With the Waterfire braziers burning brightly in downtown Providence last Saturday night, the Vets was on fire with the fabulous sounds of the Rhode Island Philharmonic, under the leadership of maestro Larry Rachleff, now in his 18th year of bringing quality classical concerts to a growing number of aficionados.
RIPO is becoming a hot ticket (there were only a few scattered empty seats Saturday night), as season ticket-holders are being joined by music lovers who are discovering that they don’t have to go to Boston or New York to hear first-class musicians.
Rachleff has earned a worldwide reputation as a conductor who can attract some of the most sought after soloists and musicians, evidenced by the quality of the orchestra and guest artists like violinist Jennifer Frautschi, who brought the audience to its feet with her stirring, flawless interpretation of Prokofiev’s “Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63.”
While Rachleff will not be at the podium on Saturday, October 19, he has recruited guest conductor Michael Christie, music director of the Minnesota Opera, to lead the orchestra in Holst’s “The Planets.” They will be joined by the women of The Providence Singers. Cellist Colin Carr will join the orchestra in Schumann’s Cello Concerto.
Renovations at the Vets continue to make the historic building more user-friendly. Driving past the building on Route 95, you will notice an addition to the side of the building, part of which serves as lobby for the mezzanine and balcony, reducing the congestion in the small upstairs lobby.
Executive Director David Beauchesne announced that plans are underway to install railings in the balcony, words that drew applause from the folks in the “cheap seats.”
Speaking of “cheap seats,” there are many opportunities to attend the Philharmonic that are within everyone’s price range. Group discounts, student tickets, rehearsal nights and the popular Rush Hour Concerts offer great options. Call the Philharmonic box office (248-7000), or go online at www.riphil.org for more information.