TSO announces 2017-18 season, with Leslie Odom, Jr., of “Hamilton,” singers Audra McDonald and Indigo Girls
Published Wednesday, February 8, 2017
by DENNIS BOVA
Renée Fleming, one of the world’s most celebrated opera singers, will be in concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, at the Toledo Museum of Art’s Peristyle. This will be Fleming’s debut performance with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.
The announcement of the Fleming special event coincides with the TSO’s unveiling of its 2017-18 season, which features exciting guest artists and returning favorites, a new starting time for a concert series, and a brand new festival.
Fleming, aside from singing at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, is the first-ever Creative Consultant to the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Recent performances in Boston, London, Cleveland, Sydney, and Washington, D.C. have drawn rave reviews.
“The People’s Diva,” as Fleming is known, sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 and performed at the Diamond Jubilee concert for Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 and at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
She will come to Toledo direct from the Metropolitan Opera, where she will sing Richard Strauss’s opera “Der Rosenkavalier.” In Toledo, the soprano will perform Strauss’s exquisite “Four Last Songs” as well as favorites from Italian, French, German, and Russian opera.
“Renée Fleming is classical music royalty,” said Toledo Symphony President and CEO Zak Vassar. “I have followed her career for years and am so proud to bring Ms. Fleming to this city, with this orchestra, at this time. Ms. Fleming is one of the top performers in music today, and we are lucky to have her here. This will be a high-water mark for our musicians and our organization.”
Fleming’s appearance is made possible by ProMedica, with additional artistic support from the Toledo Opera.
Single tickets, with prices starting at $49, go on sale to the public on April 1 through the Toledo Symphony Box Office at 1838 Parkwood Avenue, by calling 419-246-8000, or by visiting toledosymphony.com.
Subscribers to any of the symphony’s concert series have early access to purchase tickets to Fleming’s gala concert beginning Feb. 3, when the TSO unveils its upcoming season.
Fleming’s appearance is just one of several special surprises that Vassar and the symphony’s artistic team have in store for Toledo audiences in the 2017-2018 season. “It’s going to be a heckuva season,” Vassar said. “There’s literally something for everyone.”
Among the 2017-18 highlights:
- Broadway star Leslie Odom, Jr., of the hit musical “Hamilton” joins the TSO for a show of Broadway and jazz-inspired hits, including a tribute to Nat King Cole.
- Tony and Grammy-winning singer Audra McDonald, star of the new live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast,” joins the TSO for a special evening of show tunes and songs from her latest album, “Go Back Home.”
- Opera legend Kathleen Battle will perform a program inspired by African-Americans’ journey to freedom along the Underground Railroad, a stop of which was in Sylvania. Her appearance is part of a new series called the North Star Festival.
- Storm Large, a chanteuse and Carnegie Hall sensation who performed with the TSO in 2015, returns for two performances: “Seven Deadly Sins” and “Crazy Arc of Love.”
- Giordano Bellincampi, a frequent guest conductor, will return for an unprecedented three guest conductor appearances.
- Violinist Rachel Barton Pine, described as “exciting and boundary-defying,” will perform Brahms Violin Concerto.
- Jon Nakamatsu, a Van Cliburn Gold Medalist, returns to the TSO in a dazzling double-header: Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and Liszt’s Totentanz.
- Resident Conductor Sara Jobin will present a program that explores Duke Ellington’s fine orchestral compositions, including his take on the Nutcracker Suite and his magnificent tone poem, “Harlem.”
- The Indigo Girls will perform their folk-rock favorites, like “Closer to Fine” and “Galileo” in a unique symphonic setting.
- Two outstanding world premiere commissions: a cello concerto by composer Lowell Liebermann and a work for trumpet and orchestra by composer Alice Gomez.
- The Welltower Mozart & More series’ starting time will move from 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. to provide patrons with an afternoon concert option. The performances will remain on Saturdays at the Franciscan Center on the Lourdes University campus in Sylvania.
The Toledo Symphony, with nearly 60 full-time musicians, presents nearly 200 performances in its traditional concert offerings, neighborhood and regional shows, ensembles, young people’s concerts, school appearances, and ballet and opera accompaniments. The 2017-18 season will be the TSO’s 74th.