HAYS – If you haven’t already, mark your calendar for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at Fort Hays State University’s Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center for the conclusion of the Hays Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-18 season.
The FHSU Singers, the FHSU Concert Choir and the Smoky Hill Chorale, plus soloists Ivalah Allen, soprano, and Gregory Gerbrandt, baritone, will join conductor Terry Crull and the orchestra in performing the thrilling “Carmina Burana” by Carl Orff.
Dr. Ivalah Allen, associate professor of music and theatre at FHSU, is renowned throughout the country as an outstanding singer and educator in opera, recital, oratorio and musical comedy. Gregory Gerbrandt, a native of Colorado, has starred in opera all over the world, and is especially in demand for leading roles in contemporary opera.
The title of the scenic cantata “Carmina Burana” (“Songs of Beuern”) comes from the text of a manuscript found in the Bavarian monastery Benediktbeuern. The manuscript contained 24 very secular lyrics in Medieval Latin, Middle High German and even traces of Old French.
Orff, inspired by the illustration of Fortuna’s wheel on the manuscript’s cover, set the lyrics to music that mimics a circle beginning and ending with praise of Fortuna – the Roman goddess of fortune.
“Carmina Burana” is by far Orff’s best-known and most often performed work. Its musical simplicity compounded with its driving rhythms and compelling repetitions is characteristic of his unique style.
And the lyrics prove it is possible to get away with all sorts of bawdiness as long as you do it in Medieval Latin, Middle High German, Old French, or a mixture of all three.
The concert, with a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m. by Dr. Crull, an associate professor of music and theatre at FHSU, is sponsored by a donation from Dr. Michael Meade. Refreshments for the post-concert reception are underwritten by the Downtown Hays Development Corporation.
As are all performances of the Hays Symphony Orchestra, the concert is free and open to the public. Tickets can also be picked up in advance at the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau.