Before heading to the wooded lawn of the Koka Booth Amphitheater for the summer, the North Carolina Symphony closes its classical season with another episode of their investigation into the works of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler. But Mahler's Symphony No. 3 can barely be called an episode: It's his longest and most internally various work, running upward of 100 minutes and requiring the assistance of the Raleigh Boychoir, the North Carolina Master Chorale Women's Choir and mezzo-soprano Susan Platts.
Such adventurousness befits the goals of the symphony's season, which has included collaborative concerts with Patti LuPone, Branford Marsalis and Pink Martini, plus performances that deeply integrated video with the music. Rather than alternate between flashy crowd-pleasers and staunch classical fare, the symphony seems determined to bring those disparate forms together. "Audience feedback reveals that both long time audience members and new audience members value visuals," says symphony president Sandi Macdonald, "and we will definitely see more multimedia and film used in seasons to come."
Indeed, the N.C. Symphony continues to cast its lines into lots of waters next year. They'll work with PlayMakers Repertory Company on a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. And while they're share dates with guest stars such as Joshua Bell and Lang Lang, they've also commissioned new works from young composers Sarah Kirkland Snider and Judd Greenstein.
But for now, Mahler—and a lot of it. (Also 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Raleigh's Meymandi Concert Hall.) . —Chris Vitiello