After a couple of tantalizing teases last fall, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and its new music director, Ward Stare, are open for business in tandem, and the partnership will be unveiled on Thursday and Saturday nights at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Stare's opening-night program eschews the customary audience-bait of a superstar soloist in favor of a purely orchestral, and pretty demanding, program. Heard live and performed well, Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" is still profoundly moving; Tchaikovsky's "Francesca da Rimini" still causes all hell to break loose; Dukas's "Sorcerer's Apprentice" still delights; and Respighi's "Pines of Rome" is still the very definition of "orchestral spectacular." Wrap them all together and you could have quite an evening at the RPO this week.
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's opening weekend will take place Thursday, September 17, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, September 19, at 8 p.m. Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs Street. $22-$114. 454-2100, rpo.org.