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Photos: SLSO performs Carmina Burana

By Eric Dundon


Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, since its premiere in 1937, has remained one of the most popular choral-orchestral works. On February 17-18, 2024, Music Director Stéphane Denève led the work for the first time with the SLSO, St. Louis Symphony Chorus, St. Louis Children's Choirs, and soloists Ying Fang, Sunnyboy Dladla, and Thomas Lehman. The result was a triumph and led to a prolonged standing ovation at the Stifel Theatre. The enthusiasm was shared with critics.


“This was a killer Carmina, conducted with that ideal mix of musical sophistication and theatrical insight I have come to associate with Denève’s performances of opera-adjacent works," wrote Chuck Lavazzi of KDHX.


While Carmina Burana might have been the main draw, critics praised the unique first half, which Denève concocted to be a symphony with three unrelated works performed without pause. Arvo Pärt's Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten set the stage with haunting strings, leading to a perilous musical journey in Lera Auerbach's Icarus, and Richard Wagner's "Liebestod" from Tristan and Isolde linked insatiable love with death.


Photos by Virginia Harold.



Carmina Burana
From left, soloists Thomas Lehman, Sunnyboy Dladla, and Ying Fang acknowledge the audience.

Carmina Burana
Usher Marilyn Bennett welcomes an audience member.

Carmina Burana
The St. Louis Symphony Chorus was guest directed by Andrew Whitfield for these concerts.

Carmina Burana
SLSO violinist perform Lera Auerbach's Icarus in its first SLSO performances.

Carmina Burana
St. Louis Symphony Chorus.

Carmina Burana
SLSO double bassists.

Carmina Burana
SLSO brass musicians play Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

Carmina Burana
Thereminist Darryl Kubian performs during Lera Auerbach's Icarus.

Carmina Burana
Baritone Thomas Lehman.


Carmina Burana
From left, baritone Thomas Lehman, soprano Ying Fang, and SLSO Music Director Stéphane Denève.

Carmina Burana
The orchestra was joined by the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and St. Louis Children's Choirs for Carmina Burana.

Carmina Burana
Denève cues the chorus.


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