Critic’s Choice

January 28, 2016 at 9:11 am

By Aaron Keebaugh

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The 400th birthday of William Shakespeare will be celebrated in grand fashion over the next several weeks as Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in works inspired by the Bard’s literature. In this week’s concerts, Nelsons and the BSO will focus on pieces influenced by A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

At the center of the program will be Mendelssohn’s incidental music, which will be set to a live staging of select scenes from the play, featuring mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer and, a local favorite, soprano Amanda Forsythe, as soloists. Bringing the action to life will be actors Karen MacDonald as Titania, Will Lyman as Oberon, and Carson Elrod as Puck.

Rounding out the concerts will be Weber’s Overture to Oberon and Hans Werner Henze’s Symphony No. 8, a work written for the BSO and premiered by the orchestra in 1993. Through music of wry humor, Henze’s symphony illustrates key moments from Shakespeare’s whimsical play.

The program will be performed 8 p.m. Thursday, Saturday, and Tuesday and 1:30 p.m. Friday at Symphony Hall. bso.org;888-266-1200

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