UGA Symphony Orchestra closes March with Falla, Mendelssohn, Mozart

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The UGA Symphony Orchestra (UGASO) performs works from Manuel de Falla, Mendelssohn and Mozart in Hodgson Concert Hall on Thursday, March 31, at 8 p.m.

Conducted by Mark Cedel, director of the UGASO, and assistant conductor Claudine Gamache, doctoral conducting student, the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s premier orchestral ensemble opens its program with the overture to Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.”

One of Mozart’s comic operas, “The Marriage of Figaro” is a cornerstone of opera repertoire and, while distinctly different from Mozart’s other operas, shares “the composer’s extraordinary insight into human emotion and human weakness,” according to Steven Ledbetter, who wrote the program notes of the UGASO concert.

“It is an understanding that allows [Mozart] to create fully rounded human beings, characters that in other hands might only be cardboard stereotypes, and to reveal their hurts and their humanity even in scenes that make us laugh at their foibles or sympathize with their sorrows,” wrote Ledbetter.

Manuel de Falla’s Suite from “El Amor Brujo,” which premiered in 1915, sets the stage for the ballet’s tale of young lovers vexed by a jealous spirit and the plot they hatch to be rid of it and pursue their love. The ballet’s origin is unique.

“This was first conceived as a specialty piece for a gifted gypsy singer and dancer named Pastora Imperio,” wrote Ledbetter. “Falla became acquainted with Pastora and her family of Andalusian gypsies and undertook a thorough study of the forms of music that we call flamenco.”

The final piece of the night is Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, often referred to as the Scottish Symphony. Mendelssohn began writing the symphony in 1829, following a trip to Edinburgh and the palace of Holyrood, which is closely associated with Mary Queen of Scots. 

The legend of the queen’s relationship with Italian lutenist David Rizzio, who was murdered by order of the king on the basis of that unconfirmed affair, mingled with the impressive visuals of the palace itself and led Mendelssohn to write back to his family.

“I believe I found the beginning of my Scotch Symphony there today.”

Tickets are $10 each or $5 with a UGA student ID and are available at, 706-542-4400 or by visiting the Performing Arts Center box office.