By Robert D. Thomas
Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News
Each Thursday, I list five events (six today) that pique my interest, including (ideally) at least one with free admission (or, at a minimum, inexpensive tickets). Here’s today’s grouping:
• Tonight at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Los Angeles Opera: Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra
As noted in my review (LINK), this is an excellent production that features Plácido Domingo in his first true baritone role after more than half a century as a tenor. There are other reasons to make the trip downtown, especially soprano Ana Maria Martinez. Other performances are Feb. 21 and March 1 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 26 and March 4 at 2 p.m. Information: www.losangelesopera.com
• Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Ambassador Auditorium
Bulgarian conductor Rossen Milanov leads the PSO in Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances (from which came the song Strangers in Paradise, made famous in the 1953 Broadway musical Kismet); Rimsky-Korsakov’s version of Scheherazade, with concertmaster Aimee Kreston playing the solos that portray the Arabian princess spinning tales for 1,001 nights; and Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 5 (Egyptian), with Colburn School graduate Esther Keel as soloist. Information: www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org
• Saturday at 2 p.m. in local theaters
Los Angeles Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
If you weren’t able to attend the performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 last week at the Shrine Auditorium, you can see and hear the “Symphony of a Thousand” live in movie theaters from Caracas, Venezuela on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. via the “LA Phil LIVE” series. Actually, this performance will reportedly have more than 1,200 musicians as Gustavo Dudamel leads both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Simón Bolivár Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, eight soloists and more than 1,000 choristers. Several local theaters will also show an “encore” performance is set for Feb. 29. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times is in Caracas and filed this preview story HERE. Telecast Information: www.laphil.com
• Saturday at 7 p.m. at Civic Theatre, San Diego
San Diego Opera: Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick
When Dallas Opera premiered this new operatic version of Herman Melville’s famous novel in April 2010, it met with widespread audience and critical acclaim (LINK). San Diego, one of the four commissioning companies, gets its turn in the spotlight beginning Saturday night. Prior to Moby Dick, Heggie was best known for his opera Dead Man Walking, written in 2000..
One of the world’s premiere tenors, Ben Heppner, who created the title role in Dallas, is back on the deck of the Pequod again (and above it — see HERE) but Karen Keltner, SD Opera’s Resident Conductor, has withdrawn due to illness. Fortunately, Joseph Mechavich, who just finished conducting Calgary Opera’s run of Moby Dick, was available to step in, so things should be in good hands in the pit (LINK). Other performances are Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. Information: www.sdopera.com
• Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Olivier Latry, organist
Latry, who is titular organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, returns to Disney Hall for a recital that will surely spotlight the WDCH organ’s power and many colors. To conclude the program, Latry will be joined by Korean organist Shin-Young Lee for a performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, using an adaptation of the composer’s four-hand piano arrangement of what was originally a ballet score (when the ballet premiered on May 29, 1913, it caused a riot (literally) in the concert hall). Information: www.laphil.com
And the weekend’s “free admission” program …
• Saturday at 8 at La Mirada
La Mirada Symphony
Russian music seems to be everywhere this weekend. Robert Frelly leads his ensemble in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture (presumably, since it’s indoors, sans fireworks) and Variations on a Rococo Theme, with Kihae Kim DeFazio as soloist. Also on the program is Stravinsky’s 1919 Firebird Suite. Information: www.lamiradasymphony.com
(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.
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