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MUSIC REVIEWS : Wascally Wabbit Makes His Return

July 04, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

"Bugs Bunny on Broadway," conductor George Daugherty's popular salute to the classic Warner Bros. cartoons and the music composed and arranged for them, returned to the Hollywood Bowl Friday night to the delight of a vociferous audience that whooped, cheered and sang along with the animated patter.

The current (second) edition of the show, which combines cartoons with live performances of the scores and related music, includes the Road Runner short "Zoom and Bored" (1957) and "Rhapsody Rabbit" (1946), as well as such favorites as "Long-Haired Hare" (1949), "Rabbit of Seville" (1950) and "One Froggy Evening" (1955).

Daugherty drew careful distinctions between melodies that were adapted to shorts and the pieces from which they were taken. He overemphasized the accents in the Pilgrims' Chorus from Wagner's "Tannhauser" during Bugs' hilarious entrance as Brunnhilde in "What's Opera, Doc?" (1957), but avoided exaggeration in a vigorous reading of the Ride of the Valkyries. He eschewed the breakneck pace of the cartoons in an upbeat performance of the Dance of the Comedians from Smetana's "Bartered Bride," the source of the chase theme in the Road Runner films.

Between films, veteran Warners director Chuck Jones paid tribute to designer Maurice Noble, whose visual work ranges from the angular mesas of the Road Runner series to the futuristic city in "Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century" (1953). Voice artists June Foray (Witch Hazel) and Stan Freberg (Junyer Bear) honored the memories of sound effects engineer Treg Brown, composer-arranger Milt Franklyn and composers Raymond Scott and Carl Stalling.

The members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who seemed to be having as much fun as the audience, gave polished performances that were marred only by a blown tube in the video projection system during "What's Opera, Doc?"

Attendance: 17,979; airplanes: 1.

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