Piedmont Virginia Community College’s Fine Arts and Performance season will continue with a concert by the Washington Balalaika Society Orchestra featuring award-winning soprano Olga Orlovskaya on Sunday, March 31, at 3 p.m., in the Main Stage Theatre in the V. Earl Dickinson Building, located on the college’s Main Campus in Charlottesville.
The Washington Balalaika Society Orchestra, the largest of its kind in North America, is comprised of more than 60 musicians performing a wide-ranging repertoire of music from Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe on traditional instruments. The orchestra is made up of balalaikas, often referred to as “the three-stringed Russian guitar,” and domras, which are mandolin-sized lutes, along with bayans (button accordions) and various woodwind and percussion instruments. Their programs include selections by classical Russian composers, regional folk songs and dances, and new music that explores the possibilities of this unique family of instruments.
Orlovskaya descends from a long line of talented musicians. Great-great-granddaughter of the legendary opera singer Feodor Chaliapin, she graduated with honors from the Russian Academy of Music and went on to win first prize for Best Performance in the international “Operetta Land” competition in Moscow. Since 2001, Orlovskaya has garnered numerous prizes at international opera competitions in France, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Moscow and Italy, and tours extensively throughout Europe and the U.S., receiving critical acclaim for roles which have included Katerina in Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District,” Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata,” Rusalka in Antonin Dvorak’s “Rusalka,” and Queen of the Night in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte.”
Artistic director and conductor Svetlana Nikonova is a graduate of one of Russia's preeminent postgraduate music conservatories and previously arranged music and performed for the respected Andreyev Balalaika Orchestra of St. Petersburg before moving to the United States to lead the WBS Orchestra. Nikonova will be joined on stage by Peter Omelchenko, a virtuoso domra soloist who grew up in the south of Russia among the rich folk music traditions of the Cossack people. Omelchenko was a member of the prestigious Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra in Moscow before joining the WBS Orchestra in 2017.
Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.pvcc.edu/performingarts, by calling the PVCC Box Office at 434.961.5376 (major credit cards accepted), or by visiting Greenberry’s Coffee (Barracks Road Shopping Center) or the PVCC Cashier’s Office during normal business hours. Tickets can also be purchased at the PVCC Box Office starting two hours before the performance.
The V. Earl Dickinson Building is located at the south end of College Drive. For more information about PVCC’s Fine Arts and Performance programming, visit www.pvcc.edu/performingarts.