Stage: Hot Ticket
By JOHN FLEMING
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 26, 2001
Perhaps no work embodies the Mahler mystique quite so much as his Symphony No. 7, performed this weekend by Jahja Ling and the Florida Orchestra. Sprawling over five movements -- with both the second and fourth movements titled Nachtmusik -- it may be the composer's most problematic symphony.
Certainly, the interpretations on disc have varied widely. Take the recent rerelease of a 1969 live broadcast performance by Jascha Horenstein and the New Philharmonia Orchestra in London's Royal Albert Hall. For many, this is indispensable Mahler, reflecting Horenstein's stylistic lineage. He was strongly influenced by Wilhelm Furtwangler, Bruno Walter and Felix Weingartner, all conductors with ties to Mahler.
But not everyone thinks so highly of Horenstein's approach, which is, at just under 74 minutes, among the fastest on disc. "This vile Mahler Seventh . . . has been masquerading as a 'legendary classic' long enough; it's irredeemable awfulness should be obvious to anyone," David Hurwitz said in reviewing it for the online Classics Today (classicstoday.com).
Leonard Bernstein's 1965 recording with the New York Philharmonic is probably the benchmark Mahler Seven. Michael Tilson Thomas' two-CD recording with the London Symphony Orchestra is also widely admired.
Ling offers his Mahler Seven, played without intermission, at 8 p.m. Friday in Morsani Hall of Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 8 p.m. Saturday at Mahaffey Theater and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets: $20-$38. (813) 286-2403.
Where there's smoke . . .
Cigarette smokers can identify with Wolf-Ferrari's most frequently performed opera, Il Segreto di Susanna ("Susanna's Secret"). Here's the New Grove Dictionary of Opera summary:
"Count Gil smells tobacco smoke around his house, and jumps to the conclusion that his young wife, Susanna, must have a secret lover. This seems confirmed by the fact that he has once caught sight of her out in the street without his permission. But he eventually finds that she herself is the smoker, and that the destination of her secret outing was the tobacconist's shop. Gil celebrates their reconciliation by taking up smoking, too."
Martin Shalita and Lara Green sing the brief opera in a University of South Florida production at 8 p.m. Friday at Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $8 and $10.
There's more opera in Tarpon, with voice students from St. Petersburg Junior College singing highlights from Faust, Carmen, Rigoletto and other works at 7:30 tonight at the performing arts center. Tickets are $8 and $10. (727) 942-5605.
Mark Twain times two
You could call it the tale of two Twains. Hal Holbrook, above, is famous for his one-man tour de force, Mark Twain, Tonight!, going back to his first performance in 1954. Holbrook has toured the show in some part of every year since, and he returns this weekend to Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
But Holbrook isn't the only Twain out there. Ed Dennehy toured the New York area as the author of Huckleberry Finn in 1988. Next month, Dennehy (brother of fellow actor Brian) reprises his version of Mark Twain, Tonight! at Theatre Works in Sarasota.
Holbrook performs at 8 p.m. Saturday in TBPAC's Morsani Hall. Tickets: $7.50-$42.50. (813) 229-7827 or (800) 955-1045.
Dennehy's Mark Twain, Tonight! opens May 4 and continues Friday through Sunday through May 13 at Theatre Works. Tickets: $5 and $12. (941) 952-9170.
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