Raphel Conducts Respighi’s ‘Pines of Rome’ for Season Finale

The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra’s final concert of the 2017-18 season, Respighi’s Pines of Rome, will be Music Director André Raphel’s grand finale. He will be ending his tenure with the WSO after 15 seasons.

The concert is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 18, at the Capitol Theatre in Wheeling.

The Wheeling Symphony’s 88th season finale opens with Antonin Dvorak’s rousing “Carnival Overture,” followed by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, an engaging and powerful work from arguably his most beautiful period.

“The season finale program on May 18 features works by four composers whose music has made an indelible impact historically; Dvorak, Beethoven, Richard Strauss and Respighi,” Raphel said. “We began the 2017-18 season with Berlioz’ Roman Carnival Overture. Thus, the idea of rounding out the season with a celebratory ‘Carnival Overture’ and focus on the eternal city of Rome seemed an attractive one. Dvorak’s Carnival Overture brings out the Czech folk spirit and lyrical qualities of his music.”

The performance also will feature soprano Deborah Selig, who will join the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra by performing Five Songs with Orchestra by R. Strauss. The concert concludes with Respighi’s majestic and expressive Pines of Rome, painting a musical portrait of scenes around The Eternal City. A powerful and magical ending to an impressive musical journey, where it is clear that “Music is the Key.”

Selig’s voice has been described by the press as “radiant,” “beautifully rich,” “capable of any emotional nuance,” and “impressively nimble.”  Her 2017-18 season highlights include a new recital program with tenor Gregory Zavracky and pianist Tanya Blaich with Highland Center for the Arts in Vermont, University of Connecticut and Brown University; Mozart’s Requiem with Brown University Chorus; and Brahms’ Requiem with Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum. Selig has appeared on numerous operatic stages, such as the Dayton Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and Kentucky Opera. Currently, on the voice faculty at Brown University and Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Selig earned degrees from Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the University of Michigan.

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“In many ways, the season finale program encompasses the musical traits that have now become a part of the orchestra’s sound,” Raphel said. “We welcome Deborah Selig with great enthusiasm for her Wheeling debut. The songs by Richard Strauss that she’ll sing focus not only on color but also on poetry through the song texts. Combined with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, these Songs bring a distinctly German character to this concert. The program’s closing with Respighi’s thrilling Pines of Rome is more than special. Its repertoire and musical styles that we’ve now become immersed in and exploring it anew with the Orchestra on this season finale is sure to be exciting for all of us onstage and the audience.”

Prior to the concert, patrons can purchase a pre-show, prix fixe dinner, catered by Rocco Basil in the Capitol Theatre Ballroom starting at 5:30 p.m. Patrons can also attend the free Concert Talk at 6:30 p.m. where Maestro Raphel and other guests will offer an informative and intriguing look at the story behind the music to be presented that evening. Immediately following the performance, concert-goers are encouraged to attend a farewell celebration honoring Raphel in the ballroom.

Tickets start at $18.50 and can be purchased online at wheelingsymphony.com, by phone at 304-232-6191, via email at boxoffice@wheelingsymphony.com, or in person at the box office, located at 1025 Main St., Suite 811, Wheeling.

Pre-show dinner tickets cost $25 per person including tax and gratuity. For dinner reservations, call 304-232-6191 or email boxoffice@wheelingsymphony.com.

Patrons 18 or younger can get tickets for $7.50. Additional discounts are available for college students and groups of 10 or more. More information is available at wheelingsymphony.com.

For 88 seasons, the Wheeling Symphony has served “community residents by providing excellent orchestral programs that entertain, educate and enhance the quality of life.” The Wheeling Symphony’s upcoming 89th season celebrates community with an eclectic season featuring classical intrigue, romance, excitement and passion. Building on its rich musical heritage, the Wheeling Symphony welcomes four music director finalists, their visions, and musical experiences to the Wheeling area. It will be a season unlike any other, and the symphony wants its community to drive the orchestra and its new maestro into the symphony’s 90th anniversary.