The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, conducted by Lorenzo Muti and joined by guest artist Andrea Moore presented an outstanding concert at the Carolina Theater. Programmed as “Fairy Tales from Old Bohemia” the orchestra, augmented by brass, harp and extra percussion featured two of the tone poems of Dvorák sandwiching a set of three arias from Smetana, Tchaikovsky and Dvorák.
Maestro Muti introduced the first work on the program by relating the rather brutal fairy tale of “The Water Goblin” (Dvorak’s Op. 107). Briefly, a young woman is abducted by the water goblin, bears him a child and is allowed to return home for 24 hours. When she does not return he casts her dead child on her doorstep. Dvorák, using one basic Czech melody, creates multitudes of moods and emotions by Wagnerian orchestration. The melody is altered through tempo changes, a variety of instrumental combinations and harmonic techniques to tell the story in dramatic musical language. The orchestra displayed obvious pleasure and technical skill in their performance.
The guest soloist, soprano Andrea Moore, recently returned from a season with the Hamburg Chamber Opera where she performed in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld. She is a member of the voice faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill and is heard often on Triangle concert and opera stages. In introducing the program, Muti informed the audience that she had awaken with laryngitis. With the capable treatment of her MD father she was well enough to perform though she feared she might not be in top form. There was no need to fear. Her first selection “Oh, how much suffering!” from Smetana’s The Bartered Bride revealed a voice velvety smooth in quality and clear and clean as the recent fall air in the Triangle.
Next on the program was Tchaikovsky’s awesomely dramatic aria from The Queen of Spades, “It will soon be Midnight,” giving the orchestra a magnificent score to perform and Moore the opportunity to display the power and control of her vocal talent.
After intermission we heard one of the most poignant arias in the opera repertoire – “Song to the Moon” from Dvorák’s Rusalka. It was pure magic. The soaring strings, woodwinds and harp along with the somber brass melded with Moore’s expressive and shimmering voice, and a rapturous pleasure to hear.
The closing Dvorák tone poem was "The Golden Spinning Wheel," Op. 109. Muti told the story, more complex, and perhaps even more brutal than the first one. Of special note in this performance was the solo work of the principals in the orchestra. The musicianship and skills in The Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle make their concerts a joy to hear. I don’t always prefer programmatic music, but this concert was especially captivating and gratifying. It should not go without mention that Muti’s long tenure with the orchestra has created a productive bond and a worthy treasure for the Triangle and beyond.