UCF musicians perform orchestral classics and excerpts from a new opera, conducted by Eric Jacobsen, music director of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

The UCF Symphony Orchestra shines under the baton of guest conductor Eric Jacobsen, performing Dvořák’s Carnival Overture and Respighi’s Pines of Rome. Singers from Orlando Opera join for a preview performance of UCF professor of composition Alex Burtzos’ new opera, HE Who Gets Slapped. Selected songs will be performed.

HE Who Gets Slapped is an opera in development by Alex Burtzos and librettist Daniel Neer, based on Leonid Andreyev’s 1915 play of the same name. The opera’s action revolves around a mysterious stranger, known only as “HE,” who works as a clown at a small circus in the early part of the 20th century. In addition to lengthy runs on Broadway and London’s West End, Andreyev’s tale has been adapted into a Russian silent film (1916), an MGM feature (1924), a novel (1924) and more. This operatic setting is testament to its continuing timeless appeal.

Featuring musicians of the UCF Symphony Orchestra:

Eric Jacobsen, conductor
Sara Lucille Law, soprano
Raphaella Medina, mezzo soprano
Robert Hartfield, tenor
Geoffrey Peterson, baritone
Joe Colsant, bass

This opera is in production with support from Opera Orlando.

UCF faculty and staff, and students from any institution with a valid ID can use the code ILOVEUCF2023 for a $5 discount.

This performance is generously supported by the Judith & David Albertson Endowment for the Arts.

Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Logo

UCF Symphony Orchestra: When in Rome


Dr. James O. Welsch — Interim Director of Orchestras

Eric Jacobsen — Guest Conductor


Carnival Overture, Op. 92 — Antonin Dvořák


Arias and Interludes from HE Who Gets Slapped

1. Prelude to Act I, Scene i
2. Consuelo’s Aria
3. Jackson’s Aria
4. Prelude to Act I, Scene ii
5. Zinida’s Aria
6. Mancini’s Aria
7. Prelude to Act II, Scene i
8. HE’s Aria
9. Prelude to Act II, Scene iii


Pini di Roma — Ottorino Respighi

1. The Pine Trees of the Villa Borghese
2. Pine Trees Near a Catacomb
3. The Pine Trees of the Janiculum
4. The Pine Trees of the Appian Way


Carnival Overture, Op. 92 — Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904) Program Notes by Susan Key

Dvorák’s 1892 triptych “Nature, Life, and Love” consists of three overtures: In Nature’s Realm, Carnival, and Othello. The work served as both a musical farewell and greeting for the conductor / composer, who premiered it in Prague just before heading to New York to assume his post as director of the National Conservatory of Music, and reprised it at Carnegie Hall on his first American program.

His description of Carnival juxtaposes an observer and the scene he observes: “The lonely, contemplative wanderer reaches the city at nightfall, where a carnival is in full swing. On every side is heard the clangor of instruments, mingled with shouts of joy and the unrestrained hilarity of people giving vent to their feelings in their songs and dance tunes.”

The opening syncopated rhythmic motive drops us right into the atmosphere of dancing and shouting. There is a contrasting middle section that brings us back to the perspective of the “contemplative wanderer” in a lovely interlude on English horn and flute, backed by shimmering strings.

Pines of Rome — Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) Program Notes by Laney Boyd

One of the leading Italian composers of the twentieth century, Ottorino Respighi is today best known for his “Roman Triptych,” a trilogy of orchestral tone poems. Though similar in structure to traditional symphonies, tone poems differ in that they are meant to illustrate a non-musical source such as a poem, story, or landscape and inspire pictorial or dramatic associations rather than present and focus on purely musical content and structure. The three tone poems of Respighi’s Triptych – Fountains of Rome (1916), Pines of Rome (1924), and Roman Festivals (1928) – each richly evoke different aspects of Roman landscapes and culture. As can be gleaned from its title, the four-movement Pines of Rome depicts pine trees in four locations throughout Rome at varying times of day and in various historical periods. Of the three tone poems, Pines is the most frequently performed work.

Respighi chose and musically rendered his four Roman locations with care, each distinctly lovely in its own way. The lively first movement starts the work at the Villa Borghese, a palace built in the seventeenth century complete with charming pleasure gardens. The contrasting second movement, somber and mysterious, depicts early underground Christian burial chambers. Resphighi then illustrates the Janiculum, one of the Seven Hills of Rome, with serene and melodic strings and a soaring clarinet solo. This third movement ends with a recording of a nightingale’s song, making it one of the earliest works to use electronics within its orchestration. The tone poem’s final movement recalls the ancient glories of the Appian Way, an important early Roman road, with an ever-building surge of sound that concludes in a blast of triumphant brass and percussion.

Respighi himself wrote detailed programmatic descriptions of each movement within the score to Pines of Rome:

The Pine Trees of the Villa Borghese – Children are at play in the pine groves of Villa Borghese; they dance round in circles, they play at soldiers, marching and fighting, they are wrought up by their own cries like swallows at evening, they come and go in swarms. Suddenly the scene changes.

Pine Trees Near a Catacomb – We see the shades of the pine trees fringing the entrance to a catacomb. From the depth rises the sound of mournful psalm-singing, floating through the air like a solemn hymn, gradually and mysteriously dispersing.

The Pine Trees of the Janiculum – A quiver runs through the air: the pine trees of the Janiculum stand distinctly outlined in the clear light of a full moon. A nightingale is singing.

The Pine Trees of the Appian Way – Misty dawn on the Appian Way; solitary pine trees guard the magic landscape; indistinctly, the ceaseless rhythm of unending footsteps. The poet has a fantastic vision of bygone glories. Trumpets sound and, in the brilliance of the newly risen sun, a consular army bursts forth toward the Sacred Way, mounting in triumph to the Capitol.



*Principal, #Assistant Principals, +Community Member, @Alumnus


Violin 1

Alexander Heidt*
Brady Mandeville#
Jenna Chen
Alyssa Corbin
Sarah Marshall
Donwin Xu
Kaylee Burnison
Samuel Ovalle
Abby Goodman
Bethany Muncey
Samantha Ryan

Violin 2

Juan Angulo*
Ashley Nelson#
Dylan Dragone
Alexander McIlroy
Veronica Almanza
Madison Jackson
Christopher Wojahn@
Olga Ivashyna
Camen Fitts
Azlyn Cato
Dane Piekarski
Victor Aguilar


Jose Fiorentino*
Kelsey Robinson#
Isaac Borge
Alana Drybrugh
Michael Arflin
Parker Keller
Kessa Drybrugh
Jinna McDonald
Ari Cricks
Pam Leadbitter+
Ariya C.


Dennis Fleitz*
Annalise Lang#
Ben Walding
Cody Davis
Andrew Stewart
Kiara Sheffield
Christian Ovalle
Juan Ceballos
Carlyn Byrd
Ryan Rosario Algorri
Alex Hynds
Isis Perez
Cristina Garcia
Madeline Icho
Rasheed Kerster


Cesar Olmeda*
Meliari Sepulveda#
Andi Bond
Eric Rivera
Brett Morales
Tusya Singh


Amanda Wiebelt*
Logan Grzybowski
Ainsley Elgin, Piccolo


Emily Carbo*
Vincent Artusa, Oboe/English Horn
Colin Urbina


Trevor Frier*
Caitlyn Pellegrini
Rim Ben Hadda, Bass Clarinet


Hazell Alonzo*
Caden Lourdell
Joshua Butenschoen, Contrabassoon


Kayley Rodriguez*
Adam Zapf
Jacob Johnson


Joshua Sanchez*
Jana Jirgens
Emma Schwarz
Sophie O’Brien
Giovani Jimenez


Gabe Funk*
Ricardo Hernandez

Bass Trombone

Benjamin Fuller


Justin McKinney*


Ethan Nasypany*
Michael Colbassani
Michael Patri
Ben Penta
Christian Snedecker
Christopher Vosburgh


Santiago Martinez Sverko


Samuel Capell
Christina Sochor


Haley Rhodeside

Antiphonal Brass

Zachary Sellers, Trumpet
John Penrod, Trumpet
Cassidy Phillips, Horn
Sean Callahan, Horn
Jeremy Fielder, Trombone
Jack Stadler, Trombone