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Music, dance and images: The Florida Orchestra collaborates

Bill DeYoung



Eleven dancers from Tampa City Ballet will perform with The Florida Orchestra this weekend. Photo: TFO.

The buzz is beginning to build for Art of the Stage: From Picasso to Hockney, the exhibition – and ambitious performance series – that kicks off 2020 at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg Jan. 25.

Every week between then and early May, when the exhibition of original theatrical art and memorabilia closes, representatives from a local organization will be in the galleries, in performance, giving an extra layer of depth to one of the most visceral MFA presentations in a while.

The Florida Orchestra gets a jump on the proceedings this weekend with an exceptionally creative collaboration. The Masterworks concert taking place Friday (8 p.m.) at the Straz Center, and Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.) at the Mahaffey Theater, brings together music, dance, original art from St. Pete’s own Geff Strik (TFO Visual Artist-in-Residence) and images from Art of the Stage.

“It’s our passion to unite the arts in our community, and this is our biggest collaboration yet,” TFO Music Director Michael Francis said in a prepared statement, as only he could: “When we fuse art, live music and more, we strike a spark that ignites unparalleled creativity, bringing the arts to life in ways we could never expect.”

“Pulcinella” art by Geff Strik.

The program includes Stravinsky’s Pulcinella, a one-act ballet revolving around a familiar character from Italian commedia d’el arte. Pablo Picasso’s original set design for the ballet’s 1920s premiere is included in Art of the Stage, and will be projected as the orchestra plays – along with Strik’s original works inspired by Picasso’s interpretation of Pulcinella.

This performance also includes three vocalists, along with 11 dancers from Tampa City Ballet (choreography by Paula Nuñez and Elsa Valbuena).

The program also includes Rimsky-Korsakov’s Golden Cockerel, with projected images by artist Natalia Gontcharova (she created the designs for the Ballets Russes’ Parisian performances of Golden Cockerel in 1913-1914).

And guest soloist Gilles Vonsattel joins TFO for a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (this being the year Beethoven’s 250th birthday is celebrated, Maestro Francis has peppered his season with the composer’s works).

Associate Conductor Daniel Black will introduce several TFO musical performances at the Museum of Fine Arts during the run of Art of the Stage, specifically:

Sunday, Jan 26:

12:30 p.m, and 2:30 p.m. Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings (Mvts. 2 & 4) and Mozart’s Violin Concert No. 5 (Mvt. 3) with soloist Jeffrey Multer (Conservatory)

1:05 p.m. and 3:05 p.m: Satie’s Mercure, arranged by Birtwistle (Marly Room)

1:30 p.m. and & 3:30 p.m.: Stravinsky’s Octet (Hough Gallery)

Included with museum admission; free for MFA members

Wednesday, Feb. 5:

2-4 pm, Marly Room. An intimate performance of Milhaud’s La Creation du Monde and Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, narrated by actor Becca McCoy.

We’ll have more about Art of the Stage: From Picasso to Hockney soon; in the meantime, here’s the complete performance schedule.


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