Butler Symphony Orchestra to Perform with Opera Soloist Angela Brown During ArtsFest


Murder, scandal and drama will take center stage for the Butler Symphony Orchestra’s next concert tomorrow.

The concert includes “Scheherazade” and highlights from “Porgy and Bess,” featuring operatic soloist Angela Brown.

Brown travels extensively and has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, the National Opera of Paris, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and many more arts organizations.

She also has received recognition for her solo show, “Opera…from a Sistah’s Point of View.”

Jessica Robinson, senior oboist in the BSO, described “Scheherazade” as a piece that goes perfectly with the “Fables, Fairy Tales and Physics” theme of ArtsFest.

“It’s about a queen who was with a king who was infamous for sleeping with his wife and then killing her later,” Robinson said.

But this queen, Scheherazade, survived by telling a story and then finishing it the next night to always keep her alive.

“That fits in with the fables part,” Robinson said, “which also goes along with Gershwin’s story.”

George Gershwin’s opera “Porgy and Bess” also has themes of love and murder.

Senior violin player Graham Emberton said Gershwin’s pieces are not as intense as one might expect.

“It’s easy listening,” Emberton said. “If you don’t know anything about a typical opera, this would be a good one to go to.”

Robinson also said audiences would be able to understand the music.

“Gershwin is more contemporary,” Robinson said. “He’s a very famous composer that more people like to listen to.”

Angela Brown will be the soloist for these pieces.

“(Brown) has appeared in the Metropolitan Opera and is a big name. She’s also from Indianapolis,” Emberton said. “This is a great opportunity to see her.”

Emberton described “Porgy and Bess” as a big opera, but in this performance the orchestra will be playing selections alongside the choir.

As far as the concert and ArtsFest go as a whole, there is a lot of excitement.

“I’ve been pushing this concert because it does include a vocal piece so for people who aren’t used to going to concerts there’s a more animated visual aspect,” Robinson said.

Emberton said he found the entire idea of the festival stimulating.

“I think it’s interesting to weave all the arts in a way that’s not typical,” he said.

“There’s a very high quality of talent going on that’s much more diverse and applicable to people, in my opinion,” Robinson said.

ArtsFest will continue through the entire month of April, while “Scheherazade” and “Porgy and Bess” will be performed April 3 at the Schrott Center. Tickets are available though the ArtsFest website, www.butlerartsfest.com.