Kalamazoo’s Philharmonia performed their final concert of the 2016-2017 season on Saturday, ending on a more theatrical note than previous performances.
K College students and Kalamazoo community members performed a two-piece set. The first, titled Nocturnes, by Claude Debussy, had three parts. The beautiful melodies featured not only the orchestra, but the Kalamazoo College Chamber Choir as well. The piece embodied the extroversion of 19th century music.
The second piece, arguably the most memorable one, featured a libretto, or text of an opera. The engaging piece brought to life Bela Bartok’s work, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle. The stage had five doors hanging above it, as Rhea Olivacce (Judith) and David Govertsen (Bluebeard), performed as soprano and bass-baritone. The orchestra brought the emotions in the text to life as each of the doors lit up a different color. The whole experience was much more than a musical performance, as lights were turned on and off and actors stepped out of a door for the dramatic finally.
The piece tells a brutal love story between Judith and Bluebeard. Judith, Bluebeard’s new bride, arrives at his castle and is saddened by the lack of windows and light in it. She discovers seven doors and although he resists at first, Bluebeard eventually gives her the keys to all seven doors. The doors each reveal something different, from a torture chamber to a chamber of jewels, to, finally, a room full of Bluebeard’s old wives (still alive), whom Judith is forced to join. The dark ending was thought-provoking and unexpected.
Since it was the last show of the season, it was the last show for many graduating seniors at Kalamazoo College. From the Philharmonia, Siwook Hwang (violin), Daniel Moore (cello), Olivia Weaver (bass), Valentin Frank (oboe), and Hannah Kim (celeste/organ); from the Chamber Choir, Madison Donohoe, Gabrielle Holme-Miller, Hannah Lehker, Vethania Stavropoulos, and Camila Trefftz. Before the concert began the conductor, Andrew Koehler, took a few minutes to honor the students who would not be returning for the 2017-2018 season and wished them the best of luck on their way.
The seniors left their marks with the most memorable show of the season.