Review: Florida Orchestra returns to Mahaffey Theater with Beethoven, Montgomery, Kodály

Posted on: November 4, 2020

“Masked patrons young and old flowed into the Mahaffey Theater on Halloween afternoon for the Florida Orchestra’s first in-person performance since March,” writes Maggie Duffy in Friday’s (10/30) Tampa Bay Times (FL). “They found their pairs of seats in the theater for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, well spaced from others in their rows, with one whole row left vacant between them…. When Maestro Michael Francis bounded onto the stage, people stood up—the applause and cheers got even more furious as he gestured toward the orchestra…. [At] the Mahaffey Theater … audience capacity has been reduced to 25 percent…. Concerts … have been reduced to about an hour without intermission…. Smaller ensembles perform, but there are more concerts…. The number of musicians performing at concerts … is now 20-40 members compared to 60-80 before the pandemic. Having fewer and more spaced-out musicians produces a different sound…. But [musicians] have adapted to it quickly. That adaptability was on full display Saturday, as the orchestra embarked on a powerful, passionate performance of the dance-themed program,” which also featured Jessie Montgomery’s Strum and Zoltán Kodály’s Dances of Galanta. “The audience sat rapt through the entire performance and gave a long ovation when it ended.”