Victoria Symphony music director Maestro Christian Kluxen conducts during the annual Symphony Splash last year in the Inner Harbour. The event is set for Aug. 5 this year, following a series of mid-summer concerts around the region. Facebook

SUMMER OF CLASSICS: Victoria Symphony concerts heat up July and August

Venues range from venerable cathedral to two different waterfront barges

The music of Ludwig von Beethoven and other classical music giants figures heavily in a series of upcoming summer performances by the Victoria Symphony Orchestra.

For supporters accustomed to watching these talented musicians play at the Royal Theatre, four concerts in varied venues slated for the end of July and early August will give a wider range of audiences a chance to hear them, perhaps for the first time as a group.

READ: Irish Tenors an early Christmas present for Victoria Symphony supporters

They’ll start things off just up the street at majestic Christ Church Cathedral, where The Best of Beethoven will be performed July 25 in a sacred space blessed with some of the best natural acoustics in the city. Associate Conductor Giuseppe Pietraroia leads the VSO for the Wednesday concert, which gets underway at 7:30 p.m.

Two nights later they’ll be on the outdoor stage at Butchart Gardens, under the guidance of former longtime music director, Maestra Tania Miller. With the hillside seating area situated adjacent to the rose garden, it makes for a romantic setting that’s hard to beat. The concert features Tchaikovsky’s beloved “Symphony No. 5” and is included with the price of admission to the Gardens and begins at 8 p.m.

The Saturday afternoon performance that week (June 28) offers a more casual atmosphere, with Beer and Beethoven on the Ogden Point Barge. As part of the VS Happy Hour Series, guests enjoy a 45-minute symphony concert at the water’s edge next to the breakwater. The $25 ticket includes your first beverage; beer cider or wine. The event runs 4 to 6 p.m.

It’s back to the cathedral for the Aug. 1 performance (7:30 p.m.), A la Francais, with guest conductor Alastair Willis leading the orchestra. Musical excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen, Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite and Debussy’s Petite Suite, as well as Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite are on the evening’s program. Tickets are $25 each, or if combined with the earlier Christ Church concert, $40 for both.

And of course the summer would not be complete without the annual Symphony Splash extravaganza, set this year for Sunday, Aug. 5. The event attracts upwards of 40,000 people to the legislature lawns, the Causeway and in kayaks on the water in front of the barge. The Family Zone is open on the Inner Harbour site between 1 and 4 p.m., after which opening act Dock Side Drive will perform on the barge.

Music director Maestro Christian Kluxen and the symphony open their portion of the evening at 7:30, with young soloists to perform with the orchestra. This renowned event is by donation – volunteers will be circulating through the crowd with buckets. Tradition sees the Victoria Symphony perform Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture to wind up the evening at approximately 10 p.m., with a major fireworks display helping crown the finale in style.

For tickets to any of the previous events, visit victoriasymphony.ca or call 250-385-6515.

editor@mondaymag.com

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