Arts and Entertainment

Eastside Symphony sets two big performances

Redmond resident Maestro Alexei Girsh is the conductor of Eastside Symphony, which is celebrating its 20th year with two big performances this fall.  - Bruce J. Kelley photo
Redmond resident Maestro Alexei Girsh is the conductor of Eastside Symphony, which is celebrating its 20th year with two big performances this fall.
— image credit: Bruce J. Kelley photo

The Eastside Symphony is celebrating its 20th year with two big performances this fall.

At 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, the symphony collaborates with The Concert Opera of Seattle to present a concert form of Giuseppe Verdi's Italian opera "Rigoletto." Advance tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com are $17 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Tickets at the door are $20 and $15.

Next up is the Eastside Symphony's annual holiday concert, the symphony's only free event of the season. The holiday concert is at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13.

Both are at the Redmond High School Performing Arts Center, 17272 NE 104th St.

Recession or not, "we've had no decline in attendance," even at concerts with paid admission, said Eastside Symphony president Jeff Evans.

"It's still a cheap date," he chuckled.

And the buzz about Eastside Symphony is mostly through word-of-mouth.

"It's mostly from free publicity," said symphony vice-president Valentina Giovannetti. "People that do come, they're kind of hooked. It's just getting them there the first time and they're surprised that a community orchestra can deliver such quality. We also have a lot of support from friends and family — and we see ourselves as a family, too, coming together to have fun. The atmosphere isn't stressful. People see the joy that comes through our playing music."

And that includes people of all ages and from all walks of life — from high school and college students to adult professionals and retirees. They're united by a love of music and a desire to spread that good feeling around.

Gino Luchetti, a Concert Opera of Seattle member who is singing the role of the Duke of Mantua in "Rigoletto," said there is interest from Seattle's Italian community in this particular performance, along with other people seeking affordable opera experiences.

Operas are traditionally expensive to stage and produce, but the music, even without lavish staging, stands up by itself and "the singers do interact and emotion comes through," explained Luchetti.

While always hoping to expand its audiences, Eastside Symphony welcomes newcomers who wish to audition for the group, as well. Rehearsals are typically held on Thursday evenings at Redmond High School.

For more information about Eastside Symphony performances or membership, visit www.eastsidesymphony.org.

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