The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra Takes a Refreshing Dip in Beyond La Mer

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The KSO opens its 27th Season October 13th with a 4D concert experience allowing patrons to see, hear, smell and feel the ocean as the orchestra performs music of Britten, Bridge, Chausson and Debussy.

The last time the KSO played with water indoors, Greaves Concert Hall, May 2006. Photo by Jim Fausz.

“When we decided on an ocean-going season opener, I thought, how could we make this show feel different?” KSO music director James Cassidy mused. “When the idea of trying some 4D applications came up, I had to promise the audience would not get wet as the first wave broke. "

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-19 Passport to musical adventure, takes audiences across the globe. For its first voyage of the 27th season, the KSO visits the coasts of England and France for ocean-inspired classics.

The KSO brings the sea, waves, foam, salt spray to Greaves Concert Hall via sight, sound, smell and yes, touch in "Beyond La Mer" as the orchestra dabbles in constructing a unique 4D concert experience. Though it is the sea-inspired repertoire performed by the KSO that will set the mood, color and atmosphere of the evening, each patron’s olfactory senses will pick up the ocean scent cast by essential oil diffusers at the hall’s entrances. Seaside video and sparing use of evaporative fans add to this experimental presentation.

“When we decided on an ocean-going season opener, I thought, how could we make this show feel different?” KSO music director James Cassidy mused. “When the idea of trying some 4D applications came up, I had to promise the audience would not get wet as the first wave broke. They may however perceive an evanescent misting from above.” Adroitly selecting his homophone, Cassidy remarked, “We’ll see!”

Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes, from his opera Peter Grimes, opens with a serene sea-scape at dawn, moving to a Sunday morning church gathering near the shore, then to moonlight glistening off the water. The inevitable ocean storm scene (which three composers uniquely portray in their respective works) closes out the evocative suite. Benjamin Britten was a student of English composer Frank Bridge who wrote his 4-movement tone painting — The Sea — at the same Sussex coastal town (Eastbourne) where Claude Debussy finished his La Mer six years earlier. Soprano Nicolette Book joins the KSO for the all-French second half with Ernest Chausson’s “La fleur des eaux” (The flowers of the water) from his Poème de l'amour et de la mer (Poems of Love and the Sea). The 4D concert experience concludes with one of Claude Debussy’s most famous impressionistic compositions — La Mer.    

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra brings the ocean inland to Greaves Concert Hall for Beyond La Mer at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Ocobter 13, at NKU, Highland Heights, KY. Reserved seating tickets are $19, $27, $35 (children ages 6-18 are 50% off) and are available online at kyso.org, by phone (859) 431-6216, or at the door.

About the KSO: For 26 years the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra has taken the “phony” out of symphony by eliminating traditional barriers and presenting engaging, live, thematic concerts that enrich, educate and entertain the residents of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. The KSO performs three series of concerts annually throughout Northern Kentucky.

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James Cassidy
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