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Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra (SCSO) to Perform at the Sacramento Community Theater

02/10/2016 12:16PM ● Published by David Norby

Carmina Burana – Then and Now

“The SCSO owns Carmina Burana!”  This was the review immediately following the outstanding performance by the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra on their 2003 East Coast debut of Carmina Burana at Carnegie Hall.  Three standing ovations is no small feat in the music world, but this New York audience knew excellence when they saw it, so stand and applaud they did!

The Carmina trilogy of 2003 included not only the performance at Carnegie Hall, but back here at home in Sacramento’s own Community Center Theater and UC Davis’ brand new Mondavi Center.  

The SCSO performance of Carmina put Sacramento on the musical world map and the first international tour soon followed with performances in Prague, Budapest, and Vienna. Since then, they have performed Carmina seven times and are in rehearsals now for the next performance scheduled for March 5 at the Sacramento Community Theater.

What is the excitement of Carmina Burana all about?  Literally translated as Songs of Beuren, the over 1000 songs and poems discovered were originally penned in Latin, German, and medieval French by defrocked clergy and otherwise fun-loving, ‘worldly’ sorts of the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. These poems were not discovered until 1803 in the library of the Benedictine Abbey just outside of Munich where the SCSO performed in 2003. It was not until 1934 that German composer Carl Orff chose 24 of the secular poems and set them to what he termed a “scenic cantata,” a choral and orchestral masterpiece that depicted tales of love, springtime, gluttony, and a bit of debauchery.

At 42, Orff became an overnight celebrity with the 1937 premier of Carmina in Frankfurt, Germany. He was quoted as saying, "Everything I have written to date, and which you have, unfortunately, printed, can be destroyed. With Carmina Burana, my collected works begin."

The SCSO’s 2003 stunning premier of Carmina at Carnegie Hall included the New England Chamber Ensemble, Carnegie’s resident orchestra, as well as the Manhattan (NYC) Children’s Chorus.  This year’s Sacramento performance features world-class soloists: soprano Shawnette Sulker, tenor Brian Staufenbiel, and baritone Lee Poulis.  The large SCSO Team for the March 5 performance will be sure to please as the 160+ members of the SCSO, along with 60 members of the Sacramento State University Chorus, 40 members of the Sacramento Children’s Chorus, and a full 62-piece orchestra, promise to deliver the spine-chilling and soul-stirring rendition of Carmina Burana

Along with the performance of Carmina, the March 5 repertoire will also include the American Premier of Jonathan Dove’s Psalms for Leo, performed entirely in Hebrew, Karl Jenkins’ Songs of Sanctuary, and Josef Suk’s Towards a New Life.  The night’s event will represent composers from Germany, England, Wales, and Czek Republic (respectively.) A dynamic not-to-be-missed pre-concert talk by Conductor Donald Kendrick will set the scene for the evening and projected supertitle translations will add to both the enjoyment and understanding of the music performed.

Tickets sales are robust and early purchases are encouraged to guarantee seats.  Ticket prices range from $35-$55 with a 50% discount for students.  The SCSO is also offering a limited special “SCSO VIP Experience” and is available to student groups of 10 or more and includes admittance to the Friday night rehearsal, exclusive pre-concert meeting with conductor and artistic director Don Kendrick, a commemorative name badge, and a Carmina Burana CD. You can find out more at or by calling the SCSO office at (916) 536-9065.

Image and article by Jeannie Brown, SCSO Director of Marketing & PR

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