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Taking a 'Magnificent Voyage'

February 26, 2009|By KATE COLEMAN

Susannah and Bennett Will have attended the past few Maryland Symphony Orchestra Family Concerts.

They liked last season's "Beethoven Lives Upstairs."

"I thought it was a very fun story," said Susannah, 9.

Eleven-year-old Bennett explained that the program was about how the composer's downstairs neighbors have to adjust to him.

And, they enjoyed the music.

"I like Beethoven," Susannah said.

Susannah and Bennett will be at The Maryland Theatre on Sunday afternoon when the MSO presents "Mozart's Magnificent Voyage," another of four Classical Kids theatrical symphonic productions that tour the United States and Canada.

The productions were developed from composer recordings conceived by Susan Hammond, a concert pianist and music teacher, who had searched for recordings of classical music to share with her young daughters. She didn't find what she was looking for and decided to do it herself. Now, in a little more than 20 years since her first Classical Kids release, the 16-title series has sold nearly 5 million CDs, DVDs and books worldwide, according to information on www .classicalkidslive.com.

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The symphony programs are designed to introduce children to composers' lives and their music - a lot of their music.

"Mozart's Magnificent Voyage" includes 23 excerpts, including themes from his operas "The Marriage of Figaro," "Don Giovanni" and "The Magic Flute."

"The production blends theater and music seamlessly," said MSO Music Director Elizabeth Schulze. "It takes you into the mind and heart of the composer while allowing the performers an opportunity to shine as well."

One of those performers is Elic Bramlett, who portrays Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. With Classical Kids since the 2005-06 season, he keeps his "passion for live performance alive" while also working as theater/film director at Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill.

Performing the Mozart production is a joy, he said in a recent telephone interview.

It's exciting to hear the music behind you, Bramlett said. "You can hear a pin drop in the audience because everyone's glued to the action of the story and the music supporting it," he said.

Andrew Redlawsk will play the role of Mozart's son Karl, who longs to be taken from his boarding school to spend more time with his famous father. An old trunk serves as a magic chest which helps Karl understand his father's life as a prodigy, his pressures from family and fame, his passion for composing and the common bonds they share, according to press information.

"Kids of all ages are able to encounter Mozart the person as well as the musician, and this makes his achievements all the more meaningful," Schulze said.

If you go ...



WHAT: "Mozart's Magnificent Voyage," Maryland Symphony Orchestra Family Concert

WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday, March 1

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

COST: Tickets cost $22 for adults, $18 for students and $12 for ages 12 and younger. They are available online at www.marylandsymphony.org, by calling 301-797-4000 or going to the MSO box office, 30 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown. Box office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1. Tickets will be available at The Maryland Theatre beginning at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

MORE: Go to the MSO Web site at www.marylandsymphony.org.

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