Music lovers are in for a treat as Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra (SNSO) teams with Southern Utah University Choirs to present works of Giuseppi Verdi on Saturday, Feb. 22, 8:30 p.m., at the Casa Blanca Showroom in Mesquite. The concert will also feature selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.” SNSO, under the direction of Dr. Selmer Spitzer celebrates its sixth year of performing outstanding concerts for our community.
SNSO is truly a community orchestra, comprised of active working and retired professional musicians, local nonprofessional musicians, music instructors, and accomplished young music students. Dr. Selmer Spitzer formed SNSO when he and his wife Phyllis moved to the Mesquite area after he retired from his career as a noted university music director. His leadership has gathered over sixty musicians who have coalesced into a fine orchestra. Spitzer reaches out to colleagues in nearby cities and universities to recruit featured soloists for many SNSO performances. Each concert is a lively, diverse presentation, performed to a sold-out house.
This month, Dr. Krystal Rickard McCoy, brings Southern Utah University Choirs to perform with SNSO. The combined Opus Select Choir and Concert Choir of SUU makes its Nevada debut in this concert, singing works from “Aida” and “Nabucco.” In preparation of this concert, Dr. Spitzer recently traveled to Cedar City to conduct their collegiate orchestra. He has highest compliments for SUU’s music program and the abilities of this ensemble that has performed extensively throughout the western U.S., Canada, and England.
Dr. McCoy, now in her third year as Assistant Professor and Director of Choral Activities at SUU is thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with SNSO. She holds degrees from Bucknell University, Westminster Choir College, and Boston University. She has worked in high school and collegiate environments and has founded and directed community choral organizations for school children and adults.
In performing compositions by Verdi, SNSO highlights the work of a legendary Italian opera composer. Born in 1813, Verdi was a musical prodigy as a child. He wrote “Nabucco” in 1842. His career took him from Italy throughout England and France, later writing an opera for the Imperial Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia, enticed there by a $60,000 commission. Later, he composed “Aida” under commission from the government of Egypt, as a celebration for the opening of the Suez Canal.
Two of his best-known operas, “Rigoletto” and “La Traviata,” were products of his middle life. His operas were usually based on the dramatic lives of historical characters, many themed with the travails of women caused by wayward transgressions, and sometimes promoting the popular nationalism of the times in Italy.
British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, one of the most famous composers of the twentieth century, wrote “Jesus Christ Superstar,” with Tim Rice. Webber created two of the longest-running musicals, “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera,” along with a number of other memorable musical productions that continue to excite and entertain audiences. His works such as “Evita” are the operas of the modern era.
Tickets for this exceptional program are available at the Casa Blanca Showroom box office. Reserved seats at $17, and VIP seating starts at $22. Tickets can also be purchased by calling Star Tickets, 1-800-585-3737. Advance ticketing is advised.