Discover Miami Through Music: Airborne at Shake-A-Leg Miami Dinner Key in Coconut Grove was once the site of the first continental US Naval station which opened in 1918, and, beginning in the 1930’s, the home base for Pan American World Airways. Orchestra Miami salutes this unique bit of Miami aviation history and the 95th anniversary of the founding of Pan Am with Airborne, which will be performed on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 8 PM in the only remaining US Coast Guard air hangar, built in 1932 on Dinner Key, now the home of Shake-A-Leg Miami.
To celebrate this unique history, Orchestra Miami will present two rarely performed American masterworks as a part of its Discover Miami Through Music series: Kurt Weill’s Lindberg’s Flight and Marc Blitzstein’s Airborne Symphony. Both pieces will be staged by Director Michael Yawney and feature the Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre and the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, under the direction of Anthony Cabrera with projected images courtesy of HistoryMiami Museum. The 57 musicians of Orchestra Miami will be led by Founding Artistic Director Elaine Rinaldi.
Lindberg’s Flight by Kurt Weill, with a libretto by Bertolt Brecht, tells the story of Charles Lindberg and his historic transatlantic flight. Composed in the style of a Radiolehrstück (a “teaching play for the radio”), it has 15 short movements for tenor solo, baritone & bass solo and mixed choir. The role of Charles Lindbergh will be sung by tenor Gregory Schmidt, who last appeared with Orchestra Miami as the hero Tamino in the orchestra’s 2018 production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Making his debut with Orchestra Miami is Philip Kalmanovitch as the baritone soloist and Neil Nelson, last heard with Orchestra Miami as Sarastro in the 2018 production of The Magic Flute will be bass soloist. Marc Blitzstein’s Airborne Symphony was originally conceived as a score for a film, and later reconceived as a large-scale symphony on the theme of "the sacred struggle of the airborne free men of the world . . . to crush the monstrous fascist obstructionist in their path." The piece is constructed around a narrator, who tells us the history of man’s quest for flight from the mythological Icarus to (what was then) present-day history. The narrator takes us through the birth of flight at Kittyhawk, highlighting the horrors of aerial attack, the pure joy of flying in a cloudless sky, the tedium of waiting for action, the poignancy of a letter from a home-sick bombardier, and the triumph of good over evil, all illustrated by the 56-piece orchestra and men’s choir. Vanessa Elise will make her Orchestra Miami debut as the Narrator, Philip Kalmanovitch sings the role of the Bombardier, Dvid Margulis is the tenor soloist, and the choir is the Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida under the direction of Assistant Conductor Anthony Cabrera.
Orchestra Miami’s Discover Miami Through Music series was conceived by Orchestra Miami’s Artistic Director as a way of bringing to light Miami’s history using music. “By presenting appropriately-themed concerts in Miami’s landmarks and places of historic interest, we can learn more about our city- and each other- through music”, says Rinaldi. “This aligns perfectly with Orchestra Miami’s mission of using music to educate and build community”.Elaine Rinaldi, Founder & Artistic Director Rinaldi adds, “Considering the theatrical nature of both of these pieces, it makes perfect sense to present them in a staged setting. I’m thrilled to be working with one of my favorite collaborators, Michael Yawney, to bring these rarely-performed pieces to Miami.” Collaborating with Orchestra Miami in this project is HistoryMiami Museum, who is providing over 200 historical images for use during the production and Shake- A-Leg Miami, who is hosting the event in its historic 1932 original Coast Guard air hangar. “We are honored to collaborate with Orchestra Miami on the exciting project. South Florida’s aviation history is rich, and the museum safeguards an extensive photographic collection related to the industry. We are happy to share these images with the community as part of this unique production,” HistoryMiami Museum Chief Curator Mike Knoll said.
“Working with the City of Miami, we restored the historic US Coast Guard Hangar to operate water sports programs. Never did we realize that Orchestra Miami and HistoryMiami Museum would fill it with magnificent music and images from Miami’s rich aviation and boating history. It’s going to be an amazing show”, said Harry Horgan, CEO of Shake A Leg Miami.
Viewers around the globe have an opportunity to hear these two rarely-performed 20th century masterpieces via the Livestream broadcast. “Airborne is about the biggest dreams of all humankind”, says stage director Michael Yawney. The remarkable parallels between the content of what should be a musical historic snapshot and what is going on in Ukraine today is uncanny, making this performance especially poignant. Airborne ends with a warning for the future, and that future is now”.
This concert is being sponsored in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc. New York, NY and is presented with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, and sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the State of Florida.
Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 8:00 PM
2620 South Bayshore Drive, Miami
or online via the livestream broadcast.
Tickets are $35/ $50/ $70, or $10 and up for the livestream. A post-concert reception on the Terrace overlooking Biscayne Bay to benefit Orchestra Miami is offered for $40 per person.