The RPO began its first season under music director Ward Stare with a colorful program of orchestral spectaculars. And it ends its season in much the same way — only maybe even more colorful and more spectacular. The orchestra is joined by pianist Olga Kern, an RPO favorite, for Rachmaninoff's coruscating "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," and by the Rochester Oratorio Society, adding choral oomph to Alexander Borodin's "Polovetsian Dances" (better known as the source of several songs from the 1950's musical "Kismet"). The concert opener, the second suite from Albert Roussel's ballet "Bacchus et Ariane," is no ordinary opener: it's a muscular masterpiece of 20th century French music, by a composer hardly ever heard in the United States. Another, much more familiar, second suite, from Ravel's "Daphnis et Chloe," long ago cornered the market on erotic languor, frenzied rhythms, luscious orchestration, and orgasmic wordless chorus (again courtesy of the ROS), and should provide a properly thrilling end to the season. For a review of this concert, check rochestercitynewspaper.com on Friday.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Thursday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 4, at 8 p.m., at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs Street. $22-$94. rpo.org.