Love is in the air — and music — at Vancouver Symphony

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter


photoMaestro Salvador Brotons of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

There will only be one thing missing when the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra performs its special Valentine's-themed concerts this weekend.

The concerts, called "Love Notes for Melissa," are dedicated to Melissa Brotons, wife of maestro Salvador Brotons.

If you go

• What: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concert "Love Notes for Melissa."

• Where: Skyview Concert Hall, 1300 N.W. 139th St.

• When: 3 p.m. Feb. 16 and 7 p.m. Feb. 17.

• Cost: $35 for adults, $30 for seniors age 62 and older, $10 for students.

• Information: 360-735-7278 or

But she has a busy teaching schedule as a music professor at the University of Barcelona in Spain, where the couple live, and couldn't make it to the February shows.

"In May, she usually comes, and she loves to come to this country, but she was too busy," Salvador Brotons said. "We have been married for almost 30 years. That's quite an achievement."

She will get a recording of the concert, though, which is an extra offering from the symphony this year that she helped create.

"Last year we celebrated Melissa's 50th birthday and we did a fundraiser for an extra concert," said Igor Shakhman, orchestra manager. "Through it, the community raised enough money for this concert."

It costs about $30,000 to put on a typical symphony show, he said. That includes paying for the orchestra, music rental, guest artists and rent.

Ticket sales pay for between 25 percent and 35 percent of that cost, with the rest paid for through private and corporate donations, he added.

This weekend's concerts will feature light, relaxing music, including Samuel Barber's "Knoxville: Summer of 1915," with guest soprano Coral Walterman; Manuel de Falla's ballet El amor brujo; and two Bizet suites from L'Arlesienne, Brotons said.

"The music of Bizet is very romantic, and the music of Falla is very appealing — there's a lot of gypsy flavors," Brotons said. "It's very suggestive."

The Barber piece was written in the early 20th century about a remembrance the composer had of spending a summer in Knoxville when he was 5 years old, Brotons said.

"The text talks about the ambiance of the South and the laid-back pace of life," Brotons said.

Every piece in the show has a bit of a love story connected to it, Shakhman added.

"It will be an exciting concert," Shakhman said. "It has a Spanish flavor, which is close to Salvador's soul."

It should be a great show to bring a date to, he added.

"Our concerts are friendly to everybody," Shakhman said. "There's a lot of parking, it's affordable, the music is great. It will be a fantastic Valentine's show."