Utah Symphony Stirs Emotions with Heartfelt Program Featuring Brahms’ Final Symphony

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (October 18, 2021) – The year was 1885. The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor. Dr. Pepper was first served in the United States. The Benz company got a patent for a car that topped out at 10 mph. And Johannes Brahms, at the height of his career, composed his final symphony—a creation so heart-wrenching and tragic that it has almost a cathartic power over its listeners.

The week’s Utah Symphony program may not be for the faint of heart, but deeply felt emotion is guaranteed. Conducted by Enrique Mazzola, three concerts will take place on Friday and Saturday, October 22 and 23 at Abravanel Hall in downtown Salt Lake City and on Thursday, October 21 at The Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at UVU. The Utah Symphony will perform three works filled with drama and intensity—Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, Verdi’s Overture to La forza del destino, and Rota’s Suite from La strada.

The hauntingly beautiful Symphony No. 4 of Brahms captures in music the essence of restless energy and yearning sighs. It ebbs and flows like the sea, with each melody unfolding and evolving organically and perfectly. Undoubtedly one of the darkest symphonies in the repertoire, Brahms was contemplating his own mortality when he composed it—he even gave his publisher instructions on what should be done with the score “if the most human thing should happen to me.” What results is a work that is striking and relatable on a very human level. (Listen to the most recent episode of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Ghostlight podcast for a conversation about the symphony.)

Mazzola, who is Music Director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and an expert on the music of Verdi, will open the program with the Overture to La forza del destino (“The Force of Destiny”), an opera that explores the subject of fate with the story of a single unfortunate event—the accidental killing of the Marquis of Calatrava—that drives the other characters to lifetimes of struggle and heartbreak. The attention-grabbing overture effectively sets up the fatalistic tale that entangles the characters. With Mazzola making his Utah Symphony debut, this is an opportunity to see a gifted opera conductor leading his specialty repertoire on stage—rather than hidden in the opera pit.

Following the Verdi overture is Nino Rota’s Suite from La strada, a ballet that he adapted from his score for the 1954 film of the same name. Although the film tells the devastating story of a girl sold to an abusive circus strongman, the seven-movement suite is tempered with whimsical, lighthearted moments, as well as a gorgeous, longing melody that is sure to be immediately recognized by concertgoers as one of the most classic, romance-evoking tunes in the repertoire.

For this program only, all tickets are being offered for just $35. Students always save 50% on tickets.

Concert Listing

Enrique Mazzola Conducts Brahms 4, Verdi & Rota at The Noorda
Thursday, October 21, 2021 / 7:30 p.m. / The Noorda at UVU
800 W University Pkwy, Orem, UT 84058

Enrique Mazzola Conducts Brahms 4, Verdi & Rota
Friday, October 22, 2021 / 7:30 p.m. / Abravanel Hall
Saturday, October 23, 2021 / 7:30 p.m. / Abravanel Hall
(123 W South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah)

Enrique Mazzola, conductor
Utah Symphony

VERDI: Overture to La forza del destino
ROTA: Suite from La strada
BRAHMS: Symphony No. 4