The 74th annual Hollywood Bowl summer season, and a general upgrade of the outdoor amphitheater, were both unveiled Wednesday morning at a breakfast onstage at the Bowl.
With ongoing construction as a backdrop, officials of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn., principal tenant of the Bowl, gave details of the season's artists and repertory. And Bowl management described a new "pool circle" of stage-front seats, a new easy entrance/easy exit to the Odin Street parking lot, greatly expanded restroom facilities and a host of improvements for patrons with disabilities that will be among the upgrades expected to be completed by June 1, well before the Bowl's official opening on June 21.
Most of the renovations are to the Bowl's infrastructure, part of a multiphase project funded by Proposition A, the 1992 voter-approved tax assessment that provides $540 million to improve county recreational facilities. They include new restroom facilities by the West Gate (with three times the previous capacity), major improvements in the Bowl's plumbing and electrical systems, and "re-ramping" so that its paths and walkways meet the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The 164-seat area directly in front of the stage has been refurbished, and special services will be offered to those who subscribe to these seats. The county and CalTrans are realigning Odin Street to create direct access onto the Hollywood Freeway going both north and south. That means the bulk of Bowl traffic will no longer be directed onto Highland Avenue into the congested streets of Hollywood.
All of the construction projects, noted Ann Parsons, Bowl general manager, "are now on track, though each project has its own time frame." Additional renovations, including an improved West Gate entrance, new concession areas and a new ticketing building, will begin in October.
Musically, the summer of 1995 starts with a generous preseason--11 performances of nine programs from June 21 to July 8. There will be a benefit concert with violinist Itzhak Perlman, an opera night, appearances by Engelbert Humperdinck and Peter, Paul and Mary, three performances of the Fourth of July concert and two Baroque evenings conducted by Christopher Hogwood.
The traditional 10-week concert series this year opens with British conductor Roger Norrington leading a Beethoven program, with Emmanuel Ax playing the G-major Piano Concerto and closing with the Ninth Symphony.
Conductors following Norrington include Libor Pesek, John Williams, Enrique Diemecke, Peter Maag, Jeffrey Tate, Carlo Rizzi, Robert Spano, Philip Brunelle and Bobby McFerrin. Among debutant soloists are 12-year-old American violinist Tai Murray and pianist Xiang-Dong Kong, both of them chosen by Ernest Fleischmann, the Philharmonic's managing director.
Returning soloists include soprano Kathleen Battle, mezzo-sopranos Marilyn Horne and Frederica von Stade, pianists Alicia de Larrocha, Jeffrey Kahane, Mona Golabek and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and violinists Joshua Bell and Maxim Vengerov.
Jazz and pop artists appearing this summer include Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Luther Vandross, Amy Grant, the Second Annual Hollywood Bowl Salsa and Latin Jazz Festival, Ruben Blades, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Mel Torme, Dionne Warwick, Rosemary Clooney, Paige O'Hara, Richard White and Priscilla Baskerville.
"In many ways, from the classical perspective, this is the strongest season in years," Fleischmann said. "When you have exciting newcomers, plus great veterans like Larrocha and Stade, such a season becomes a lucky convergence."
Besides the traditional weeknight and weekend concerts, other series scheduled in 1995 include American Airlines Jazz at the Bowl (five concerts) and Chamber Music at the Ford, across the freeway at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre (four concerts).
Also announced at the breakfast was a new Park & Ride Service to East Los Angeles. For a Bowl brochure, call (213) 850-2000.