In a way, Memorial Day Weekend in St. Pete, arts-wise, is all about The Florida Orchestra.
Tonight (Thursday, May 23), music director Michael Francis and a chamber group will perform excerpts from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 at the Palladium Theater. It’s part of TFO’s Inside the Music series, which means Francis will discuss the Russian composer, and the work – it was written during the regime of Joseph Stalin, which means the pressure was on to compose “pro-Soviet” music. Admission to the 7:30 p.m. event is “pay what you can.”
Saturday evening finds Francis and TFO back at the Mahaffey Theater for a season-ending Masterworks concert. Along with the Shostakovich, the program includes another Russian piece, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, with concertmaster Jeffrey Multer as soloist.
Also on the bill: Silver Glass, by Lincoln Sandham, winner of the orchestra’s Student Composer Competition (the 25-year-old is a doctoral student at Florida State University; he holds a master’s degree in composition from the University of Louisville).
Silver Glass was inspired by a passage in The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien: “… and then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them ajar green country under a swift sunrise.”
The three-performance series begins Friday night at the Straz Center in Tampa, and closes with a Sunday concert at Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall.
Tickets and info here.
On Monday – Memorial Day proper – the Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet performs in the Sundial courtyard. The free outdoor show, at 6 p.m., will include patriotic music, American folk songs, popular show tunes and jazz.
The Florida Orchestra’s 52nd season begins the weekend of Sept. 27-29.
Outdoor movies and other stuff
The 10th anniversary season for Preserve the ‘Burg’s Movies in the Park series continues today (May 23) in North Straub Park with the Academy Award-sweeping 2016 musical La La Land. Live music begins at 6 p.m., with the film scheduled to roll “as it gets dark.” It’s free, bring a blanket, bring a picnic if you wish. Food and drink are available for purchase.
La La Land is, of course, a variation on the ol’ “boy meets girl” theme. This was tackled in 1978, too, with the film version of the musical Grease – which, as we all know, is actually set in the ‘50s. Go time-traveling with Sandy, Danny and the gang Friday (May 24) at 8:30 p.m., at Archibald Memorial Beach Park at 15100 Gulf Blvd. in Madeira Beach. Also free.
Clearwater’s Coachman Park plays host to the Clearwater Music & Arts Festival Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-10 p.m. both days). The free family event promises live music, fun, games and family-type stuff, a beer garden, an art show, a fireworks show and more. Here’s the website.
And now, this: Venus, the new Women’s Collective of St. Petersburg art space, debuts tonight. Read more.
And now, this: Paul Wilborn is at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts today (May 23), reading from his book Cigar City: Tales of a 1980s Creative Ghetto. The 6:30-7:30 event is free with museum admission. Read more.
And now, this: The one-man comedy Buyer & Cellar, with the amazing Chris Crawford channel Barbra Streisand, is onstage at freeFall Theater all weekend. Read more.
And now, this: There’s a production of Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist classic No Exit at thestudio@620 this weekend. Read more.