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Musical Metamorphosis: Melissa White Shines at the Charlotte Symphony

Oct 9, 2023

Lawrence Toppman, WDAV -- 

If I say I spent Friday night watching a beautiful violinist shed her garments, the words "Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (CSO)" will not leap to your lips. But Melissa White did just that chastely, I hasten to add while playing the "Butterfly Lovers" concerto with spirit and dignity. Her work, which was as close to performance art as I've seen at a CSO concert, came at the midpoint of an evening that succeeded in three very different ways.

Last things first. I associate guest conductor Hugh Wolff with smaller-scale works, due to fine recordings with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. But his performance of Beethoven's "Eroica" symphony, dramatic from the opening hammer-blows to the end 50 minutes later, left me wrung out with pleasure.

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