What is Valeria?
Actually, the question is, who is Valeria? Valeria is the main character in our season-long drama that we are presenting in our immersive style. Valeria is our Concertmaster. When Valeria turns up missing for our first event, the drama begins. Where is she? What happened? Is she okay? But there are also those who we learn are not particularly sorry Valeria isn’t there. A little conflict, and a great deal of insight into the culture of the orchestra unfolds throughout the season.
We are borrowing from the series-TV concept, in which you get to know the main characters of your favorite show. Even though you get a full, action-packed episode with all the music you came for, you anticipate the next episode to find out what happens with those main characters. Remember, their story doesn’t wrap up at the end of the episode. And neither will ours, until the end of the season.
But if you come to the second or third or fourth concert in the series, will you be lost? Absolutely not. You’ll pick up on the elements of the story you need quickly, and you’ll want to come back for more. Besides, you get a great concert, which is what you also wanted, right?
What is an immersive performance?
We have developed a performance style that integrates the audience with the orchestra. It is possible to sit next to your favorite instrumentalists, or sit in different places in the orchestra throughout the season to get a sense of what it’s like for the musicians from different points of view.
There are always seats that are outside the orchestra as well. We’ve found the experience to be intimate, friendly, and utterly transforming. And that’s just our experience! What a wonderful thing it is to get to have a conversation with the people we are sharing the music with, during the performance.
Do people like this experience?
Well, that’s an easy question to answer. But we’ll let some audience members take this one on. These responses came to us anonymously at an immersive program.
- The music washed over me – moved through me. I was part of the performance. It was less of a performance than a shared experience. It was a gift…
- I feel the urge to cry – not out of longing or pain, but this overwhelming sense of belonging. The conductor’s passion and the musicians interacting makes me feel at home.
- Notes file in my ears and trickle through my bloodstream. The ordinary has become original. The inanimate has become animated. The room is breathing.
- What a joyful experience. It brings tears to my eyes as I remember.
Where do I sit?
You can sit where ever you like. As the drama unfolds throughout the season, we invite you to sit in different places to see what it’s like and how the sound is different and to meet more of us. There are also opportunities to move during the same performance during intermission. We want to get to know you and see you back for more performances, and we’re always interested in hearing your stories about your involvement with music.
What is it like to sit in the orchestra?
Well, isn’t that a great question! There is no other experience quite like it. In a traditional concert setting, you don’t get the opportunity to experience what it is that the musicians get to enjoy during every concert – being part of something larger than yourself, creating a sound that cannot be made by one person alone, but only by a group of people all dedicated toward that one goal.
The skills take many years to develop. The traditions within the orchestra have evolved over centuries, and you’ll just never get a sense of it if you’re not sitting among us. So come on in, and join the fun. The music will ultimately give you the answer to this question!
Why would I sit outside the orchestra?
Because sometimes it’s good to hear all the music blend together without being close to any one instrument. Or you might be a musician who already knows what it’s like inside the ensemble, and you’d rather enjoy the sound from outside.
Just remember, during our Valeria series, much of the drama will happen within the ensemble, and you’ll hear conversations among the musicians that will help propel the story. You’ll never hear it all, but there will be parts of the story that everyone will be able to hear. So sit where you’d like!
Who is Ellen K. Graham?
Ellen K. Graham is a playwright and an amazingly creative and wonderful person. Instead of commissioning a composer for a new piece of music, we commissioned Ellen to write the story. Valeria: A Fugue in 4 Acts is her new work. And we can’t wait for you to watch all four episodes and find out what happens!
Ellen K. Graham
Playwright. Amazingly creative and wonderful person.