ST. PETERSBURG — The Florida Orchestra will perform the U.S. premiere of a wickedly fun version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” with a storyline by famed author Roald Dahl, music by acclaimed composer Eleanor Alberga, and lead narration by actor Becca McCoy.
It will be performed live at TFO’s Family Concert, scheduled for Sunday, May 16, 2 p.m., at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts — Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg. The performance will be presented following CDC guidelines for safety. Separately, the concert also will feature powerful images of a new work by internationally renowned installation artist Ya La’ford, set to Mozart’s iconic Overture to The Marriage of Figaro.
“Roald Dahl’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is not the traditional fairytale. Beloved author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda” and other children’s classics, Dahl fills his PG-rated rendition with humorous, spooky twists and a surprise ending that will captivate families. The performance is recommended for ages 8 and older. Jamaican-born composer Alberga creates an enchanting musical backdrop of wild forests and dance parties. The work premiered at the Royal Festival Hall in London in 1994.
"We're excited to be the first orchestra to bring this fresh, magical work to a live American audience. Eleanor Alberga's music vividly tells the story with beauty, humor and sometimes even a spooky edge," said Daniel Black, TFO resident conductor, who will lead 30 TFO musicians. "TFO is committed to bringing attention to a wide range of composers, and Alberga is a fascinating talent with a unique musical voice deserving of greater recognition."
TFO will open the concert with a powerful artistic voice, acclaimed installation artist Ya La’ford. A video shows the making of “Community Woven,” a mural project by La’ford that engaged schoolchildren in both art and music. Working with students from Mt. Zion Christian Academy and others, La’ford wove a visual quilt of “words, wisdom and well-wishes” collected from the community for the bold, geometric mural in the Warehouse Arts District in St. Petersburg. The video is set to a work familiar to all ages, Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, played live by the Florida Orchestra.
“Not only did we engage students in the similar process of creating art and music, but we shared how sound and instruments work together in an orchestra to create a richness of overtones and harmony,” La’ford said. “Together, we are sharing with our next generation how music and visual arts are universal tools to empower and elevate our experience.”
Tickets are $8 per person in advance and $10 at the door. Children age 3 and younger are admitted for free. Tickets are available now online at FloridaOrchestra.org or by phone at 727-892-3337 or 800-662-7286. The ticket center is not open for in-person transactions.
For this performance, Becca McCoy will be joined by Mark Cantrell, TFO president and chief executive, and Michelle Kim-Painter, TFO community engagement coordinator, to tell the Snow White story through narration, without a set or images.
This concert will follow CDC guidelines for health and safety, including required face masks for ages 3 and older. The Mahaffey Theater will be limited to 30% capacity. Tickets will be sold as general admission, but seats will be assigned to allow at least 6 feet between families. No lobby activities will be available. For more on general safety measures, visit floridaorchestra.org/coronavirus-updates.
For 53 years, The Florida Orchestra has endured as an artistic gem in the Tampa Bay community. In October, TFO was one of the few orchestras in the country to return to the stage for live audiences after an eight-month hiatus, with new health and safety measures in place. The season continues through May, including Dvorak’s New World Symphony (May 1), with guest conductor Thomas Wilkins; Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (May 22-23) performed by Stuart Malina; and Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto (May 29-30) conducted by Michael Francis.