PORTLAND — The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) will feature Beethoven’s 8th Symphony and the music of Strauss at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 24, and at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan.26.

Tickets, which range from $32 to $82 may be purchased through PortTIX.

The concerts open with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8, a piece that came about during a tumultuous time of the composer’s life but is light-hearted, bright, and witty. After a slow and serious introduction, the second movement begins, inspired in part by an inventor friend of Beethoven’s. The “ticking” sound heard throughout the movement is that of the inventor’s precursor to the metronome.

The 8th Symphony is followed by a number of works from Strauss’ foray into opera: Prelude to Act 1 of Guntram, Love Scene (Finale) from Feuersnot, “Dance of the Seven Veils” from Salome, and the “Finale” from Salome. The selection portrays the composer’s range and development over time as he tested the limits with his operatic works.

Guntram was Strauss’ first opera, inspired by Wagner and, by the composer’s own accord, an opportunity for him to experiment with fresh, tuneful music. His second opera, Feuersnot, with its exquisite music, was widely popular in Germany until it was banned for its overtly sexual nature. Salome is considered Strauss’ breakthrough opera, one that pushes the boundaries of traditional harmony and positions Strauss as a “progressive” composer. The music is extravagant, enticing, repulsive, and magnificent, and an experience not to be missed.

World-renowned soprano Patricia Racette takes the stage with the PSO for the “Finale” from Salome on the second half of the concert. Racette appears regularly at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Houston Grand Opera.


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