Omaha Symphony: Carmina Burana


November 15th, 2013

Omaha, NE – Fortune favors the bold, especially the bold, well-rehearsed high school singers taking on the colossal “Carmina Burana”.



This Sunday is the Omaha Symphony’s annual Choral Collaborative concert, featuring Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” Joining the Symphony is a chorus of around 500 voices made of area high school students. At first, there was uncertainty about performing this challenging piece. However, conductor Ernest Richardson says he thought the teachers and students could rise to the occasion.

“Over time the quality of program continues to grow because the teachers are so great and the students are so compelled to what they do, so, we tried it!” said Richardson. “We talked to the teachers and they’re all on board, so we have some wonderful schools, amazing teachers, terrific kids singing one of the most powerful, most popular works ever written, so it is cool.”

Richardson points out that “Carmina Burana” is a great work for both young performers and audiences who may not be familiar with classical music.

“They know this, even if they don’t know the title of the piece, they know this because it’s used in commercials all the time.”

The music was also used in film scores and video games. Richardson says “Carmina” is also popular because of it’s very appealing themes.

“And they really have to do with love, various aspects of love: unrequited, generally speaking, but sometimes requited. But it’s really about the human condition.”

Also joining the orchestra and chorus are three soloists. The soprano and the baritone both have major parts, but the tenor only has one solo.

“And in this case the tenor doesn’t get the girl. In fact, in this case the tenor is a swan, roasting on spit, bemoaning his fate.”

Richardson points out that, despite the great difficulty, performing this work with students is very rewarding.

“And I think that’s the most exciting part, that these high school kids, they’re not excited about singing, I don’t know, so rock concert or something like that, they’re excited about singing, in this case, ‘Carmina Burana’.”The Omaha Symphony’s Choral Collaborative performance of Orff’s “Carmina Burana” is this Sunday, November 17, at 2 PM at the Holland Performing Arts Center. For tickets and more information, you can visit

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