CSO opener worth attending
Gustav Host’s “The Planets” is a soaring — and challenging — opener for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra’s season Friday and Saturday at the Sotille Theater. Expect it to be a musical success. After all, over the past few years, the CSO has taken on tougher non-musical challenges and succeeded.
In 2010, the symphony was close to folding because of money woes and legal problems with some players. It found a way to hang on, and the 2011-2012 season ended with a $71,000 surplus.
Last November, pianist Emanuel Ax helped pack the Gaillard Auditorium. This season, there will be a number of guest soloists and conductors as the symphony continues its process of deciding on a permanent director.
Audiences will experience different venues also as the Gaillard Auditorium is being renovated. And with less seating, some concerts, like the opening concert, will be offered twice. Dress rehearsal for the initial concert will also be open for people to attend.
It will be a grand start to a promising season for the resurgent CSO.
In addition to the crowd-pleasing Masterworks series featuring works by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Verdi and Dvorak, the CSO is expandings its chamber music series at the Dock Street Theatre. The Pops! series includes a holiday concert in December, a circus extravaganza in January and a dance-a-thon in March.
There will be Handel’s Messiah in December and a holiday performance with the CSO Spiritual Ensemble and the CSO Gospel Choir performing African-American spirituals. The symphony will perform in the Sottile Theatre on George Street, but also offer smaller performances in Mount Pleasant and Summerville and on Daniel Island.
Something for almost everyone.
The Charleston area is fortunate to be home to a symphony orchestra of the ability — and the renewed firm fiscal footing — of the CSO. It is considered a draw for tourists and industry, but even more it is an opportunity for music-loving residents to attend live concerts with first-rate musicians.