Carmina Burana brings symphonic seasons to thundering close

Carl Orff’s masterpiece performed May 11 in Kalispell and May 17-19 in Bozeman

On Stage

Two of Montana’s symphony orchestras are tuning up to present the spellbinding Carmina Burana this month.

Acclaimed soprano Ashley Fabian performs in both Glacier and Bozeman Symphonies productions of Carmina Burana.
Acclaimed soprano Ashley Fabian performs in both Glacier and Bozeman symphonies’ productions of Carmina Burana.Photo © Bella Saville Photography

Glacier Symphony and Chorale, with local favorite Mike Eldred and esteemed soloists Alex Boyd and Ashley Fabian, invites the audience “to immerse yourself in the breathtaking world” of Carmina Burana during the season finale, May 11 at the Wachholz College Center at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell.

A week later the Bozeman Symphony will join forces with the Bozeman Symphonic Choir and Montana State Youth Chorale to present the spectacular choral masterpiece – Carl Orff’s infamous ode to love, drink, and living life to the fullest – May 17-19 at Willson Auditorium in Bozeman.

Instantly recognizable thanks to its use in countless movies and commercials, a live Carmina is one of classical music’s most spellbinding and immersive experiences. From the explosive opening to the intimate and haunting “In Trutina,” every note resonates with intensity and emotion.

Glacier Symphony Music Director John Zoltek is at the podium for the symphony’s Kalispell production, which begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. He describes the work as a “booming season finale,” best known for the thundering “O Fortuna” that opens the piece.

“But Orff’s masterpiece is much more than its opening chorus,” writes Zoltek. The work “serves as the guiding thread for three voice soloists, a full chorale and large orchestra.”

Music Director Norman Huynh conducts the Bozeman program, which features the symphony alongside renowned vocal soloists Ashley Fabian, soprano; Andrew Owens, tenor; and Christòpheren Nomura, baritone. The Bozeman Symphonic Choir, under the direction of Maren Marchesini, will be featured in this massive choral work, with text drawn from the 13th century medieval poem Carmina Burana.

In Kalispell: Saturday’s performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Wachholz College Center. Children under 18 are free (call in advance, adult pricing starts at $39, and tickets for college students start at $15. Call 406-407-7000 or order online.

In Bozeman: Performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at the Willson Auditorium, 404 West Main Street in downtown Bozeman. Adult tickets start at $29 and discounted student tickets (K-12 and college) are available. Order online or by calling the office at 406-585-9774.