth symphony.
If you go…
Tickets for “Of History and Nature” are $50 / $40 / $30 / $15. They may be purchased online at kamuelaphil.org, or through the Kahilu Theatre Box Office by calling 808.885.6868, or by visiting the Box Office in person at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, Monday–Friday, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Photos: Steve Roby