– The Philadelphia Orchestra is returning to Saratoga Performing Arts Center for a summer residency from July 31 to August 17, featuring classical masterpieces, debuts, and special appearances from John Legend and Angélique Kidjo.
– Highlights include a Tchaikovsky Spectacular with fireworks, Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” birthday celebration, performances by Yo-Yo Ma and Gil Shaham, and film nights featuring “Harry Potter” and “The Lion King” with live orchestral soundtracks.
Mark your calendars, folks. The Philadelphia Orchestra is packing their fiddles and heading back to Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) for a summer residency from July 31 to August 17. Promising a smorgasbord of classical masterpieces and debuts, the season teases the musical taste buds with a Michelin-star style platter of world-renowned artists and conductors. And it’s not just for the Beethoven brigade; they’ve generously sprinkled a bit of pizzazz into the program with appearances from John Legend and Angélique Kidjo, proving that SPAC is more than just a one-genre wonder.
Opening night is set to be a Tchaikovsky Spectacular, spearheaded by conductor David Robertson. George Li, he of the nimble keyboard fingers, will be tackling Tchaikovsky’s “Piano Concerto No. 1.” And it wouldn’t be a Tchaikovsky Spectacular without the “1812 Overture,” paired with a fireworks display that promises to out-sparkle even the most glittery of concert attendees.
Then, on August 1, SPAC will host a high-class birthday party for Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” which turns 100 this year. The Marcus Roberts Trio, known for their unique interpretation of classics, are bringing the birthday cake, while the audience gets to enjoy the musical presents. And if that’s not enough, the program also includes Johnson’s “Victory Stride” and Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances,” because who doesn’t love a good boogie?
John Legend, the man who has more trophies than a high school sports team, will be serenading audiences on August 7. The performance, humbly titled “An Evening With John Legend – A Night of Songs and Stories with The Philadelphia Orchestra,” promises to be an intimate exploration of Legend’s life and career, along with his greatest hits and selections from his most recent album, LEGEND.
Among the other anticipated highlights is the return of the ever-charming cellist Yo-Yo Ma on August 16, who’ll be churning out a captivating interpretation of Dvorák’s “Cello Concerto.” And be sure not to miss the debut of violinist Gil Shaham on August 14, performing a new violin concerto by contemporary composer Mason Bates. A bit of a reunion, since Shaham and Bates teamed up for this piece at SPAC back in 2023.
And let’s not forget about the film nights. Yes, you read correctly, film nights. On August 3, it’s “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in Concert,” and on August 17, “Disney’s The Lion King.” The Philadelphia Orchestra will be providing the live orchestral soundtrack, because nothing says high culture like a bit of Disney and Hogwarts.
In essence, if you’re a music lover, or just someone looking for a good excuse to escape the city heat for a while, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s return to Saratoga Performing Arts Center is just what the doctor ordered. Be warned, though, with a lineup this good, tickets are expected to sell faster than hotcakes at a breakfast buffet. So, grab your wallet and get ready to experience the 2024 season that promises to redefine musical excellence.