Fall in love with the iconic tragic story of Romeo and Juliet through the stunning and sorrowful music of Tchaikovsky.
Soar with us in the gorgeous heights of romantic obsession and fall to the deepest lows of betrayal with Berlioz’s
bombastic Symphonie fantastique. Gushing with the intoxicating emotions of love, heartbreak, and obsession – this is an
unparalleled concert experience! Masterworks IV will be presented thanks to the generosity of our sponsors First
Community Bank, Treasure State Internet & Telegraph, and AARP Montana!
“The orchestra is the soloist” said Maestro Allan R. Scott about the Helena Symphony’s upcoming Masterworks IV
concert featuring the iconic masterpiece Tchaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet. “We all indulge, we all can be dramatic and over
the top, this is why composers and story tellers tap into this. From films, poems, paintings, plays, and operas, they are
tapping into things we are all capable of feeling or doing, in particular young love. There seems to be nothing else that
matters, and Shakespeare captures it so beautifully.”
Between his First and Second Symphonies, Tchaikovsky was influenced to compose Romeo and Juliet by the
request of fellow Russian composer Mili Balakirev, a member of the so-called “Mighty Handful” or “The Five.”
Modeled on his own Overture to King Lear, Balakirev decided that Tchaikovsky should write a Shakespeare overture and
Balakirev supervised Tchaikovsky in the three revisions of the work.
The final outcome was a poetic abstraction of the drama – far more of a musical synopsis of the play than a traditional
overture. The melancholy opening chords, so reminiscent of liturgical chant, clearly represent Friar Lawrence and his
priestly motive to ensure peace prevails between the two families. The tension in the dark opening represents the feuding
families and the resulting sword battle that erupts as the orchestra pounds out percussive effects. In contrast, the innocent
beauty of the young couple’s love emerges with the violas and English horn introducing the well-known love-theme that
musically depicts the famous balcony scene in Shakespeare’s play.
In addition to being Tchaikovsky’s first major work and success, Romeo & Juliet is a mirror into the composer’s own
view of life and love. The center of the work is an idea that plagued Tchaikovsky all his life – love as ideal purity and
beauty, which is often crushed by hostile fate, continued melancholy, insecurity, and depression.
A medley of romantic idealism, blasphemy, witchcraft, and the macabre, the five movement Symphonie fantastique is
a tone poem that depicts the artist’s obsession with love coupled with morbid visions. Bearing the subtitle “Episode in the
Life of an Artist,” Symphonie fantastique was first issued with an elaborate narration corresponding to each movement.
The narration concerns an artist who is deeply jealous that his lover has betrayed him.
Berlioz’s symphony tell the story of how the artist poisons himself to the point of death, experiences bizarre visions,
murders his lover in a jealous rage and then is sentenced and executed for the crime. It tells the story of “an artist gifted
with a lively imagination” who has “poisoned himself with opium” in the “depths of despair” because of “hopeless love.”
Berlioz captures the lover with a reoccurring theme (called an id e fixe – performed by the E-flat clarinet, oboe, and
flute) that appears in passionate scenes and haunting recollections.
HOMESTREAM YOUR HELENA SYMPHONY PRESENTED BY AARP MONTANA
The Helena Symphony is especially grateful to AARP Montana, who secured the naming rights to HomeStream Your
Helena Symphony in 2020. “AARP Montana is so excited to help bring the artistic excellence of the Helena Symphony’s
music-making to people in the safety of their homes,” says Tim Summers, State Director of AARP Montana.
The Helena Symphony is elated to announce we will continue our partnership with AARP Montana to bring
HomeStream Your Helena Symphony once again to thousands across Montana and the globe. Throughout Season
66, AARP Montana and the Helena Symphony live streamed eleven Masterworks, Non-Series, and Education concerts
into people’s homes and classrooms with no pay wall. Through this unique collaboration, the Helena Symphony brought
the audience a new perspective on the concert hall experience and a platform to unite our community although we could
not be together in person. This Season will allow Helena Symphony patrons to enjoy all six Masterworks concerts and
Mozart by Candlelight, in person or from the comfort of their own home.
These live streams can be viewed on a smart phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computers, smart televisions, and
televisions connected to the internet – or anywhere you have access to YouTube. Most televisions offer YouTube as an
app or can be attached to another computing device to watch on the big screen. While nothing can replace the experience
of attending a live performance, we feel that the live stream offers an exciting and new way to enjoy a concert. Each
stream will be shot by 6-7 cameras and the camera crew will be able to operate within the Orchestra, offering close-up
shots of musicians, front-side views of Maestro Scott, and visuals that are not possible by sitting in the auditorium. There
will also be a pre-concert host, and short backstage interviews throughout the evening.
There is no charge for the HomeStream Your Helena Symphony presented by AARP Montana, which will be
available on YouTube, the Helena Symphony’s website, and the Symphony’s Facebook page. There will be an option
available online and through Venmo to donate to the Helena Symphony.
In addition to the substantial discounts on season tickets, subscribers also receive the new Bring A Friend Pass, The Art
of Listening Newsletter, first access to Non-Series Concerts, and several other benefits. Single concert tickets can also be
purchased ($55-$15 plus a $5 transaction fee) online at www.helenasymphony.org, by calling the Symphony Box Office
(406.442.1860), or visiting the Symphony Box Office located on the Walking Mall at the Placer Building (21 N. Last
Chance Gulch, Suite 100) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.