<span>Ana Victoria Luperi&nbsp;</span>
Music and Opera reporting on is made possible by The University of North Texas College of Music.
Select the link below to discover more.

Review: Cinderella | Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra | Bass Performance Hall

Clarinet Gain

John B Hedges creates a beautiful clarinet concerto in tribute to Yma Sumac, and the Fort Worth Symphony and Ana Victoria Luperi do it justice.

published Saturday, February 4, 2012

Who was Yma Sumac and what did she have to do with the clarinet?  

This question was resoundingly answered on Friday evening at Fort Worth's Bass Performance Hall when the Fort Worth Symphony's composer in residence, John B Hedges, forever joined the two into one with his new composition: Fantasía sobre Yma Sumac for Clarinet and Orchestra.

Sumac was an exotic Peruvian singer who was able to sing notes so high that dogs in the area covered their ears, and then descend into the depths of a basso profundo. She also sang a range of styles from opera to Incan folk music and lounge songs. She claimed to be a princess directly descended from Atahualpa, the last ruler of the Incan empire before the inconvenient arrival of Pizarro and the Spanish army. She even played an Incan princess in the movies, most notably the 1954 Secret of the Incas. Music Director Miguel Harth-Bedoya played a short selection of Sumac singing before the piece was performed, because her voice and style are difficult to describe with mere words.

Hedges' piece, really a clarinet concerto, pays tribute to Sumac in all of her various aspects. Fort Worth Symphony Principal Clarinetist, Ana Victoria Luperi, took on the persona of Sumac and gave a dazzling performance right from the moment she walked on stage. She was wearing an eye-popping gown, a tribute to the lounge singer part of Sumac's résumé, that was inspired by the brightly colored fabrics associated with South America. It was tightly fitted except for a pleated kick skirt that started at the knees, and it was gorgeous. Such a contrast to the all-in-black attired orchestra!

The music was also highly colored. Hedges makes amazing demands on the clarinetist and Luperi turned in a stunning performance. All of Sumac's unique abilities were on display; great leaps, wide ranges, operatic and lounge styles, folk tunes, virtuosic riffs and even Latin-flavored dance. Her weird vocal effects were matched by flutter-tonguing and over-blowing the clarinet. The FWSO was also challenged by Hedges' music and they played the vibrant and fragmented score with energy and accuracy. All in all, it was a marvelous piece, thrillingly performed, that brought a rousing response from the audience.

Clarinetists are desperately in need of new concerti. Other than the one by Mozart (that Gregory Raden played so beautifully with the Dallas Symphony last week), you'd be hard pressed to come up with many more. Hedges has done the instrument a great service by writing this piece. It is modern and up-to-date without assaulting the audience. It has a fusion of classical, folk and pop elements that are both intellectually challenging and crowd-pleasing at the same time. It should be welcomed into the repertoire with a ticker-tape parade.

Also on the program are two works from opposite ends of the Russian school. Borodin's Symphony No. 2 in B minor and an extensive suite from Prokofiev's ballet, Cinderella. On Friday, the FWSO only played two of the fast movements from the Borodin, but they will perform the entire work for the rest of the run.

Borodin's symphony is a rarity, but deserves to be heard more often. Harth-Bedoya made a convincing case for the piece and I regretted not hearing all of it.

Prokofiev's ballet score is not the masterpiece that his Romeo and Juliet is, but it is still vintage Prokofiev and has many wonderful moments. In both of these selections, Harth-Bedoya was in top form. He was in complete control of himself, the orchestra and the music. None of the grandstanding that can mar his performance was on display. When he concentrates and conducts the orchestra instead of the audience, he shows the great ability and natural musicianship that he has in abundance.

It would have helped the audience follow along in the ballet if they had projected supertitles giving out the scenes of the ballet. They are listed in the program, but it was dark and the type is small. Playing a ballet score is a perfect opportunity to add some multi-media enhancement to the symphony experience. Thanks For Reading

View the Article Slideshow
Click or Swipe to close
Clarinet Gain
John B Hedges creates a beautiful clarinet concerto in tribute to Yma Sumac, and the Fort Worth Symphony and Ana Victoria Luperi do it justice.
by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :