Experience music from the messy love triangle between a handsome soldier, sexy bullfighter, and the free-spirited gypsy seductress who is driven by her heart’s desires – Carmen. Then journey from the ecstatic highs of romantic obsession and unrequited love to the deepest lows of betrayal in Berlioz’s bombastic Symphonie Fantastique all on Saturday, January 14, 7:30 p.m. at Dock Mennonite Academy’s Souderton campus (the Early Childhood to Grade 8 campus) with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra!

One of the most thrilling stories ever told, BIZET’s Carmen is one of the great operas featuring the femme fatal, the strong woman who hypnotizes everybody, including the audience. She entices the two men – Don José, the solider, and Escamillo, the bullfighter. We in the audience are Don José because we cannot resist Carmen, but at the same time we cannot have her. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra captures the memorable moments from Carmen with the music from the concert suites.

While the score is obviously French, Bizet elegantly works elements of Spanish music into Carmen, such as a gypsy song, flamenco dancing, the famous “Habañera” and the world of Seville. Carmen portrays the exotic, but also realism, amoral characters, tragic ending, and absence of fantasy, which put off much of the audience and critics in 1875. Yet today, Carmen remains one of the most popular theatrical works for audiences worldwide.

The concert continues with Hector BERLIOZ’s Symphonie fantastique – medley of romantic idealism, blasphemy, witchcraft, and the macabre. Bearing the subtitle “Episode in the Life of an Artist,” the five movement Symphonie fantastique depicts an artist’s obsessive love coupled with paranoid jealousy, and ultimately morbid visions.

Berlioz creates a narrative of how the artist poisons himself to the point of death, experiences bizarre visions, murders his lover in a jealous rage and then is sentenced and executed for the crime. It tells the story of “an artist gifted with a lively imagination” and is in the “depths of despair” because of “hopeless love.” Berlioz captures the lover with a reoccurring theme (called an idée fixe – performed by the E-flat clarinet, oboe, and flute) that appears in passionate scenes and haunting recollections.

Experience both of these sensual and erotic masterpieces!

Performances are held at the performing arts center at Dock Mennonite Academy (Early Childhood to Grade 8 Campus) at 420 Godshall Road, Souderton. The Souderton campus of Dock Mennonite Academy is less than 10 minutes away (about 5 miles) from the center of Lansdale, and the concert venue is a fully accessible performing arts center with no partial view seating, wonderful acoustics, and a great concert experience.


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