By Henry Adams


At The Florida Orchestra’s (TFO) next morning Coffee Concert, enjoy complimentary coffee and doughnuts prior to this program of best-loved opera themes by Verdi, Wagner, Gershwin and others.  Soprano Ying Fang will sing arias by Mozart, Massenet and Donizetti, and the orchestra’s Assistant Principal Second Violin Lucas Guideri will perform Meditation from Massenet’s Thais. Taking place in a relaxed setting with a casual format, Principal Guest Conductor Stuart Malina talks to the audience about the music and the composers during the performance, which is Thursday, March 5, at 11 a.m., at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.


At the next Raymond James Pops concert, Star Wars & More!, it is a celebration of John Williams’ extraordinary film music from Superman, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hook, E.T. and Schindler’s List, along with a cosmic hit parade of themes from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, A New Hope and The Phantom Menace. Bob Bernhardt conducts an 8 p.m. concert on Friday, March 6 in Tampa and both a 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. concert on March 7 in St. Petersburg.


At the upcoming Tampa Bay Times Masterworks, TFOs’ new Music Director Designate Michael Francis leads the orchestra in an all-Russian program. The concert opens with the tragic tale of puppets endowed with human vulnerabilities in Stravinsky’s Petrushka. This is followed by Rachmaninoff’s mysterious and dramatic Isle of the Dead, a musical depiction of Romantic painter Arnold Bocklin’s painting of the same name. The evening closes with Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous yet tragic tale of love in his symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini. These concerts are Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15 in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, respectively.


At the following Tampa Bay Times Masterworks concert,  the night begins with Strauss’ wonderfully intimate interplay of 13 wind instruments in Serenade for Winds, prior to Barber’s nostalgic Knoxville: Summer of 1915, with it recollections of idyllic childhood memories of simpler times in rural America.  Closing the concert, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 is brimming with joyous and lovely melodies as it leads up to the gorgeous vocal solo by soprano Talise Trevigne in the radiant finale. Associate Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra Cristian Macelaru conducts TFO for these concerts on Friday-Sunday, March 20, 21 and 22 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.


Individual concert tickets for this season as well as series packages for the 2015/16 season are all available at  or by calling 727-892-3337 or 800-662-7286, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Most concerts offer affordable single-ticket prices of $15, $30 and $45.


The Florida Orchestra’s March concerts include music from Star Wars, Stravinsky and more.

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