The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, Reno Chamber Orchestra, Nevada Opera and AVA Ballet are preparing for a season of changes and additions to the region’s music and dance offerings in the 2008-09 season, with the anticipation of a new music conductor, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and a journey to Wonderland. A media preview on Wednesday revealed what to expect from each of the four groups.
The Reno Philharmonic Orchestra is nearing the completion of a search for a music conductor that began at the beginning of 2007.
The search began with 200 candidates and was slowly narrowed down to five, with three of those candidates being women — a rarity among music conductors.
This season, the orchestra’s concert series will feature a program with each candidate conducting. For the final program, to be presented on March 29 and 31, 2009, the conductor will be chosen to serve as the Reno Philharmonic Association’s fourth director.
Former director Barry Jekowsky was selected in 1997 and stepped down in May after 10 seasons.
The Reno Chamber Orchestra will kick off its program by hosting award-winning composer Joseph Schwanter for the world premiere of “Chasing Light.” The composition is part of a second edition of the Ford Made in America partnership program, the largest orchestral commissioning consortium in the United States. “Chasing Light” will be performed in all 50 states.
The Sept. 20 and 21 concerts jumpstart the Reno Chamber Orchestra’s season of Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Bach and Mozart classics at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Nightingale Hall.
From the Nevada Opera this season, viewers can expect performances of Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” or “The Barber of Seville,” to be sung in Italian with English supertitles, on Oct. 3 and 5. The German operetta “Die Zirkusprinzessin,” the story of Russian Princess Fedora who falls in love with Mister X, a circus phenomenon with a past, will hold its world premiere performance in the original version in February. In April, Puccini’s “La Boheme” will feature returning husband and wife John Pickle and Suzanne Woods, who previously performed in the Nevada Opera production of “The Merry Widow.”
The AVA Ballet held one of its four performances, “The Vortex,” in July and is preparing for its annual fundraiser that will have an unusual theme this year, “Through the Looking Glass.” The gala will be a precursor to the spring production of “Alice in Wonderland.”
AVA Ballet will also perform its annual holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker,” from Dec. 12 to 14. Performances are held at the Pioneer Center.