These BNY Mellon Grand Classics concerts are part of the orchestra’s Music for the Spirit series

 PITTSBURGH — Opera and theater director Sam Helfrich joins Music Director Manfred Honeck, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh for the third in a series of collaborations bringing to life great musical masterpieces through a provocative and modern-day lens.  Following staged interpretations of Handel’s Messiah, and Bach’s St. John Passion, Helfrich returns this season to illuminate the “six most famous days in all of history” with a theatrical/symphonic presentation of Haydn’s beloved The Creation, December 1 & 3, 2017 at Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts. Tickets and information can be found online at pittsburghsymphony.org, or by calling (412) 392-4900.

Presented in three acts, Helfrich’s Creation offers a unique twist on the biblical “Creation Story.” The first two acts take place in a schoolroom, where the teacher, Uriel (tenor Werner Gura), begins a lesson about creation, based on Christian religious imagery. Then the students Gabriel (soprano Rachele Gilmore) and Raphael (bass Alexander Elliott) present visual reports on their understanding of creation. Act III is a story about first love. Raphael and Gabriel, now teenagers, sit shyly, getting to know each other, as if at a high school dance. As Uriel, still the teacher, observes from a distance, we are finally led to understand that this is the lesson about creation that he’s been teaching us all along: a celebration of life and love given to us from above.

Throughout the performance, the Heinz Hall stage will be illuminated with video and visual imagery designed by cinematographer Greg Emetaz. Audiences can expect to see abstract photography, scenes of nature and industry, and film footage that reference and enhance the music.

*  *  *

On November 27, 2017 at 8:00 p.m., PSO Music Director Manfred Honeck and Director Sam Helfrich will explore the creative intersection of music, art, and spoken word in PSO @ City of Asylum: “Reimagining Creation,” at Alphabet City (40 W. North Ave) on Pittsburgh’s Northside. Tickets are free, but reservations are required.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in partnership with the City of Asylum, has created a series of five events in the 2017-18 season that will employ and reflect the expertise and experiences of the artists of these two innovative groups. Themes and content have been jointly created to incorporate composers, musicians, poets, writers, and artists from Pittsburgh and around the globe. Each session ties into a theme on a Pittsburgh Symphony BNY Mellon Grand Classical performance and attendees will receive discounts to these concerts.

*  *  *

The Pittsburgh Symphony would like to recognize and thank BNY Mellon for its 2017-2018 title sponsorship of BNY Mellon Grand Classics.  Fairmont Pittsburgh is the official hotel of the Pittsburgh Symphony.  Delta Air Lines is the official airline of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

*  *  *

The PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, known for its artistic excellence for more than 120 years, is credited with a rich history of the world’s finest conductors and musicians, and a strong commitment to the Pittsburgh region and its citizens. Past music directors have included Fritz Reiner (1938-1948), William Steinberg (1952-1976), Andre Previn (1976-1984), Lorin Maazel (1984-1996) and Mariss Jansons (1995-2004).  This tradition of outstanding international music directors was furthered in fall 2008, when Austrian conductor Manfred Honeck became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. The orchestra has been at the forefront of championing new American works, and gave the first performance of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” in 1944 and John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine in 1986. The Pittsburgh Symphony has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and radio concerts. Its “Pittsburgh Live!” series with Reference Recordings has resulted in back-to-back Grammy Awards in 2015 and 2016. As early as 1936, the Pittsburgh Symphony broadcast on the airwaves coast-to-coast and in the late 1970s it made the ground breaking PBS series “Previn and the Pittsburgh.” The orchestra has received increased national attention since 1982 through network radio broadcasts on Public Radio International, produced by Classical WQED-FM 89.3, made possible by the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. With a long and distinguished history of touring both domestically and overseas since 1900 — including international tours to Europe, the Far East and South America—the Pittsburgh Symphony continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest orchestras.

 HEINZ HALL FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS is owned and operated by Pittsburgh Symphony, Inc., a non-profit organization, and is the year-round home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The cornerstone of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, Heinz Hall hosts many events that do not feature its world-renowned Orchestra including Broadway shows, popular touring artists, comedians, speakers and much more. For a full calendar of upcoming non-symphony events at the hall, visit heinzhall.org.

Leave a comment

Receive news