Symphony offering has something for everyone


POSTED: Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Choosing the evening's entertainment is always a challenge in my family. My little boy and I love to watch “;guy films.”;

These I loosely define as any story that includes large military battles, especially ones in which the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. My wife and daughter, on the other hand, enjoy what my aging bachelor friends call “;chick flicks.”; These are movies about love, friendship, romance and other touchy-feely sorts of topics.






        Honolulu Symphony

» Place: Blaisdell Concert Hall


» When: 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday


» Tickets: $19 to $70 general (including service fees); 20 percent discount for military and seniors; $10 for students. Available at Ticketmaster outlets, (800) 745-3000; Macy's; and


» Call: 792-2000 (weekdays) or 524-0815, ext. 245 (evenings)


As you might imagine, deciding on the evening's feature film can be more tedious than negotiating a U.N. peace treaty. Luckily for us, the Honolulu Symphony is in town, and this weekend's program offers something the whole family will appreciate.

The concert opens with Mikhail Glinka's “;Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture,”; a spirited piece that showcases the lightning-fast fingers of the violinists. The overture is part of an opera based on a poem by Alexander Pushkin. The poem reads like a fairy tale complete with knights, evil sorcerers, magicians and battles with mythical creatures.

Following Glinka's fairy tale is Sergei Prokofiev's “;Romeo and Juliet,”; a musical retelling of Shakespeare's quintessential love story. It is the tale of a lovesick boy and a starry-eyed young girl who fall in love in spite of a feud between their noble families. Prokofiev originally composed the piece as a complete ballet. Due to the popularity of the music alone, he arranged a version specifically for concert performances.

THE SYMPHONY will close the program with a powerful rendition of Tchaikovsky's “;1812 Overture.”; In this, his most popular masterpiece, Tchaikovsky tells the real-life story of the Battle of Borodino. Napoleon had invaded Russia with more than 700,000 French soldiers. Vastly outgunned and overpowered, the Russian army took a final, desperate stand against the French on Sept. 7, 1812, at Borodino, a city 75 miles west of Moscow.

Even by modern standards, the battle was one of staggering proportions. It is estimated that 100,000 lives were lost. While there was no absolute victor in the battle, Napoleon withdrew the following day. He had failed to destroy the Russian army.

Tchaikovsky's score is best known for its use of artillery cannons and ringing chimes at the climax of the piece. For indoor performances, where cannons aren't readily available, bass drum and tam-tam usually replace cannon fire.

Loaded with action, fantasy and romance, the Honolulu Symphony season finale has something for everyone. I hope that you will consider making a trip to the concert hall this weekend. My family will most certainly be there, and we look forward to sharing an evening of great stories and beautiful music.

Dan Padilla is a violinist with the Honolulu Symphony and staff writer for