World-renowned opera star Renee Fleming and beloved actor Henry Winkler will headline the University of Mary Washington Philharmonic’s 2017-18 season. The announcement was made at a special event for the Friends of the UMW Philharmonic on Saturday, June 17.
“We’ve been trying to get Ms. Fleming for years, but her schedule has been too tight,” said Kevin Bartram, director of the UMW Philharmonic. “We can’t be more thrilled to open our season with her.”
Fleming will perform at the season opening on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Known as “The People’s Diva,” she is one of the top singers in the world. She has won four Grammy Awards and was given the National Medal of Arts by former President Barack Obama. Fleming recently shocked fans when she announced her retirement from the Metropolitan Opera and other large-scale opera productions, but she will continue to sing on the concert stage. Tickets will go on sale in mid-August.
Actor Henry Winkler will provide narration for Serge Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf for the Philharmonic’s season finale and Masterworks concert on Friday, April 27. Winkler, best known for his role as Arthur Fonzarelli in the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, has won two Golden Globes and has been nominated for 19 Emmys. Winkler is author of 33 children’s books, and is a national activist for dyslexia.
Also, during its 2017-18 season, the annual Holiday Pops concert on Friday, Dec. 8, will feature the Irish Tenors – Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynan – who will join forces with the Philharmonic to perform songs from the best-selling album “We Three Kings.” In constant demand during the holiday season, the Irish Tenors were a difficult act to book, according to Bartram. “Their concerts typically end with two or three standing ovations,” he said. “This will be a fun show.”
On Saturday, March 17, the orchestra will perform works from Bartram’s national research project, “The Library of Congress Project: Unearthing America’s Musical Treasures.” Featured recently on the public radio show With Good Reason, Bartram and a team of researchers from throughout the country have been working to uncover symphonic pieces that have been lost to time. The results include what is now understood to be America’s first trumpet concerto, written in 1834. To perform this historic work, the Philharmonic will feature legendary trumpet player Arturo Sandoval. The orchestra also will perform the suite from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway hit “Hamilton.”
For more information or to become a Friend of the Philharmonic, call 540-654-1324 or visit umwphilharmonic.com.