SPOOKY FUN- Vocalist Mandy McKee joins the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra for their next performance called Halloween! which runs Oct. 30 on the Arts Centre mainstage.

RDSO goes Halloween for upcoming concert

Things are getting all spooky for Red Deer Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming performance, aptly titled Halloween!

The concert runs Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. in the College Arts Centre

Things kick off with Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho – A Suite for Strings. The piece features a slate of musical pieces with all kinds of interesting titles – The Rainstorm, The Madhouse, The Murder, The Swamp, The Knife and The Cellar to name a few.

RDSO music director Claude Lapalme notes that Herrmann is best known as a film composer, and boasts all sorts of outstanding work to his credit including collaborating with the legendary Orson Welles. His last score was for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.

But ultimately, Herrmann’s work for the iconic film Psycho stands out as his most recognizable, says Lapalme.

“In a bold move for the time, and especially for a thriller, the music is scored for string orchestra, perhaps to support the fact that the film is shot in black and white in an era when colour was already the standard,” observes Lapalme. “The screeching violin music heard during the famous shower murder is iconic.”

Herrmann certainly took his contributions to the film world seriously, once saying that he had the final say or he didn’t do the music.

The second part of Halloween! features vocalist/narrator Mandy McKee on Schafer’s Beauty and the Beast.

Lapalme said the work is “extremely demanding for the vocal soloist who has to personify all five characters using a wide tessitura, this in addition to manipulating props.

“The writing is atmospheric and the tone of the work is admittedly far more fun that it is scary.”

McKee, a Red Deer native, recently played the role of Reeve in The Opera Suicide in Calgary. She looks forward to working on another original project next spring involving circus performers and puppets.

Finally, mezzo-soprano Sharon Braun will be featured during de Falla’s spirited El Amor Brujo.

El Amor Brujo is the story of a young gypsy girl called Candela, who falls in love with Carmelo, after her unfaithful husband dies.

But the dead husband’s ghost returns to haunt the couple. All the gypsies then make a circle around their campfire at midnight and in this circle Candela performs the Ritual Fire Dance.

This causes the ghost to appear, with whom she then dances. As they whirl around faster and faster, the magic of the fire dance causes the ghost to be drawn into the fire, making it vanish forever.

Braun has been a regular guest soloist with the RDSO for several years. In 2002, she debuted Cheryl Cooney’s Chansons with the RDSO, and has since recorded the work with the Kiev Symphony Orchestra.

She has also been a member of both the Calgary Opera and Edmonton Opera choruses. She is a member of The National Association of Teachers of Singing, and is also co-director of the Red Deer Chamber Singers.

Next up for the RDSO is Christmas With the Rosedale Valley Strings on Dec. 11.

For ticket information, call Ticketmaster at 403-340-4455 or check out www.ticketmaster.ca.

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