By Marilyn Delk
Well, this will be fun! When DCCA annually presents Toledo Symphony Orchestra to conclude its season of Artists Series concerts, I always count on the prestigious ensemble playing an entertaining, enriching and interesting program; past presentations include music from the Harry Potter movies and a Judy Garland tribute as well as performances of more classical material. This year, TSO will be taking you on a musical journey aboard the fabled Orient Express when they perform their musical magic at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville on Friday, May 27; the concert begins at 8 p.m.
The storied Orient Express was a long-distance passenger train service created in 1883 that operated until 2009 traveling the length of continental Europe, but the initial run was a railway trip of 1,243 miles on a “Train Eclair deluxe” or “lightning luxury train.” The train consisted of 4 sleeping coaches, two baggage cars, and a restaurant coach where the menu included oysters, soup with Italian pasta, turbot with green sauce, chicken a la chasseur, fillet of beef with chateau potatoes, chaud-froid of game animals, lettuce, chocolate pudding, and a dessert buffet. New iterations of the brand are constantly being launched, with one planned Orient Express service utilizing 17 historic carriages to travel from Paris to Istanbul.
The rich and glamorous history of the Orient Express has been memorialized in numerous books and movies; a short list includes Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Ian Fleming’s From Russia with Love, Graham Greene’s Travels with My Aunt, and The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux as well as a short story by Ray Bradbury and Bill Bryson’s Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe in which the author chronicles riding the rundown and neglected train in 1973. Of course Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express has seen many incarnations, including the recent film version starring and directed by Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh. Television shows utilizing the train as a significant plot point include a 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode entitled “Turtles on the Orient Express” and an installment of Star Trek: The Next Generation which takes place on a Holodeck representation of the Orient Express.
TSO, formed in 1943 and incorporated as the Toledo Orchestra Association, Inc. in 1951, will be conducted at this concert by Steven Jarvi, who has been praised by the Miami Herald for his “uncommonly expressive and detailed” performances, and described as an “elegant and decisive” conductor by The Wall Street Journal. A graduate of the University of Michigan as well as the Peabody Institute, Mr. Jarvi is currently Music Director of the Dearborn Symphony and has appeared as a guest conductor throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe; additionally the award-winning conductor has performed with several popular Grammy Award winning artists including Idina Menzel, Lyle Lovett, Art Garfunkel, and Kenny G.
The show will include music by Beethoven and Bartok plus polkas and waltzes by Strauss, as well as songs from Broadway’s My Fair Lady plus much more. The program description provided by TSO explains that concert-goers will be taken on a musical travelogue along the route of the famed train, then issues this unique invitation: “While we can’t promise an entirely murder-free experience, we can promise beauty, humor, and a sonic evocation of the golden age of luxury travel.” To that I say “All aboard!”
Tickets for this adventurous show cost $40 for adults, $20 for students. To reserve yours, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or www.DarkeCountyArts.org, or visit DCCA’s office located within Greenville Public Library; office hours during the week prior to the concert are Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased the night of the show at the box office within St. Clair Memorial Hall, which opens 1 hour prior to the performance.