Symphony returns with Verdi, ‘Play It Again’


The Central Ohio Symphony will take the stage at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, in Gray Chapel on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware for a concert performance of Verdi’s “La Traviata” and the premiere of its NEA-funded project, “Play It Again.” Music Director Jaime Morales-Matos will be conducting.

“La Traviata” will be presented as a concert opera production with three soloists performing the vocal arias with the orchestra.

“In 2016, we presented ‘La Bohème,’ in a similar format with our orchestra. Our audience loved it, and Jaime was eager to bring the experience back to the stage with ‘La Traviata,’” said Executive Director Warren W. Hyer.

All three soloists for the concert are Ohio-based performers. Laura Portune, soprano, will sing the part of Violetta; Brandon Scott Russell, tenor, will sing Alfredo’s part; and Robert Kerr, baritone, will sing as Germont. Portune has performed with the orchestra on several occasions, most recently when it performed Mahler’s 4th symphony; Russell sang with the Symphony in its production of ‘La Bohème’ in 2016. The Delaware Community Chorus will provide the choral voices.

The March concert will also see the debut of the Symphony’s NEA and Ohio Arts Council funded project, “Play It Again,” with the performance of Motordom by composer Jennifer Jolley. Jolley, former faculty member at Ohio Wesleyan and now assistant professor of composition at Texas Tech University, is also curator of the “Play It Again” project and a trustee of the Symphony.

“We are particularly excited to start ‘Play It Again,’” said Hyer. “This is a project designed to give composers a chance for a second or third performance of their composition after the debut. Jennifer worked closely with Jaime and me in selecting the composers, the works, and the guest artists. An additional performance of a composition is an opportunity to further a composer’s career and to share with our audience up and coming composers in the symphonic world. ‘Play it Again’ will be ongoing part of our future concerts.”

The Symphony will continue to put the safety of its audience and musicians first. Masks are required of all concertgoers, including children over the age of three, and must be worn at all times on the Ohio Wesleyan campus. All adult concertgoers must show proof of vaccination or present a recent negative COVID test, along with government issued ID. The audience will be distanced as with the fall concert.

Hyer noted the concert kicks off a series of concerts in March, April, and May, adding that this is the first time the Symphony has scheduled three spring concerts.

For more information about the concert, visit the Symphony website at or call the Symphony at 740-362-1799.

Special to The Gazette

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