William Tell in 1776

12th Season: mAY 27-June 13, 2016


The Southern Illinois Music Festival, now in its 12th season, is presenting Rossini's final opera, William Tell, sung in French with projected English supertitles, at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center June 7, 8, 10 and 11. This opera has only been produced in the United States three times in the last century, so this is an historic event.

Most people know William Tell's famous overture (with its Lone Ranger theme), but the opera is full of beautiful arias, stirring ensembles and rousing choruses. This production is set it in 1776, to coincide with Washington crossing the Delaware, on this 240th anniversary of our Independence, and also includes all the original ballet music. The entire opera is presented twice over two nights, June 7/8 and June 10/11. Separate admission is required each night.

Josh Shaw, Director of the Pacific Opera Project in Los Angeles, directs the production, which stars two internationally recognized singer including Wes Mason, in the title role; and William Davenport, singing one of the most demanding Tenor roles in the repertoire. Other professional lead singers come from New York to Los Angeles and points in between, along with a 40 voice chorus, 20 member ballet company, and the fabulous Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra, under the musical direction of Edward Benyas.

The Festival Orchestra will also perform a grand orchestral program of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, including the “Eroica” Symphony and the Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, featuring violinist, Michael Barta and cellist, Eric Lenz. The Festival will also present music by Mozart from 1776, including his three great violin concerti, the concerto for three pianos, the Serenata Notturno and the “Paris” Symphony. Mark your calendars for May 27 through June 13, 2016.

The Southern Illinois Music Festival presents three-dozen professional performances of classical music and jazz in two dozen venues throughout Southern Illinois each June. The Festival has been nationally recognized in Symphony magazine, the premiere publication for American orchestras; by the Chicago Tribune Travel section as one of 24 top summer activities (musical and otherwise) in an eight-state region; and by AAA Midwest magazine as a Midwest Travel Treasure.

 The majority of the Festival performances are free. Admission for other performances are noted on the schedule below. Go to www.SIFest.com for the latest schedule updates or email benyas@siu.edu. Tickets for the festival are always available at the event, or by calling the Marion Civic Center box office during business hours at 618-997-4030, or online at www.MarionCCC.com. Please join us for our 11th season of great music!

SIFest Radio Preview

An hour-long radio preview of the Festival takes place on WSIU Radio, 91.9 FM Carbondale, 88.9 FM Mt. Vernon and 90.3 FM Olney. Artistic Director, Edward Benyas discusses all aspects of the Festival and plays musical excerpts. The radio preview will air on Friday, May 27 at 9am.