May 10, 2012 |
“The Wendy Williams Show” 11 a.m. Thursday, Fox: Broadway: actress Audra McDonald. “Open Call” 9 p.m. Thursday, KCET: Live at the Ford-Grandeza Mexicana: Hosted by mezzo-soprano opera singer Suzanna Guzman, Open Call features a wide variety of productions from profiles of artists. “Gospel Music Presents: Great Performances” 10 a.m. Saturday, CBS: Shirley Murdock performs with guests Regina Belle, Beverly Crawford and Kelly Price. From Fort Mill, S.C. “Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theatre” 10 p.m. Saturday, FX: “Great Performances at the Met” 1 a.m. Saturday, KVCR: "Madama Butterfly": Patrick Summers conducts Puccini's tale of a Japanese geisha betrayed by an American lover.
May 1, 2012 |
It wasn't the words of Shakespeare that sprang to mind Monday night as I found myself sitting onstage at the $240-million Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, surrounded by members of the Pacific Symphony, my trusty clarinet in my lap, the score to Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" ballet music laid out before me and music director Carl St.Clair wielding his baton in front of us. No, it was the immortal question posed by Talking...
April 29, 2012 |
The Pasadena Symphony's Saturday afternoon concert at the Ambassador Auditorium afforded many pleasures: soulful playing by the orchestra itself; the skilled, sustained and often inspired conducting of Michael Stern (a late substitute for the symphony's music director, James DePreist, who is recovering from heart surgery), and the enveloping acoustics of a fine, mid-sized concert hall. Still, my guess is that many in the audience came specifically to hear the "Four Last Songs" of Richard Strauss, as sung by Christine Brewer.
April 23, 2012 |
After 11 years as conductor of the San Bernardino Symphony, Carlo Ponti Jr. is stepping down. His final concert of the orchestra's 2011-2012 season will be May 19. Frank Fetta, conductor of the Redlands Bowl's summer concerts and a frequent guest conductor with the San Bernardino Symphony, will assume Ponti's post for the 2012-13 season. "[Ponti] brought the orchestra to unprecedented levels of artistic achievement," symphony board president Mary Schnepp said in a news release.
April 20, 2012 |
In November 2008, as the Great Recession pounded away, Opera Pacific closed its doors. Orange County was suddenly without a major resident opera company. But after nearly four years of drought, the Pacific Symphony is trying to step into the breach with concert opera over three years, one per season. It's a small step, but it's a step. They aren't taking any chances with repertoire, that's for sure. First out of the chute was that guaranteed crowd-pleaser, Puccini's "La Bohème" -- and yes, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall looked almost full on the ground floor Thursday night.
April 15, 2012 |
The perfect "first opera" for a newcomer to the art form? Puccini's "La Bohème," of course. It is funny, it is sad. It is directly emotive, it is highly sophisticated. It is full of good tunes and doesn't go on too long. "La Bohème" appeals to young people who see themselves in the characters and to older audiences for whom it calls back the shadows of soirees past. We recognize its heroes and heroines: Didn't we just see poet Rodolfo in a Silver Lake cafe? Or philosopher Colline, buried in the stacks of the library?
March 25, 2012
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Where: Renée & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa When: 8 p.m. Wednesday Tickets: $30 to $250 Information: (949) 553-2422 or http://www.philharmonicsociety.org
March 10, 2012 |
The tempo marking for the second movement of Brahms' Symphony No. 2 is adagio non troppo - slow but not too slow. One member of the audience watching the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this week apparently thought it was marked furioso . He got into a fistfight. The Brahms Second is one of the mainstays of the Romantic repertoire, but the incident that erupted in Chicago brings to mind one of the more memorable - and violent - moments in 20th century music, the riot that broke out in Paris during the premiere of Igor Stravinsky's “The Rite of Spring” in 1913.
March 4, 2012 |
Among the many guest conductors who pass regularly through Southern California armed with fat music scores and frequent-flier miles, Nicholas McGegan is certainly one of the more recognizable faces. In the past 10 years, McGegan has become a presence with' the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducting frequently at the Hollywood Bowl and at Walt Disney Concert Hall. He has led nearly 30 performances with the orchestra since 2001. This month the British conductor will make his debut with another local group, the Pasadena Symphony, in two concerts at the Ambassador Auditorium.