After the lights dim on the Bob Carr stage this weekend, 113 students in the UCF Choir will sing one of the most challenging and beloved symphonies ever composed.
For the past month, students have prepared for the Orlando Philharmonic’s opening night concert on Saturday, Sept. 25. The UCF Choir will perform Gustav Mahler’s symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” alongside the Orlando Philharmonic Opera Chorus and accompanied by the largest orchestra ever assembled by the Orlando Philharmonic.
The concert, “Resurrection Symphony,” begins at 8:30 p.m. at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., in downtown Orlando.
“It’s a once in a lifetime chance,” says Clair Warrick, a student in the UCF Choir. “It’s such a big piece and is not performed very often because it’s so challenging.”
“Resurrection” is written for an orchestra, a mixed choir, two soloists (soprano and contralto), an organ and an offstage ensemble of brass and percussion.
After weeks of intense rehearsals, Friday will be the first time that the UCF students will sing the piece with the Opera Chorus. The collaboration “demands careful preparation, musically sensitive singing and utmost professionalism,” said David Brunner, UCF’s director of choral activities.
The UCF Choir has a long history of collaborations with the Orlando Philharmonic performing a variety of pieces, including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Aaron Copland’s “Old American Songs.” But this will be its first time performing such a monumental symphony.
“It’s a gorgeous piece, deep and dark, very different from our past performances,” Warrick said.
Traveling from London to New York, the UCF Choir has performed with the world-renowned Russian State Symphony and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The group sang alongside Vanessa Williams at the Daytona 500 and graced Carnegie Hall with Brunner’s “Ode to the Present and Future Days.”
But few performances will compare to this year’s opening night concert, where 150 voices will come together to breathe life into the magnanimous “Resurrection.”
“The first words that come to mind when one thinks of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony are ‘massive’ and ‘overwhelming,’ and when you’re in the Bob Carr, you will see that the layout itself speaks of the power of the piece,” said Christopher Wilkins, music director for the Orlando Philharmonic.
Single tickets to “Resurrection Symphony” are $14.75, $29, $39, $52 and $70. To purchase tickets, call the Philharmonic’s box office at 407-770-0071 or visit the Philharmonic’s website at www.orlandophil.org.