ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 10, 2020) – The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra will be kicking off its 2020–2021 Season and simultaneously making history as the first professional orchestra to perform a full concert in a U.S. soccer stadium on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. ET. This concert will be held at Exploria Stadium, uniquely situated in Downtown Orlando, Florida, home to Orlando’s resident teams, Orlando City SC of Major League Soccer and Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League. The opening of the new Season and the FAIRWINDS Classics Series, Opening Night with Simone Porter, will be the orchestra’s first live performance since the beginning of March 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancelation of the remaining 2019–2020 Season.
“We’re so excited for the start of the concert season and our return to live music,” said Paul Helfrich, executive director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. “The concert on September 26 will mark OPO’s first full orchestra concert since March 9, and it will be a special and emotional occasion for everyone. We want to demonstrate how live music can still bring us together as a community, even in these strange and challenging times. Putting safety first, we are planning an extraordinary evening of great music with our fantastic OPO musicians, outdoors in the beautiful setting of Exploria Stadium. We can’t wait to share it with you.”
The decision to perform in this unconventional venue came after the announcement of Bob Carr Theater, the original location for Opening Night, closing indefinitely due to the pandemic. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and Exploria Stadium were able to form a new partnership, and are thrilled to blend the performing arts and sporting worlds in the Central Florida community. While a first for the classical music world, this concert will also be the first full, concert-specific event held at Exploria Stadium, which opened its doors in 2017. Performing outdoors is not new to the Philharmonic, which performs in outdoor venues throughout Central Florida, but is a change to the normal FAIRWINDS Classics Series, which has been held in Bob Carr Theater for over two decades.
“Outdoor orchestral concerts are part of the rich history of classical music, and I am thrilled that we can extend that tradition here in Orlando,” said Eric Jacobsen, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra music director. “In these challenging times, music can be such an important source of joy, excitement, stimulation, and community building. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be back with the amazing musicians of the Orlando Philharmonic, ready to bring the music we all love back to our audiences. See you soon!”
Strict safety protocols will be enforced on the concert night, to ensure the safety of the patrons, staff, and musicians in attendance. Face masks and temperature checks will be required by all before being allowed admittance into the stadium. Attendance to this event will be limited, to ensure patrons can be seated at an appropriate physical distance, as per CDC and state recommendations. The stadium will also be enforcing thorough cleaning and sanitation measures throughout the space, as well as provide multiple hand sanitation stations for all in attendance.
Violinist Simone Porter, who previously performed the orchestra during the FAIRWINDS Classics Series in January 2019, will be the featured soloist for the evening’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. The program for the evening includes:
SMITH – “The Star-Spangled Banner”
JOPLIN – Maple leaf Rag
ELLINGTON (GOULD) – Sophisticated Lady
MENDELSSOHN – Violin Concerto in E Minor
TCHAIKOVSKY – Symphony No. 4
Subscriptions to the FAIRWINDS Classics Series– as well as the Pops, Focus, and Symphony Storytime Series– are currently on sale at https://orlandophil.org/subscribe/. Single tickets to Opening Night with Simone Porter will be on sale within the coming weeks. Only a limited number of single tickets will be available to allow for proper social distancing and limited capacity within the stadium. For more information on this event, including the full concert program, please visit https://orlandophil.org/event/opening-night-simone-porter/.