SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Chamber Orchestra will break into the summer outdoor music market with a 10-week series of evening concerts in Sea World's 5,000-seat Nautilus Bowl beginning June 28 and running through Aug. 30.
Although the chamber orchestra will be almost within hailing distance of the San Diego Pops Orchestra at Hospitality Point, the programming is not meant to compete with the symphony's popular Mission Bay series.
"Ours is not a pops program," said Donald Barra, the chamber orchestra's music director. "We will be presenting a series of theme programs featuring accessible classical music, and each program will tell a story. It will be narrated and will include singers, dancers, or actors to dramatize the theme. We hope to excite people, especially youngsters, who don't have a great deal of experience with classical music."
Barra's opening program, called "Wild, Wild West," will feature the predictable Copland "Rodeo" and excerpts from Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite," as well as Virgil Thomson's less familiar "Plow That Broke the Pains," with narration from the film for which it was composed. The following week's "Star-Spangled Spectacular" will be presented on July 4 and 5, the only program in the series to be repeated.
In August, the California Ballet will join the orchestra in a performance of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf." "We hope to include the ballet in four or five of our concerts," said Barra. The gamut of concert themes will run from instructive--"The Three B's--Beethoven, Bach and Brahms--" to humorous. In "Carnival of the Animals," Barra will invite the youngsters to guess which animals are depicted in programmatic movements named for members of the animal kingdom. An evening of Mozart's music, entitled "Amadeus," will trace the composer's life through musical examples that describe his activities at each stage of his career.
Barra will conduct each Saturday night concert and will augment his 35-member ensemble to 45-50 players for the Sea World series. To accommodate the large seating capacity of the Nautilus Bowl, the concerts will be amplified.
"From a marketing point of view, I suppose anything like the Sea World series could be considered competition," said San Diego Symphony spokeswoman Nancy Hafner. "But in San Diego, even the beach is competition. Because the San Diego Pops is firmly entrenched in the local summer scene, this new series has not affected our planning in any way."
Hafner added that subscription sales for this season's San Diego Pops series are up significantly from last year.
According to Sea World spokesman George Stalle, there will be no separate admission charge for the orchestra concerts, although Sea World patrons will have to pick up tickets while they are in the park for the each evening concert. Single admissions to the park are $14.95 for adults; $11.95 for seniors, and $10.95 for children. Annual passes, which Barra pointed out would admit a patron to the entire 10-concert series, cost $35 for adults and $25 for children and seniors. Each chamber concert will begin at 8 p.m.