The Fresno State Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert titled “Romantic Obsession” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, in the Concert Hall at Fresno State. The concert will feature Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony and selections from Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin.” Dr. Thomas Loewenheim will conduct the Orchestra.
Rachmaninoff was only 22 years old when he composed his First Symphony, and was already one of the most respected musicians in Russia. Three years earlier he had been graduated from the Moscow Conservatory with a gold medal in composition.
Although not well received in its first performance, when Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony was performed in 1945 in Moscow, for the first time since its premiere in 1897, it was a grand success, which this led to a new and more enthusiastic evaluation of Rachmaninoff’s music.
The opera “Eugene Onegin,” composed by P.I. Tchaikowsky to a poem by Alexander Pushkin was first performed in Moscow in 1879 and is a timeless masterpiece about unrequited love. Onegin rejects youthful, naive Tatiana at the start of the opera and then, in turn is rejected by her at the end.
Combining some of the most beautiful music ever written, poignant story and intriguing, complex characters — Onegin is the most popular Russian opera of all time.
Soprano Dr. Maria Briggs (assistant professor of voice, Fresno State) will portray Tatiana in a powerful “letter scene” and final duet with Onegin, sung by international guest artist baritone Krassen Karagiozov, who premiered the role of Onegin for San Jose opera company in 2008. Karagiozov will also sing Onegin’s famous rejection aria from Act 1. Fresno State choir, conducted by Dr. Cari Earnhart will perform the opera choruses.