The Richmond Symphony announced its fall season with a mix of in-person concerts, livestreamed shows and open air family-friendly performances to cope with the coronavirus.
“I surely had imagined a quite different beginning,” Valentina Peleggi, the symphony’s first female music director and a native of Italy, said via email. She is taking the reins of the symphony this fall after a worldwide search last year.
“The Richmond Symphony has always been a light and an inspiration for its community, and now more than ever I embrace such a challenging moment with compassion, understanding and determination,” she said.
The season will kick off with a one-day Big Tent Festival at Maymont on Saturday, Sept. 12, supported by the city of Richmond. Roughly 1,000 free tickets will be available, but pre-registration is required. Patrons will sit with their pod/family unit within painted areas in the grass with 6 feet of spacing between pods.
“This will be the first time the orchestra has played together since the pandemic hit,” Peleggi said. “We were together in March when we decided for safety reasons to suspend our live concerts, and we will be back together at this event that marks a new beginning of our path together. It will be an important and emotional moment and I’m very much looking forward to it.”
The new season will include in-person Masterworks concerts at the Carpenter Theatre at the Dominion Energy Center in September, October and November. The capacity of the Carpenter Theatre will be reduced from 1,800 to fewer than 400 to allow 6 feet of distance between seats.
“We are excited to be offering live events and live-stream experiences to connect us together in these isolating times and hope you will be surprised and delighted by the program as it unfolds,” Peleggi said.
The first in-person Masterworks concert, featuring music from American composers like Gershwin and Copland, will be Sept. 18-20. In-person tickets run $28 to $82. Tickets to the livestream option will cost $20.
The Richmond Symphony “test drove” its limited in-person concerts and livestream versions this summer with its summer recital series. In-person tickets were limited to 40 people in the 200-seat Gottwald Playhouse and quickly sold out for the series. The livestream option attracted hundreds of new subscribers, according to the symphony, with the option to rewatch the performance as an added bonus.
The second open-air concert this fall will be held at Pocahontas State Park on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. featuring the Commonwealth Bluegrass Band with the Richmond Symphony.
Other Masterworks concerts will include music inspired by Mozart on Oct. 16-18 and works by Strauss, Wagner and Schubert on Nov. 13-15. Both will have in-person and livestream options.
To meet the demand for in-person seating, additional performances on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon will be added. Friday evening performances will be less than 80 minutes and will be presented without intermission.
Performers onstage will also be sufficiently distanced, according to the symphony, with musicians spaced 10 feet apart.
Livestream tickets will go on sale Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. In-person tickets will go on sale Aug. 31 at 10 a.m.
“We are excited to bring music on stage once again and have risen to the challenge of reimagining the program to make the live experience meaningful and enjoyable while as safe as possible,” Peleggi said.
The symphony will be announcing in more detail more concerts in September. All concert programs are subject to change as the symphony will continue to follow guidelines as they evolve under CDC, state and city directives.
For more information on tickets, call (804) 788-1212 or visit www.richmond symphony.com.