The Hollywood Bowl lineup for 2011 includes, from left, Dolly Parton, Harry… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
More Dude and hello, Dolly!
That's one way of (imperfectly) trying to synopsize the 2011 season at the Hollywood Bowl, which will begin selling subscription series tickets Wednesday. (Single tickets go on sale May 7, when the Bowl's complete programming will be announced.)
Country diva Dolly Parton will make her Bowl debut on July 22 (with a July 23 encore), bringing 45 years' worth of Nashville hits and, no doubt, some killer fashion ensembles with her.
And Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel (aka The Dude) will conduct five Bowl concerts in 2011, up from three last year. They'll include one of Prokofiev, Mussorgsky and Ravel (July 12); an all-Mozart concert (July 19) with violin soloist Gil Shaham; and a July 17 concert version of Puccini's "Turandot," the opera that made "Nessun Dorma" nearly as ubiquitous in popular culture as the McDonald's jingle.
But in keeping with other Bowl traditions, like picnic hampers, fireworks and cruising Highland Avenue in search of that perfect secret parking spot, this summer's lineup at the iconic venue is a customarily unclassifiable mix of classical and jazz, pop and global rhythms, old hands and debutantes, the reassuringly familiar and the unexpected.
If there's one thing that ties it all together, said Arvind Manocha, chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn., it's the bespoke nature of the Bowl's programming, which is tailored to the hometown crowd and typically never seen anywhere else.
"Most of what we do is one-off," Manocha said in an interview.
Dudamel's Bowl engagements will extend the special relationship that he has had with the venue. The 29-year-old Venezuelan first caught the attention of L.A. audiences with his electrifying Bowl (and U.S.) debut in 2005. He then launched his tenure as the Phil's artistic leader with the "¡Bienvenido Gustavo!" community concert at the Bowl in the fall of 2009. Dudamel repeatedly has spoken about the special place the venue holds in his career, and in his emotions.
Several other artists with strong connections to the Bowl, the Phil and/or Los Angeles will show up under the arches this summer. Harry Connick Jr., along with other inductees still to be announced, will be ushered into the Bowl Hall of Fame on opening night, June 17.
Pop mega-impresario Quincy Jones, a longtime FOB (Friend of the Bowl), will be featured in a program paired with a somewhat mysterious musical entity provisionally known as the Global Gumbo All Stars.
"We've been trying to get Quincy to put together and curate a program with the Phil for a long time," Manocha said. "This is very much going to be from the mind of Quincy Jones, which is a very large, expansive and all-encompassing place."
Another returning FOB will be John Mauceri, the founder and longtime leader of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and now chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He'll be conducting selections from "Fantasia," Walt Disney's landmark marriage of classical music and animation, accompanied by film clips on the Bowl's giant screens.
And the boldly experimental jazz catalog of rock-folk legend Joni Mitchell will be explored in an Aug. 17 program led by drummer and music director Brian Blade, with special guest musicians and singers, that will include a complete performance of her masterful 1975 album, "The Hissing of Summer Lawns."
Further celebrating the ties that bind the Bowl artistically and topographically to the movie industry, Philip Glass will lead his ensemble in performing a new Phil-commissioned arrangement of the score for Godfrey Reggio's 1988 experimental documentary film, "Powaqqatsi: Life in Transformation" (Aug. 30).
A staged version of the Tony Award-winning musical "Hairspray" (Aug. 5, 6, 7) and singalongs to "Grease" (June 24) and "The Sound of Music" (Sept. 24) will aim to satisfy Broadway mavens.
At another point on the Bowl's programming spectrum, the World Festival series, co-sponsored with taste-maker radio station KCRW (FM 89.9), will bring reggae, a reunion of Japan's legendary electro-pop pioneers Yellow Magic Orchestra and an Aug. 28 tribute to French singer-songwriter-actor and all-round bon vivant Serge Gainsbourg, with guest including Beck, China Forbes and Sean Lennon.
"The KCRW crowd are the children of this slightly amorphous figure," Manocha said of Gainsbourg. "He's a great artist with a great palette."
For the full schedule go online here on Culture Monster.