SHIFT Festival of American Orchestras | A Harlem Dream

Co-Presented by Washington Performing Arts and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Classical Theater of Harlem
Peter Francis James, director

MENDELSSOHN    A Midsummer Night’s Dream, incidental music, Op. 21 and 61
(arr. Tarkmann)

“The Classical Theatre of Harlem has a long history of blending music and theatre, and the chance to do so with world renowned musicians from Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is an incredible opportunity. We are looking forward to combining our artistic strengths to present one of the world’s great plays, and we are particularly excited to do so with one of our artistic neighbors in Harlem.”  

-Daniel Kaplan, Executive Director of Classical Theater of Harlem

As part of the John F. Kennedy Center and Washington Performing Arts’ third SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras, a weeklong celebration of the vitality, identity, and extraordinary artistry of North American orchestras through an immersive festival experience in the nation’s capital, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Classical Theatre of Harlem will offer a collaborative portrait of the cultural diversity and vitality of New York City through a musical and theatrical performance of Shakespeare’s classical tale A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The performance will include Mendelssohn’s timeless incidental music, arranged for chamber orchestra, in its rightful place within Shakespeare’s timeless play (with some modern adaptations), combining all into a singular theatrical event. Drawing on the universal theme of love’s many caprices, this meditation will offer a specific portrait of Harlem’s rich culture and celebrate this space through a blend of music, theatre, and dance.

As part of its involvement with SHIFT, Orpheus will offer a residency program across two and a half days during its appearance in Washington, D.C., centering around the Orpheus Process, the orchestra’s signature collaborative method. Working with Classical Theatre of Harlem, the orchestra will share with audiences how cooperation can fuel the creative process in any endeavor. An Orpheus Reflections residency will serve D.C.-area people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and their caregivers.     

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