published Friday, September 21st, 2012

Chattanooga Symphony & Opera opens a super season

If you go: 'Heroes: Napoleon to Superman'

• What: Opening night at the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera.

• When: 8 p.m. Saturday.

• Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.

• Admission: $19-$81.

• Phone: 267-8583.

• What: Volkswagen Sunday Symphony series.

• When: 3 p.m. Sunday.

• Where: Volkswagen, 7351 Volkswagen Drive.

• Admission: $25.

• Phone: 267-8583.

• Website: www.chattanoogasymphony.org.

From France to Metropolis, the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera takes audiences on a heroic journey Saturday night.

Maestra Kayoko Dan leads the symphony into the 2012-13 season with an evening titled "Heroes: Napoleon to Superman," featuring Beethoven's Eroica Symphony and selections from "Metropolis," a contemporary composition by Michael Daugherty and inspired by Superman.

"Superman is the archetypal comic-book hero that all superheroes are based on," said Daugherty in a phone interview. "It's the story of a person who has superpowers, but they have to hide them. They have to hide their identity."

Dan was eager to begin with a bang.

"This piece is really awesome," she said. "It's a dynamic work, and it's really interesting. Michael is one of those really innovative, revolutionary composers who combines pop culture into more conventional mediums like orchestra and band. His use of instruments and orchestration is really unique."

The contemporary work is being paired with Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, the Eroica symphony. Eroica is Italian for heroic, thus the theme of heroes. It was composed in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Several of Daugherty's compositions will be featured in MasterWorks concerts this season. "This way, people can get familiar with one composer," Dan said.

The primary benefit of working with the music of a contemporary composer, Dan said, is the ability to ask questions.

"I spend so much time looking at Beethoven scores and going 'what's he thinking?'.... but with a contemporary composer, I can ask what his inspiration was, and he can offer feedback when we play. We can have this interaction."

Daugherty will be on hand to introduce the different movements of "Metropolis."

He began composing the work in 1988, completing it in 1993, before comic-book movies were being turned into multimillion-dollar blockbusters.

"When I wrote the Superman piece, the superheroes were not a part of the big media landscape. It was kind of underground," he said.

This year, the CSO is introducing the Volkswagen Sunday Symphony Series. Over the course of the season, four Masterworks concerts will be repeated at the Volkswagen plant. A special performance, "Opera Love Songs," will be a Volkswagen-only production in February.

Contact Holly Leber at hleber@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/hollyleber. Subscribe to her on Facebook at facebook.com/holly.j.leber.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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