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Beethoven’s Eroica

April 6, 2019 at 8:00 pm

The Akron Symphony Orchestra brings to life Beethoven’s Eroica, which was the composer's favorite of his own symphonies.

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Beethoven’s Eroica


April 6, 2019
8:00 pm
$4.00 – $60.00
Event Category:


E.J. Thomas Hall
198 Hill Street
Akron, OH 44325 United States
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The Eroica Symphony bursts with the revolutionary spirit of its original dedicatee, Napoleon. In it, Beethoven uses broad strokes of sound to reveal what it means to be alive in a way that Leonard Bernstein once compared to “Thor wielding his hammer.”

Described as an extraordinarily innovative and ambitious composition, Eroica was selected as the greatest symphony of all time in a 2016 survey of 151 conductors worldwide by BBC Music Magazine.

The evening will also feature Beethoven’s Mass in C, with the Akron Symphony Chorus and soloists Angela Mortellaro (soprano), Kimberly Lauritsen (alto), Timothy Culver (tenor) and Brian Keith Johnson (bass) joining the Orchestra for a popular piece from the composer’s Middle Period.

A Preview from the Podium, featuring Maestro Wilkins discussing the evening’s program, will begin at 7 p.m.

The performance will take place at The University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, which is located at 198 Hill Street. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.

Christopher Wilkins, conductor
Akron Symphony Chorus
Marie Bucoy-Calavan, Chorus Director
Angela Mortellaro, soprano
Kim Lauritsen, alto
Timothy Culver, tenor
Brian Keith Johnson, bass

Beethoven Mass in C, Op. 86
 Symphony No. 3, Eroica Op. 55

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Did You Know?

Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony was named the greatest symphony of all time in a 2016 survey of 151 of the world’s greatest conductors. (Source: The Guardian)

Beethoven originally wanted the piece we know now as the Eroica Symphony to be a memorial to the heroic achievements of Napoleon, a ruler who the composer hoped would go on to inspire Europe to a humanist, libertarian, egalitarian revolution. (Source: The Guardian)

The Eroica Symphony represents a turning point not only in Beethoven’s career, but also in the history of music, a stature shared by few other works, such as Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. (Source: NPR)

About the Musicians

Beethoven’s Eroica will feature both Music Director Christopher Wilkins and Chorus Director Marie Bucoy-Calavan, as well as our Akron Symphony Chorus. Read about them on the Musicians page.

Guest Artists

Angela Mortellaro, soprano

Akron Symphony OrchestraPraised for her captivating stage presence and recognized for her versatility, Soprano Angela Mortellaro excels in diverse vocal styles and consistently delivers quality performances in demanding roles. “The luscious tonal and physical beauty, fluent coloratura and vivacious stage presence Mortellaro brings to the title role makes us root for [her] right out of the gate.” (Chicago Tribune)

Mortellaro has sung leading roles in Lucia di Lammermoor, Roméo et Juliette, Thaïs, L’elisir d’amore, Le nozze di Figaro and more. She has participated in the creation of several notable World Premier productions including Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, Silent Night, and The Manchurian Candidate with companies such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Minnesota Opera, and Opera Philadelphia, and appeared in Silent Night’s television premier on PBS. It has been reported: “Perhaps the most impressive of all was Mortellaro, whose surprisingly powerful lyric soprano carried excitingly through the house.” – Opera News 

Mortellaro has performed more than twenty principle roles from the standard operatic repertoire, playing a variety of characters convincingly as she “has a great character actor’s gift of disappearing into a role.” – Pioneer Press. Distinguished roles include Adina in L’elisir d’amore with the Dorset Opera Festival (UK), the title role of Rita and Lucia di Lammermoor with Chicago Opera Theater and Minnesota Opera, Juliette in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette with Minnesota Opera, and a “tour de force” performance in the title role of Massenet’s Thais with Florida Grand Opera. In Mozart, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Minnesota Opera and Despina in Cosi fan tutte with Sarasota Opera and Minnesota Opera, she has been consistently praised for her acting, and was a “foxy” Despina, delivered with “expert comic timing.” – MinnPost. Other accomplishments are: Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen with Central City Opera, Musetta in Puccini’s La Boheme with Sarasota Opera, and more.

Mortellaro has appeared in concert singing the Soprano Solo in Vaughn Williams A Sea Symphony and Orff’s Carmina Burana with The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. She has sung Beethoven’s Mass in C, Bach’s Magnificat, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Samuel Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915, James Whitborne’s oratorio, Anneliese, and Margaret Brouwer’s oratorio, Voice of the Lake.

Kimberly Lauritsen, alto

Akron Symphony OrchestraMezzo-soprano Kimberly Lauritsen, known for her rich tone and excellent diction, is an active performer in the Great Lakes music scene, appearing as alto soloist with The Blue Water Chamber Orchestra and Cleveland Chamber Choir in the debut of Sam Guarnaccia’s eagerly anticipated Oratorio: Emergent Universe.

Kimberly made her Cleveland Orchestra debut in 2006 in Debussy’s Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien under the baton of Matthias Pintscher. Since then she has appeared at Severance Hall and Blossom several times, and has also performed solos with Akron Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Choir, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Ashland Symphony, PAND, Classical Revolution, the Nebraska Symphony Chamber Orchestra, Musica Antiqua, Dulces Voces, Abendmusik, the Omaha Chamber Singers, and the Cleveland Art Song Festival.

A champion of new music, Kimberly debuted roles in Jim Harris and Mark Hayes’ musical Civil War Voices, Monica Houghton’s opera The Big Bonanza, and Randall Eng’s opera, Florida.

She is the recipient of the Boris Goldovsky Prize in Opera, the Milhaud Society prize, the Vassos Prize in Art Song, and a Special Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera Guild.

Timothy Culver, tenor

Akron Symphony OrchestraTenor Timothy Culver has become a staple in the Great Lakes music scene. He has been described as having “a rich but penetrating tenor” and that he “faces florid tenor writing with a fearless vivacity.” 

Equally at home in both operatic and musical theater works, Timothy has performed with the Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Lansing Lyric Opera, Porthouse Theatre, Huron Playhouse and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Some recent roles include Count Almavira in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Alfredo in La Traviata and Albert Herring in the title role. During the inaugural season of the Opera Theatre of Lucca in Lucca, Italy, Timothy performed and studied under the direction of internationally renowned baritone, Lorenzo Malfatti.

A frequent recitalist, oratorio and concert soloist, Mr. Culver sang in the U.S. premiere of Erwin Schulhoff’s H.M.S. Royal Oak with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.

Brian Keith Johnson, Bass

Akron Symphony OrchestraBrian Keith Johnson has performed many roles in opera from Figaro in il barbiere di Siviglia to Ford in Falstaff. As a member of Actors’ Equity Association, he has also performed a variety of musical theater roles ranging from Jim in Big River to Father/God in Children of Eden.

His operatic roles are numerous, with local performances including the Kaiser in Cleveland Public Theatre’s production of Der Kaiser von Atlantis; Masetto in Don Giovanni and Valentin in Faust with Cleveland Opera; Dewain in I Was Looking At The Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky, Belcore in The Elixir of Love and Figaro in The Barber of Seville with Lyric Opera Cleveland; Jake in Porgy and Bess (with Alvy Powell and Marquita Lister) with the Akron Symphony Orchestra; Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and Germont in La Traviatawith Solon Center for the Arts; Albert in Werther, Peter in Hansel and Gretel and Belcore in The Elixir of Love with Nightingale Opera, and John Proctor in The Crucible with Kent State University.

Brian’s concert performances include The Wexford Carol and the role of Pasek in The Cunning Little Vixen with The Cleveland Orchestra; Porgy in Porgy and Bess, The Five Mystical Songs, The Bach Magnificat, The Messiah, Ein Deutsches Requiem, An Evening of Verdi and Puccini, The Mozart Requiem and Lee Hoiby’s I Have A Dream with the Akron Symphony Orchestra; Yamadori and The Imperial Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, the Brahms Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the Canton Symphony Orchestra; and Kirke Mechem’s Songs of the Slave from the opera John Brown with the Summit Choral Society.

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