For the second program in its 2019/20 season, the Santa Barbara Symphony initially planned to add a new instrument: the voice of Croatian soprano vocalist Lana Kos. While Ms. Kos was meant to sing on two of the three numbers during “Kabaretti Conducts Mozart & Mahler,” the symphony’s upcoming two performances at the Granada Theatre on November 16 and 17, the News-Press received word that Ms. Kos had fallen ill and that the ensemble would be performing without her. According to a statement from the symphony, it is working on identifying a replacement singer for Ms. Kos and the concert will take place as scheduled.
Conducted by Santa Barbara Symphony artistic director Nir Kabaretti, the orchestra will play through a classic piece by each of the concert’s eponymous composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Gustav Mahler. Speaking highly of the latter composer’s sophisticated writing talent, Mr. Kabaretti said Mr. Mahler’s symphonies are of such a high caliber and of such wide appeal that the Santa Barbara Symphony tries to incorporate his music into each of its seasons.
“Mahler for musicians and audiences alike is at the top of symphonic writing,” he said.
Closing out the concert program, Mr. Mahler’s “Symphony No. 4 in G major for Soprano and Orchestra” demonstrates how the composer liked including voices in orchestras. According to Mr. Kabaretti, the composer sought influences outside the symphonic realm when crafting pieces that utilized singing. In the case of “Symphony No. 4,” the soprano vocal part Ms. Kos’ replacement will sing during the final movement takes its lyrics from a poem that Mr. Mahler particularly liked.
Ms. Kos’ initial involvement with the concert informed the selection of its opening number, as Mr. Kabaretti wanted her to sing more than just the final part of the Mahler symphony. He ultimately chose Mozart’s motet “Exsultate Jubilate,” described in the event program as lyrically religious and “joyous in mood.” Mr. Kabaretti told the News-Press he hopes the audience finds the piece’s sonic blend of orchestra and soprano voice beautiful and enriching.
Between the Mozart and Mahler numbers, the replacement vocalist and the symphony’s non-string instrumentalists will fall away for a rendition of contemporary composer Julia Wolfe’s “Fuel.” Mr. Kabaretti expressed excitement at featuring a piece by a female composer, which he called “something that doesn’t happen too often in this industry.” Unlike the bookending pieces, the concert’s middle section will include al visual element. According to Mr. Kabaretti, when Ms. Wolfe was commissioned to write “Fuel” an accompanying film directed by filmmaker Bill Morrison was commissioned concurrently. While the string section makes its way through Ms. Wolfe’s composition, Mr. Morrison’s film will play behind the orchestra and enhance the piece’s theme of how fuel impacts one’s everyday life.Tickets for “Kabaretti Conducts Mozart & Mahler” can be purchased online at the Granada Theatre website, www.granadasb.org. The November 16 concert will begin at 8 p.m. and the November 17 concert will begin at 3:00 p.m.