This month at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Symphony Orchestra will present Verdi’s Otello in concert opera format. WETA Classical’s June NSO Showcase will reflect this operatic theme, presenting Dvorak’s Othello Overture, and Mahler’s Symphony No.4 with its heavenly 4th movement sung by soprano Katerina Burton. The program will close with a suite from Richard Strauss’ opera, Der Rosenkavalier. 

Dvorak wrote his Othello Overture as the last part of a triptych on nature, life and love which he named: In Nature’s Realm, Carnival and Othello. The three pieces premiered in Prague and the brand-new Carnegie Hall in 1892. Dvorak’s first two overtures are optimistic and happy, but Othello represents the darker, destructive side of human nature. 

Mahler’s 4th Symphony opens with sunny music (Mahler compares the feeling to a sky so blue it can inspire a sense of foreboding.) Indeed, the picture darkens in the second movement as the devil plays his fiddle. The symphony ends with a ravishing soprano aria depicting a child’s vision of heaven.  

NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda believes the suite from Richard Strauss’ opera Der Rosenkavalier expresses “love, seduction, and disillusion.” The lovely waltzes of the opera remind us of time passing, of the nostalgia of a bygone era. 

Don’t let this beautiful program pass you by! It airs Wednesday evening, June 6th at 9PM ET on WETA Classical, and streams all month long here. 

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