For the week of June 16-22…
“Carmina Burana” and Frank Almond, June 19-21, Marcus Center, 929 N Water St (mso.org)
This weekend, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra welcomes back an old friend as Conductor Emeritus Andreas Delfs leads a spectacular season-ending program. First up, Concertmaster Frank Almond (and his now-famous Lipinski Strad) is soloist in Bruch’s Violin Concerto, one of the most popular pieces in violin repertoire, and one of the greatest showcases for the instrument. Then, the Main Event: Carl Orff’s mighty Carmina Burana, the choral work based on (bawdy) Latin poems composed by medieval German monks (!), and perhaps the single piece most identified with Maestro Delfs’ tenure as MSO Music Director. I saw his first performance of the piece in the season-ending concert in 1998, and this weekend marks the 6th time I will hear Delfs lead the MSO in the cantata. That should tell you something: With a full-scale orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, the Milwaukee Children’s Chorus AND vocal soloists, Carmina is one piece that must be experienced in live performance, regardless of how great your home stereo system sounds! That is why the MSO scheduled it as a special non-subscription season ending concert. Past performances have always been sellouts…I look for a repeat for all 3 performances this weekend!
Greek Fest, June 19-21, State Fair Park (annunciationwi.org)
Next Wednesday, Summerfest begins its 11-day run at Milwaukee’s Lakefront, leading off the annual parade of summer lakefront festivals that includes Festa Italiana, this year celebrating a remarkable 35th anniversary. But before that, over at State Fair Park, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (yes, the one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) presents-ta da!-the 50TH anniversary Greek Fest, the granddaddy of all Milwaukee summer ethnic festivals! And like the previous 49, it promises to offer the usual attractions of music, dance, food (gyros, baklava, lamb dinners, Greek chicken, loukoumades…need I say more??)…and of course, the always-popular midway carnival rides. And oh…did I mention admission is FREE? Opa!
Metro Jam, June 19-20, Manitowoc’s Washington Park (metrojam.org)
This weekend marks the official arrival of summer, and what better way to celebrate than to head up I-43 to Manitowoc for the 37th annual Metro Jam, a festival that’s offered 2 days of great national and regional talent to the cozy Washington park bandshell…and the music is all FREE! Friday’s lineup is capped by Milwaukee’s own American Idol star Naima Adedapo (and the only singer I know named after a John Coltrane song!), and the festival closes Saturday night with Black Crowes founding member and lead guitarist Rich Robinson and his band! Other acts on the lineup include the AJ Ghent Band (think Robert Randolph!), the Americana rock of Pill Hill, the neo-surf sounds of the Revomatics, and much, much more! Click the link above for the full music lineup! Plenty of libations of the food and drink variety are also available (you gotta pay for those, but it’s a fundraiser for the local Jaycees!)…All in all, it’s one of the best block parties one could want! Welcome Summer!