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1987 Orange County Arts In Review : Classical Music and Dance

December 27, 1987|CHRIS PASLES | The reviewing staff for Orange County Calendar selects the highlights of 1987 in classical music and dance, art, college and community theater, pop music and comedy

Opera Pacific played host to the Houston Grand Opera touring production of Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess." Even though the production had been seen at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood in May, 1977, one could only admire this wonderful work, with three singers giving different and strong performances as Bess (Carmen Balthrop, Henrietta Davis and Naomi Moody) and two men singing Porgy (Mic Bell and Donnie Ray Albert). But kudos to the whole cast.

-- Georges Delerue conducted the Pacific Symphony in the marvelous score he had composed for Alexander Volkoff's 1927 silent film classic "Casanova" at a screening of the film. Attendance at the event, alas, was about only half of capacity. A loss for serious film buffs and music lovers who were not there.

-- The Joffrey Ballet established a toehold in the county, offering repertory that included Ashton's ravishing "La Fille mal gardee" and cooly elegant "Monotones I and II" and Nijinsky's stunning "L'apres-midi d'un faune."

-- Armin Jordan led the sublime Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in works by Shostakovich, Ravel and Stravinsky. The quality of sound was ravishing.

-- Martine van Hamel, 42, vanquished time and evoked the eternal promise of youth when she danced Aurora in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's "The Sleeping Beauty" with American Ballet Theatre.

-- Finally, special recognition to pianist Peter Gach who gave a benefit recital at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo for the Orange County AIDS Services Foundation. As far as we know, this was the only local classical music or dance event to address this scourge of our time. Gach's recital raised $4,000 for the foundation. Terrific.

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