April 20-22

The Virginia Arts Festival is in full swing this month, and as always they bring a variety of amazing performances to the area, including many of interest to classical music lovers. One event that you will not want to miss is the Birmingham Royal Ballet teaming up with the Virginia Symphony to bring us the classic ballet Romeo and Juliet with a powerhouse score by the Russian master Sergei Prokofiev. This piece was composed during a perilous time in the Soviet Union: the production was postponed for a number of reasons, including the fact that the person who commissioned the piece and several collaborators were labeled enemies of the state and taken away by the secret police. The Committee on Arts Affairs rejected Prokofiev’s ballet. They were unhappy with the score, and with the happy ending that Prokofiev gave the piece. When the ballet was finally approved to be performed it was only after serious changes had been made, some of them without Prokofiev’s knowledge. This type of government censorship was common at the time.

The premiere took place in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1938, which Prokofiev could not attend because he was restricted by the government. Ten years after the premiere of the ballet, Prokofiev was denounced as too western by the regime. This work stands as a testament to Prokofiev, showing that even under such strict restrictions he was able to create a masterpiece that is beloved to this day. Romeo and Juliet will be at Chrysler Hall April 20–22.

In addition to enjoying such performances alongside you in the audience, WHRO radio personalities will also be involved in several events with the Virginia Arts Festival including the popular Coffee Concert series, beginning April 18, and the Virginia International Tattoo April 26–29. Our next WHRO Classical Open Mic will also take place this month, on April 25. You can find more details at whro.org/events We are proud to help bring you great music both over the air and in our community.