A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Symphony Orchestra opens 27th season tonight at NKU’s Greaves — Beyond La Mer

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra 2018-19 Passport to musical adventure takes audiences across the
globe. For its first voyage of the 27th season, the KSO visits the coasts of England and France for ocean-inspired classics.

The KSO brings the sea, waves, foam, salt spray to Greaves Concert Hall via sight, sound, smell and yes, touch in Beyond La Mer as the orchestra dabbles in constructing a unique 4D concert experience. Though it is the sea-inspired repertoire performed by the KSO that will set the mood, color, and atmosphere of the evening, each patron’s olfactory senses will pick up the ocean scent cast by essential oil diffusers at the hall’s entrances. Seaside video and sparing use of evaporative fans add to this experimental presentation.

“When we decided on an ocean-going season opener, I thought, how could we make this show feel different?” KSO music director James Cassidy mused. “When the idea of trying some 4D applications came up, I had to promise the audience would not get wet as the first wave broke. They may however perceive an evanescent misting from above.”

Adroitly selecting his homophone, Cassidy remarked, “We’ll see!”

Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, from his opera Peter Grimes, opens with a serene sea-scape at dawn, moving to a Sunday morning church gathering near the shore, then to moonlight glistening off the water. The inevitable ocean storm scene (which three composers uniquely portray in their respective works) closes out the evocative suite.

Benjamin Britten was a student of English composer Frank Bridge who wrote his 4-movement tone painting — The Sea — at the same Sussex coastal town (Eastbourne) where Claude Debussy finished his La Mer six years earlier.

Soprano Nicolette Book joins the KSO all-French second half with Ernest Chausson’s “La Fleur des eaux” (Flowers of the water) from his Poème de l’amour et de la mer (Poems of Love and the Sea).

The 4D experience concludes with one of Claude Debussy’s most famous impressionistic compositions — La Mer.

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra brings the ocean inland to Greaves Concert Hall for Beyond La Mer at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, October 13, at NKU, Highland Heights. Reserved seating tickets are $19, $27, $35 (children ages 6-18 are 50% off) and are available online at kyso.org, by phone —(859) 431-6216, or at the door.

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