Marital harmony: 17 married couples to perform with Boston Symphony Orchestra Saturday
BOSTON — These married couples really do make beautiful music together.
Seventeen married couples are scheduled to perform Saturday at the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home at Tanglewood in western Massachusetts in what's being touted as the most wedded pairs to perform together in the orchestra's 134-year history.
The couples performing the first two acts of the Verdi opera "Aida" include the orchestra's music director, Andris Nelsons, and his soprano wife, Kristine Opolais, in the title role.
Two members of the cast — Violeta Urmana, a mezzo-soprano who plays the role of Amneris, and her husband, Alfredo Nigro, a tenor who plays the messenger — are also joined in matrimonial bliss.
Six of the couples perform with the orchestra, and eight are in the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the orchestra's all-volunteer choir. The BSO's associate concertmaster and his freelance violinist wife are also performing.
"I think it's pretty cool," said Cathy Basrak, a viola player with the BSO who's been married to timpanist Tim Genis since 2003. "But it's not surprising. I always knew there were a lot of married couples in the BSO, and it makes sense that the chorus has so many married couples as well."
Chorus members Livia Racz and her husband of nearly 20 years, Bruce Kozuma, estimate they have shared the stage hundreds of times. But they've never been part of something like this.
"Everything just sort of came together for this weekend," Racz said.
Like most couples, shared interest is what brought the pair together, and it's what helps keep their marriage strong. They know the dedication each has for what is essentially a hobby, as both have demanding jobs — Kozuma as a systems analyst with the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard and Racz as a research group director at MIT.
It can also be the source of some minor marital tension.
"If we happen to be driving in the car together and discussing a piece, sometimes she'll say, 'No, no, no! You're not doing it right!"' Kozuma said with a chuckle.
Getting so many married couples on stage together wasn't planned, BSO officials said. While going over the roster of more than 240 performers, several staffers noticed that the event was also a celebration of conjugal bliss.
Music is better when it's a family affair, Nelsons said.
"This family feeling generally is something that we value so highly," he said. "Without question, such a family-like atmosphere adds levels to our music-making together."