RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- What do Olympic figure skating, film and TV, competitive marching bands, and golf all have in common with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra?
They’ve all created winning adaptations of "Scheherazade," which will be performed by the latter Saturday, Feb. 13.
The piece is about an Arabian sultan’s bride who spins bewitching stories for him over 1,001 nights. When she employs these “bedtime” stories to enchant and distract her husband -- who's beheaded each of his wives -- he spares her and all wives thereafter.
The best-known music interpreting this centuries-old folk legend is mysterious, exotic, sexy and grand. It's become a symphonic blockbuster familiar to many audiences. But the short snippets heard in a skating program or a film score have nothing on the thrill of hearing a live professional orchestra’s performance of the entire piece.
Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov’s mesmerizing "Scheherazade" will be the climactic finale of the orchestra's next concert, "Redemption through Love." Schumann and Wagner works will open the show, and fiery, Bulgarian-born maestro Petko Dimitrov, former orchestra assistant music director, will conduct.
In 2014, "Scheherazade" was the accompaniment for Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who won Olympic gold in figure skating. And in 2010, Evan Lysacek won men’s gold in Vancouver, skating to the piece. Michelle Kwan -- the sport’s most decorated athlete, world champion and Olympic medalist -- also "became" Scheherazade numerous times.
Countless film and television productions also have used this music, in live action, ballet and even cartoon versions, attesting to its universal appeal.
More of the fascinating backstories of these immortal works are in the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra Concert Conversations with renowned musicologist and entertaining storyteller Michael Lankester, which is free to all ticketholders and is from 7-7:30 p.m., prior to the concert's 8 p.m. start.
The concert will be in Ridgefield High School’s Anne S. Richardson Auditorium. For more information about the RSO, visit its website or call the box office at 203-438-3889. The RSO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional arts organization.
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