Dvorak

Music writer Fran Hoepfner (@franhoepfner) speaks with Here & Now‘s Robin Young about her love for “Symphony from the New World” by Antonin Dvorak.

Dvorak, who was Czech, wrote it in 1893 while in the U.S. leading a conservatory and studying American folk music. It’s become a famous musing on what “home” means, and what “American-ness” sounds like.

San Antonio Symphony

The San Antonio Dvořák Festival is done and I checked in with San Antonio Symphony Music Director  Sebastian Lang-Lessing to see how it went.

“The objectives were basically we were able to enlarge our partner groups, including opera."

Lang-Lessing noted that Dvořák provides a good continuity from last year’s Brahms Festival.

"And third it is touching a composer who is from Europe but changed the American music history dramatically in a very good and inspiring way," he said.

KLRN

The last weekend of the San Antonio Symphony's Dvořák Festival is coming, but to begin we look back at last weekend’s "Rusalka."

“I was really proud and really happy with the result, and I think our understanding of Dvořák really changed with this piece," said symphony Music Director Lang-Lessing. "We really learned about Dvořák.”

Headlining this weekend are Dvořák’s Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, but as Lang-Lessing explained, before playing them the symphony tackles a contemporary piece by American Jennifer Higdon.  

San Antonio Symphony

If you’re used to going to see the symphony at the Majestic, there is the stage, and there is the audience and ne’er the twain shall meet…but not so with “Rusalka.”

“Rusalka is kind of an adult fairytale. This is rather a grand opera." 

James Robinson has traveled from St. Louis to stage “Rusalka.” As he explains, the details of the opera itself demand a lot from everyone in the production.

John Clare / TPR Arts

After a week off, the San Antonio Symphony’s Dvořák Festival continues Friday, and it continues to stretch in different directions. This week's festival performance features the San Antonio Mastersingers, but as Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing describes, they won’t be in standard choral layout.

"A lot of the singing, especially from the ladies, will be offstage," he said. "So they are the offstage mermaids from underground."

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