St. Petersburg Times: Weekend

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Stage: hot ticket

By JOHN FLEMING, Times Performing Arts Critic
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 31, 2002

Young pianist to play with Florida Orchestra

Lang Lang returns for his third appearance with the Florida Orchestra, playing Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, with Jahja Ling on the podium. At 19, the Chinese-born Lang is one of classical music's rising stars. Last year, he made his Carnegie Hall debut -- in the Grieg concerto with the Baltimore Symphony -- to rave reviews. The pianist also put out his first recording, a recital of romantic works on the Telarc label.

The program also includes the premiere of Joseph Landers' Shadow Play, dedicated by the composer to Ling and his tenure with the orchestra. Landers, born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1965, describes the 11-minute work as "music for an imaginary puppet play." The orchestra will perform Sibelius' Symphony No. 1.

Concerts are at 8 tonight at Mahaffey Theater, 8 p.m. Friday at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center and 7:30 p.m. Monday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets: $20-$38. (813) 286-2403 or toll-free 1-800-662-7286.

Ensemble to play Russian program

Violinist Kyoko Takezawa is best known for her definitive recording of Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto, but she's playing Russian music these days on a tour of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The ensemble is playing a program of Prokofiev (Sonata for Two Violins), Arensky (Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor) and Tchaikovsky (Sextet for Strings, Souvenir de Florence).

Two musicians who have recently appeared as soloists with the Florida Orchestra are also in the group: cellist Alisa Weilerstein and violinist Cho-Liang Lin. Other members are Paul Neubauer and Naoko Shimizu, viola; Gary Hoffman, cello; and Jonathan Biss, piano.

They perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets: $25 and $35. (727) 791-7400.

Romance vs. common sense

George Bernard Shaw described Candida variously as his "modern pre-Raphaelite play" (he had just returned from Italy when he began writing it in 1894), or a religious play or "a pleasant play." Structurally, it is the neatest of his plays, exploring the conflict between romance and common sense through the title character's relationship with the young poet Marchbanks and her conventional husband.

Jean McDaniel Lickson plays Candida, with David Davalos, left, as her husband, the Rev. James Morell, and Brian Shea as Marchbanks in director John Basil's production at American Stage. Candida opens Friday and runs through Feb. 24. Tickets: $20-$30. (727) 823-PLAY.

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