Spotlight Columns

‘Romance!’ is in the air at The Folsom Symphony

By From page B2 | January 22, 2014

Valentine’s Day is coming up in just a few weeks. Wondering what to do to celebrate the biggest day in the Month of Love?

If you fancy something a little less materialistic for your loved one, and wish to be a little more focused on matters of the heart, The Folsom Symphony may be just the pick for you on Feb. 8.

“Romance!” will feature two guest performers: guitarist Lawrence Ferrara and tenor Robert Vann.

Ferrara will perform Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Fantasia para un gentilhombre.” This is a rich but gentle piece – a tapestry of melody with steel guitar and symphony singing to one another. Melodies seductively interweave. Close your eyes and you can picture a Spanish grandee gently serenading his beloved in the 1600s. And no wonder – this work, composed in 1954, is based on solo guitar pieces by 17th century composer Gaspar Sanz.

Ferrara is a performer and instructor of distinction. The first student to graduate with a master’s degree in guitar from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he is noted for his supple and nuanced performances.

Tenor Robert Vann will sing a number of romantic songs, accompanied by the symphony. As is quite common for those in the arts, he wears many hats. Vann is the program manager for the Sacramento Youth Symphony. He knows what audiences and artists enjoy, so look for quality selections.

Rounding out the body of the evening’s entertainment is a number of works selected by Maestro Michael Neumann, musical director of the Folsom Symphony.

The “Serenade for Strings in C major” (Opus 48) by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky was written back-to-back with the “1812 Overture” during the summer of 1880. He had his doubts about the (now famous) overture, but he felt the serenade had real potential.

“The (1812) overture will be very loud and noisy, but I wrote it without any warm feelings of love and so, it will probably be of no artistic merit. But the serenade, on the contrary, I wrote from inner compulsion. This is a piece from the heart, and so, I venture to hope that this work is not without artistic qualities,” he wrote. “The first movement is my homage to Mozart. It is intended to be an imitation of his style, and I should be delighted if I thought I had in any way approached my model.”

Guiseppe Verdi’s “Triumphal March” from “Aida,” is a rousing piece in an otherwise intimate opera. It encompasses the victory of the Egyptian army over the Ethiopians. And, it serves musically to advance the theatrical story of two doomed lovers.

Antonín Dvořák’s “Slavonic Dance Op. 46, No. 2” opens with a loud, almost bacchanalian boisterousness. Written in 1878, this work marked the beginning of Dvořák’s success as a recognized composer during the Romantic Age.

Giacomo Meyerbeer’s “Coronation March,” from “Le prophète” in 1849 is a rarely performed work. He was one of the most recognized composers of the 19th century. His compositions were performed in opera houses worldwide. However, Meyerbeer’s work was suppressed by the Nazi Party because of his Jewish roots, and was rarely performed during the 20th century. This might well be one of your only opportunities to hear his work performed in your lifetime.

Lovers of Broadway will readily recognize Richard Rodger’s “Carousel Waltz” from the hit musical, “Carousel.” Like the entertaining ride after which the waltz is named, this work features dizzying themes that spin, rise and fall. “Carousel” ran for 890 performances after its debut in 1945. Rogers said that it was his personal favorite of all his musicals, of which there were many.

Plan a nice dinner out in one of our superb local restaurants, and your romantic evening is set.

“Romance!” will be performed Saturday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Harris Center/Three Stages Theater on the Folsom Lake College campus, 10 College Parkway in Folsom. For tickets call (916) 608-6888 or visit Also visit 

Send your event for consideration in Susan’s column to [email protected]

Susan Laird


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