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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Abundant Opportunities For Prokofiev's 'Romeo And Juliet'

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If you are a fan of ballet, or perhaps a more free-form style of dance, this is a great time to be in San Antonio. Plus, if you are willing to take a road trip to Houston, you will find even more which will appeal.

First things first, and just in time for Valentine's Day, is a set of four performances of Serge Prokofiev's ballet, “Romeo and Juliet,” being danced by the Ballet San Antonio, with the San Antonio Symphony in the pit. These performances, at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, run Friday and Saturday evenings, with matinees on Saturday and Sunday. The choreography is by Ben Stevenson, much beloved in Houston during his quarter century plus as the Artistic Director of the Houston Ballet from 1976-2003. I had the opportunity to see Mr. Stevenson's version a couple of years ago, danced by the Houston Ballet and am looking forward to seeing how our local company does with this distinguished and entertaining telling of Shakespeare's tale of young love.

Sticking with the topic of “Romeo and Juliet” for a few thoughts more, selections from an old direct-to-disc recording of Prokofiev's score, with Erich Leinsdorf and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, will be featured on this week's Classics a la Carte, on KPAC and KTXI. The program airs weekly from 7-9 on Friday evenings. I will chat briefly with saxophonist Harvey Pittel, whose tenor sax work is featured on the Leinsdorf recording and will also be heard in this weekend's San Antonio performances.

Credit Sheffield Records
Sheffield Records recording of Romeo & Juliet with Leinsdorf

If you are interested in becoming even more familiar with Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," the Houston Balletis performing a brand new choreography by their current Artistic Director, Stanton Welch, from February 26-March 8. This should provide an entertaining contrast to Mr. Stevenson's choreography. I'm hoping to get over to Houston for their final performance. Perhaps I will see you along I-10 if you, too, choose to drink it all in. My final endorsement of investing in the trip to Houston is that the Houston Ballet and their orchestra are absolutely top rank. You won't be disappointed!

Finally, if you like a bit more experimentation on your dance card, you may want to check out next week's collaboration between the ever remarkable SoliChamber Ensemble and members of Ballet San Antonio. Their program, Monday evening at 7:30 at the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater at the Tobin, and Tuesday evening at 7:30 at Ruth Taylor on the campus of Trinity University, is built around Richard Strauss' “Metamorphosen.” I am looking forward to this and would recommend it to anyone curious about the vitality of San Antonio's performing arts scene.

James first introduced himself to KPAC listeners at midnight on April 8, 1993, presenting Dvorak's 7th Symphony played by the Cleveland Orchestra. Soon after, he became the regular overnight announcer on KPAC.