March 23, 2019
Brendan Townsend, guest conductor
Corelli: Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 1
Verdi: "Stride la vampa!" - Il Trovatore
Ponchielli: "Voce di donna" - La Gioconda
Cilea: "Acerba voluttà" from Adriana Lecouvreur
Alison Meuth, mezzo-soprano
Coleman: For a Beautiful Land
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 55 "Eroica"
Beethoven’s iconic “Eroica” symphony changed the course of musical history when the celebrated composer scratched out his original dedication of the work to Napoleon and wrote a funeral march on the death of liberty. The tumultuous and exalted work also marked the beginning of the composers’ more “Romantic” period, pointing the way for others to follow. Among those who evolved in the midst of Romanticism and at the height of the “Grand Opera” period were the three composers whose arias we feature in the first half. From the gypsy who describes her desire for revenge on the death of her mother in Verdi’s break-out hit opera Il Trovatore, to the grateful “La Cieca” (mother of La Gioconda) giving her blessing to her daughter after being saved from death, to the Princess of Bouillon complaining of the pain of love in Adriana Lecouvreur, each beautiful aria depicts the heroism and beautiful inner strengths of the characters portrayed. Balancing the intensity of these main works are the beautiful serenity and joy expressed by Corelli in his Concerto Grosso and the celebration of life growing up for the American composer Linda Robbins Coleman whose For a Beautiful Land has received praise in all reviews since its premiere in April, 1996 as part of the Iowa Sesquicentennial Celebration. This is a concert sure to excite and stir the emotions of all who value beauty, liberty and heroism.