“The course of true love never did run smooth” might well be the theme of the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra’s Valentine’s Day concert. Hector Berlioz’ opera Béatrice et Bénédicte is based on Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing, the story of a young man who claims to despise marriage and a young woman who enjoys poking fun at him, until they both realize they are very much in love. Gustav Mahler was going through a painful breakup when he composed the text and the music of one of his earliest masterworks, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer). The four songs, orchestrated with Mahler’s customary flair, paint a vivid portrait of the disappointed lover’s fantasies ranging from rage and grief to irony, humor, and–ultimately–acceptance. No composer has created star-crossed lovers so memorable as Leonard Bernstein in West Side Story, his updated version of Romeo and Juliet. Maria and Tony’s poignant love songs and the jazz and Latin rhythms of the Jets and the Sharks will thrill your date more than flowers and chocolates–guaranteed!
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