Just Added To Pacific Symphony’s 2022-23 Pops Season: The Righteous Brothers

Photo Credit: The Righteous Brothers. Bucky Heard (L) and Bill Medley (R).

Pacific Symphony just added a special Valentine’s Day show with blue-eyed soul pioneers, The Righteous Brothers (Feb. 10-11, 2023), to the 2022-23 Pops Season led by Principal Pops Conductor Laureate Richard Kaufman and underwritten by the Sharon and Tom Malloy Family.  

The Righteous Brothers enjoyed a string of top-ten hits, including the most played song in radio history, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, originally from Orange County, topped the charts for four decades. After Hatfield’s death in 2003, Bill Medley continued to perform to sold-out crowds around the world, but fans and friends pleaded with him to keep The Righteous Brothers alive. Medley said, “No one could ever take Bobby’s place, but when I caught Bucky Heard’s show it all came together—I found the right guy to help me recreate the magic.”

The Righteous Brothers concert experience features their biggest hits—“Lovin’ Feelin’,” “Soul & Inspiration,” “Unchained Melody,” “Rock and Roll Heaven,” Medley’s Grammy-winning Dirty Dancing theme “The Time of My Life” and much more, all backed by the lush Hollywood sound of Pacific Symphony. The Bill Medley/Bucky Heard pairing came as something of a happy accident. Medley said it just seemed right: “I’d been friends with Bucky for years, but when I caught his show he just killed me! The next day it hit me. That’s the guy, someone I could sing hard with, laugh hard with, love and respect—on and off stage. He fits The Righteous Brothers live performance show perfectly. And, we’ve even recorded some new material together.”

The addition of The Righteous Brothers to Pacific Symphony’s Pops Season completes this series of seven singular sensations, which also present the Season Special Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™ in Concert (Oct. 28-29). The 2022-23 Pops Season officially begins Nov. 4-5 with a tribute to legendary film composer Maestro John Williams in honor of his 90th birthday. Five other blockbuster shows in the Pops series include renowned artists across jazz, pop, disco, Broadway and rock: The Manhattan Transfer, Kristin Chenoweth, Gloria Gaynor, The Music of The Rolling Stones and Renée Elise Goldsberry. The finale of the 2022-23 Pops Season will close June 9-10, 2023, with Hamilton: An American Musical alumna and Girls5eva star Renée Elise Goldsberry.

All concerts begin at 8 p.m. and take place at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA. Subscriptions for the seven-concert series are now available and start at $245. Single ticket sales begin in August and start at $35. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact our Patron Services team at (714) 755-5799, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or visit us online at PacificSymphony.org.

To learn more about the 2022-23 Pops Series and subscribe, please click here.

Programs, artists, prices and dates are subject to change.

What’s Happening Next Month: May 2022

May is right around the corner and that means we’re getting closer to the end of the 2021-22 season. What a journey it has been. Thank you for joining us through it all. From Paul Jacob’s solo organ recital (May 1) to Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble’s final concert of the 2021-22 season (May 23), here’s your lineup for May 2022.

PACIFIC SYMPHONY PERFORMS TICHELI AND BEETHOVEN WITH JENNIFER FRAUTSCHI | May 1, 2022 • 3 p.m.

Two-time GRAMMY nominee and Avery Fisher career grant recipient Jennifer Frautschi has garnered worldwide acclaim as a deeply expressive and musically adventurous violinist with impeccable technique and a wide-ranging repertoire. The program includes Frank Ticheli’s moving Rest, and Beethoven’s only concerto for one of the most popular instruments of his day: the violin.

This performance will take place at Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo. Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair.

To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here.

ORGAN RECITAL: PAUL JACOBS | May 1, 2022 • 7 p.m.

Pacific Symphony favorite and Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs makes his return at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall for a solo recital The program will feature works by John Weaver, J.S. Bach, Cesar Franck, Dudley Buck and Alexandre Guilmant. Enjoy image magnification on our big screens during the concert for a closer look at the organist! There is no Preview Talk for this performance. Doors open at 6 p.m.

To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here.

RAVEL’S PIANO TRIO | May 8, 2022 • 3 p.m.

French Impressionism caps off this delightful afternoon with Ravel’s colorful and climatic piano trio. Before that, music by the Hungarian composer, Ernst von Dohnányi treats you to shifting chromatic tonality while Czech composer, Bohuslav Martinů, explores the virtuosity of the woodwinds. Join host and curator Orli Shaham for the final concert of the 2021-22 Café Ludwig chamber music series. Just in time for Mother’s Day. The event will also feature Concertmaster Dennis Kim, Principal Violist Meredith Crawford, Principal Cellist Warren Hagerty and Principal Flutist Benjamin Smolen. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers and mother figures out there! This concert will take place at the Samueli Theatre.

To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here.

THE MUSIC OF ABBA | May 13-14, 2022 • 8 p.m.

Photo Credit: Arrival from Sweden

The world’s top ABBA tribute Arrival from Sweden joins Pacific Symphony in the second half to perform some of the most iconic songs ever written: “Dancing Queen,” “Mamma Mia,” “Waterloo,” “S.O.S.,” “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme” and so many more will have you dancing in the aisles and singing along. With hundreds of performances over the past two decades, The Music of ABBA has audiences all in agreement: This is the closest to ABBA you’ll ever get! Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Principal Pops Conductor Laureate Richard Kaufman.

To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here.

PSYO: CELEBRATIONS IN SOUND | May 16, 2022 • 7 p.m.

Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra wraps up its 2021-22 season with a special program featuring performances by the two winners of PSYO’s annual concerto auditions in concertos by Shostakovich and Bruch, a much anticipated and truly thrilling event! The concert is capped by Respighi’s colorful depiction of the Pines of Rome. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Seating is general admission. They will be under the baton of Music Director Dr. Jacob Sustaita.

To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here.

MOZART & SALIERI | May 19-21, 2022 • 8 p.m.

David Ivers as Antonio Salieri in the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2015 production of Amadeus. (Photo by Karl Hugh. Copyright Utah Shakespeare Festival 2015.)

The incredible story of genius musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told in flashback by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri—now confined to an insane asylum. Adapted from the Tony Award-winning play and Oscar-winning movie Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, Mozart & Salieri includes a complete performance of Mozart’s Requiem—featuring the Grammy Award-winning Pacific ChoraleDon Giovanni Overture and other selections. South Coast Repertory Artistic Director David Ivers stars as Salieri. You can listen to the preview talk recorded by Classical California KUSC host Alan Chapman here. Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair.

To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here.

MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES! | May 21, 2022 • 10 & 11:30 a.m.

Experience the magical music of Disney! Be our guest and enjoy your favorites from Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Star Wars. Come dressed as your favorite Disney or Star Wars character! This is a fun and fascinating 45-minute concert designed especially for children 5-11. Pacific Symphony will be under the baton of assistant conductor, Dr. Jacob Sustaita.

To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here.

MOZART’S REQUIEM | May 22, 2022 • 3 p.m.

Maestro Carl St.Clair and David Ivers, actor and artistic director at South Coast Repertory, explore Mozart’s “Requiem” — one of the most enigmatic pieces ever composed, mainly due to the myths and controversies surrounding it. Mozart’s “Requiem,” which was left unfinished at the time of the composer’s death, now enjoys an elevated status as one of the most magnificent achievements in sacred music. Featuring the Grammy Award-winning Pacific Chorale. Doors open at 2 p.m. There is no preview talk for this performance.

To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here.

PSYWE: FOR THE PEOPLE | May 23, 2022 • 7 p.m.

Wrapping up their 2021-22 season, Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble presents a program of soaring beauty and quirky wit, including the world premiere of Steven Mahpar’s Simurgh, and Giovanni Santos’ I Dream Awake. They will be under the baton of Music Director Dr. Gregory X. Whitmore. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Seating is general admission.

To learn more about the show and get tickets, please click here.

What show are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments!


 

Orli Shaham Comments On This Season’s Final Café Ludwig Program

On May 8, we’ll be performing the Fantasie for Flute and Piano by Philippe Gaubert and a flute movement from Martinu’s Sextet, the Serenade for String Trio by Ernst von Dohnanyi, and we’ll wrap up the program with the fabulous Piano Trio by Maurice Ravel.

I love all the players on this program, as always: Ben Smolen, Dennis Kim, Meredith Crawford and Warren Hagerty. I enjoy this combination of Czech and French music that will “speak” to each other in this program. There’s a lot of intimate music making here, with small forces in each of the pieces. It’s a lovely way to end our Cafe Ludwig season, with these duos and trios, displaying the deep personal connections which we all have and which we’re all so grateful for.

The Ravel Piano Trio is one of my absolute favorite pieces of chamber music, so I’m particularly excited to play it with Dennis Kim and Warren Hagerty. It’s so perfectly thought out, so delicate, so full of imagination, and demands so much of each of the players. That’s one of the reasons I thought this is a perfect setting for it. Dennis and Warren and I have established a wonderful rapport together, and we’ve tackled chamber music in all sorts of contexts by now, and we’ve gotten to know each other well as players. We’re excited to come together as a trio and play a piece like this, which requires such cohesion among the players. It asks us to set a scene, without letting any part of that scene go untouched. It was the final piece that he wrote before heading out to the front, as a volunteer soldier for World War I. It was particularly important to him to make sure it was well edited and that everything was in place because he had a palpable sense that it might end up being his last piece. It didn’t, but he thought of it that way. In many ways, it brought his level of composition to an entirely different place than where it had been before, with that awareness that it might be his final statement. ~ Orli Shaham, Curator and Host of Café Ludwig

To learn more about the show, please click here.

Coming Soon: Mozart & Salieri

Photo by Karl Hugh. Utah Shakespeare Festival 2015.

Pacific Symphony audiences will enjoy Mozart & Salieri, a creative collaboration between South Coast Repertory (SCR), Pacific Chorale and the Symphony, May 19-21, 2022.

Adapted from the Tony Award-winning play and Oscar-winning movie Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, Mozart & Salieri includes a complete performance of Mozart’s Requiem, Don Giovanni Overture and other selections. The incredible story of genius musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is told in flashback by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri—now confined to an insane asylum. SCR Artistic Director David Ivers stars as Salieri. James Sullivan, who conducted Ivers when he appeared as Salieri in the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2015 production of Amadeus, is directing this production as well. He wrote a director’s note sharing his thoughts about the program.

Director’s Note

“Mozart is the expression of eternal truth.” The renowned conductor Josef Krips said this, in an interview recorded in 1964. “Beethoven maybe reaches heaven, but Mozart comes from there…. What he wrote was written for Eternity.”

The Antonio Salieri of Peter Shaffer’s great play Amadeus could hardly disagree. What else could explain this astounding talent? But when Wolfgang Mozart blazed comet-like across the firmament of the 18th-century European sky and landed with ground-shaking force in Salieri’s Vienna, Antonio perhaps could only seethe with envy—and plot an upstart rival’s demise. Mozart’s offense was essentially nothing less than his own breathtaking brilliance. Salieri can see himself as nothing more than a middling mediocrity. Envy becomes treachery. Such is the story of Amadeus that is excerpted in this performance with the mighty presence of the Pacific Symphony as led by Carl St. Clair utterly enveloping David Ivers’ Antonio Salieri with the sublime music that is “of heaven.”

But is the story true? We can never know. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in deep poverty and was buried – no one knows just where—in a pauper’s grave. Mozart—divinely inspired Mozart— failed to gain in Vienna the patronage he so desperately sought. Salieri, competent but unremarkable Salieri, prospered there; the same Salieri who held several influential music posts at the Viennese Court, the same Salieri who certainly could have lifted young Mozart into a position of employment, if not prominence. That we know. But whispers, gossip, and then legend had it that Salieri literally poisoned Mozart—the scandalously sensational tale getting its boost from an 1830 drama by Alexander Pushkin—and furthered by Mozart and Salieri, an 1890s Rimsky-Korsakov opera based on the Pushkin tragedy of treachery. And then, of course, came Peter Shaffer’s international dramatic sensation, later the Oscar-winning film, Amadeus. But whatever happened, if any of this perfidy did, seems almost inconsequential to what is popularly believed. According to whisper, gossip, and legend Antonio Salieri stands in the villainous company of the Borgias, of Richard III, of Lady Macbeth.

There is one stirring thought to contemplate, a poignance that could surely have been the case for Salieri; and that, the agony of encountering the very brilliance he so desperately prayed to have in himself. Salieri’s own skills were in fact considerable. He must have easily heard and understood that Mozart was a miracle beyond explanation, a genius not of this earthly realm but of heaven itself. Amadeus. The sublime beauty of the music may have broken his heart.

It is an extraordinary privilege and pleasure to work on this project, especially with my longtime friend, David Ivers of South Coast Rep, and a new friend, Carl St. Clair of Pacific Symphony. And, of course, and especially this magnificent orchestra. To watch and to hear as these heavenly threads of sound surround and suffuse Salieri’s mind, heart and soul is a rare experience and true delight. With full orchestral force, it is—as Josef Krips had said—Eternal Truth told in the dramatic and heard in transcendence. 

—J.R. Sullivan

For more information about Mozart & Salieri or to buy tickets, please click here.

Pacific Symphony Announces 2022-23 Pops Season

Pacific Symphony announces its highly anticipated 2022-23 Pops Season led by Principal Pops Conductor Laureate Richard Kaufman and underwritten by the Sharon and Tom Malloy Family.  

As a Season Special, Pacific Symphony will perform Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™ in Concert, Oct. 28-29 in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. The concert will feature John Jesensky conducting Pacific Symphony in performing live, to picture, every note from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™. Audiences will be able to relive the magic of the entire film in high-definition on a 40-foot screen while hearing Pacific Symphony perform John Williams’ unforgettable score live.

The 2022-23 Pops Season officially begins Nov. 4-5, 2022, with a tribute to legendary film composer Maestro John Williams in honor of his 90th birthday. Five other blockbuster shows in the Pops series include renowned artists across jazz, pop, disco, Broadway and rock: The Manhattan Transfer, Kristin Chenoweth, Gloria Gaynor, The Music of The Rolling Stones and Renée Elise Goldsberry. The finale of the 2022-23 Pops Season will close June 9-10, 2023, with Hamilton: An American Musical alumna and Girls5eva star Renée Elise Goldsberry. One additional concert to be announced

All concerts begin at 8 p.m. and take place at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, CA. Subscriptions for the seven-concert series are now available and start at $245. Single ticket sales begin in August and start at $35. Lobby doors open approximately one hour before curtain. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact our Patron Services team at (714) 755-5799, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or learn more at PacificSymphony.org.

Programs, artists, prices and dates are subject to change.

PACIFIC SYMPHONY 2022-23 POPS SEASON

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE™ IN CONCERT (Season Special)
Oct. 28 • 8 p.m.; Oct. 29 • 3 & 8 p.m.
John Jesensky, conductor

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone™ Harry Potter learns on his 11th birthday that he is the orphaned son of two wizards and possesses magical powers of his own. At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy, he leans the high-flying sport of Quidditch and plays a ‘live’ chess game en route to facing a Dark Wizard bent on destroying him.

Relive the film that started it all. Watch the wand choose the wizard, a troll run amok and magic mirrors in high-definition while Pacific Symphony performs John Williams’ iconic score. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime event as Harry, Ron, Hermione and all your favorite characters return to the screen and enchant the world all over again.

WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s22)

JOHN WILLIAMS: A 90th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Nov. 4-5 • 8 p.m.
Richard Kaufman, conductor 

Pacific Symphony’s history wouldn’t be the same without Maestro John Williams. After all, it was Williams who encouraged his Boston Symphony colleague Carl St.Clair to apply for the music director position opening at Pacific Symphony after a trip in the late 1980s. The rest as they say, is history. The music of John Williams has transported us beyond our imagination. To new worlds. Through heart-pounding adventures. Be there as Pacific Symphony performs all your John Williams favorites: Superman, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and of course, Star Wars. The force is with you for this 90th birthday celebration of cinema’s symphonic master.

HOLIDAY POPS WITH THE MANHATTAN TRANSFER
Dec. 16-17 • 8 p.m.
Evan Roider, conductor

Warmth, joy and magic are only some of the words that can be used to describe the holiday season. Those are also the same words that can be used to describe jazz vocal group The Manhattan Transfer’s The Christmas Album and An Acapella Christmas albums. Founded by Tim Hauser in 1969, the group has gone on to receive both critical praise and commercial success ever since. Both holiday-themed albums include standards such as “Happy Holiday,” “Let It Snow,” “Christmas Time Is Here,” “Jingle Bells” and more. Celebrate the season with family and friends with Pacific Symphony in the holiday-decked Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Sparkling classics and favorites for the season—even a visit from Santa!

KRISTIN CHENOWETH
Mar. 10-11, 2023 • 8 p.m.
Mary-Mitchell Campbell, conductor

You may know her as Sally Brown from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Glinda the Good Witch from Wicked or Mildred Layton from Apple TV+’s Schmigadoon! but Emmy and Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth also has a rival solo career and has become a concert hall favorite. Her latest album, For the Girls, was released in 2019 and features hits such as “Desperado,” “The Man That Got Away” and “It Doesn’t Matter Any More.” Kristin Chenoweth joins Pacific Symphony for this spectacular concert of classic songs of love and empowerment. Entertainment Weekly raves: “her set-list spans so many different genres, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.”

GLORIA GAYNOR – THE QUEEN OF DISCO
Apr. 14-15, 2023 • 8 p.m.
Sarah Hicks, conductor

There is no doubt that Grammy-award winner and Dance Music Hall of Famer Gloria Gaynor is one of disco’s greatest icons. Before she became a solo artist, Gaynor started singing with the Soul Satisfiers in the 1960s. It wasn’t until the 70s when she really began doing things on her own. Since the release of her first studio album Never Can Say Goodbye in 1975, she has gone on to record more than 15 studio albums. Her latest album, Testimony, was released in 2019. She also won the first and only Grammy for Best Disco Recording for “I Will Survive” in 1980.

THE MUSIC OF THE ROLLING STONES
May 5-6, 2023 • 8 p.m.
Enrico Lopez-Yañez, conductor

Since their first live production of classic rock music with orchestra in 1995, Windborne Productions, Inc. have gone on to create several memorable tribute shows. The Music of the Rolling Stones features Mick Adams on lead vocals. Let’s spend the night together, when Pacific Symphony, backed by a full rock band, presents “The Music of the Rolling Stones.” A celebration of nearly 60 years of Stone’s hits. It’s a gas, gas, gas!

RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY
June 9-10, 2023 • 8 p.m.
Richard Kaufman, conductor

Drama Desk and Tony Award winner Renée Elise Goldsberry made her debut as Nala in Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway and was the last Mimi in Jonathan Larson’s Rent, but it was her role as Angelica Schuyler in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical that recently made her become a household name. Principal Pops Conductor Laureate Richard Kaufman leads Goldsberry and the Symphony for an evening of renditions of some of her favorite songs and maybe even a few selections from Hamilton! Hear her golden voice fill the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in a collection of showstoppers as only she can sing them.

Pacific Symphony Announces 2022-23 Family Musical Mornings Series Presented By Farmers & Merchants Bank

Pacific Symphony today announced the 2022-23 Family Musical Mornings series presented by Farmers & Merchants Bank. The series includes 45-minute, kid-friendly concerts that engage and entertain young audiences, setting them on the path to a lifelong love of music. The Family Musical Mornings series comprises ten Saturday morning concerts, consisting of five programs with two performances each day at 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Tailored for children and their families, each program explores a different theme and is designed to be interactive, engaging and participatory. Pacific Symphony, led by Dr. Jacob Sustaita, Assistant Conductor (and Music Director for the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra), is joined by singers, actors and dancers to take audiences on a musical journey through the secrets and inner workings of the orchestra with a captivating, multimedia format.

The Symphony gratefully acknowledges Farmers & Merchants Bank for its strong support as the presenting sponsor of the Family Musical Mornings series. Pacific Symphony’s President and CEO John Forsyte commented, “We are proud to be in partnership with Farmers & Merchants Bank, and we are deeply grateful for their past support and continuing commitment. Pacific Symphony can continue music education and family programming only because of wonderful investors like Farmers & Merchants.”

Tickets go on sale beginning May 2 and are priced starting at just $60 for five magical musical experiences. Subscriptions can be purchased by calling the Symphony Box Office at (714) 755-5799, going online at PacificSymphony.org or by mailing Pacific Symphony at 17620 Fitch, Suite 100, Irvine, CA 92614.

2022-23 FAMILY MUSICAL MORNINGS SERIES

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE
Oct. 22 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Learn about the magical, mystical powers of the orchestra through the eyes of a wizard’s young apprentice. You’ll hear selections from A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and even Harry Potter. Don’t forget to wear your Halloween costume!

NUTCRACKER FOR KIDS!
Dec. 3 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Festival Ballet Theatre – Salwa Rizkalla, Artistic Director

Visions of sugarplums and beautiful ballerinas will dance in your head after seeing Tchaikovsky’s delightful Christmas ballet, performed in a condensed version created just for kids. This annual favorite finishes with a jolly visit from Santa Claus himself!

GREAT MUSIC IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Feb. 22, 2023 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Experience the sweeping sounds of the great outdoors brought to life in the concert hall when Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra joins forces with Pacific Symphony for this side-by-side performance. You’ll hear the sound of swirling waters and majestic scenes from nature as painted by the musical pen of famous composers.

WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS, A DECADE IN CONCERT
Mar. 18, 2023 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Celebrating iconic musical moments from favorite films released over the last decade, this melodic journey explores Disney Animation’s latest stories through unforgettable film clips and scores performed live by a symphony orchestra. This thrilling performance includes music from Moana (2016), Academy Award-winning Frozen (2013), Academy Award-winning Big Hero 6 (2014) and Tangled (2010). Come dressed as your favorite Disney character!

HANSEL & GRETEL—OPERA FOR KIDS!
Jun. 3, 2023 • 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

This fairytale adventure tells the story of two hungry children lost in an enchanted forest, an inviting gingerbread house and a wicked witch. This kid-friendly production features spoken narration and acting, as well as the most charming and catchy tunes from the original opera, sung by talented opera singers.

All programs and artists subject to change.

Pacific Symphony Announces SummerFest 2022

Presented By City of Hope Orange County

Exciting New Location: FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine

Lineup includes The Music of Queen; Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert;
and the annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular with fireworks

Pacific Symphony has once again put together an entertaining SummerFest program for 2022. For this summer’s programming, all three concerts will be held in the beautiful setting of FivePoint Amphitheatre (located in the heart of Orange County) in Irvine. This attractive venue offers ticket buyers an opportunity to sit at tables directly in front of the stage, along with grandstand seating for a panoramic view. Prior to concerts, gourmet food trucks with a diverse array of offerings are available for picnicking. Sip some champagne, kick back, relax and enjoy the perfect soundtrack for summer evenings under the stars.

This season features the high-energy pop rock of Windborne’s The Music of Queen (July 4); John Williams’ thrilling soundtrack of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in Concert performed live to film (Aug. 20); and everyone’s favorite summer finale: Tchaikovsky Spectacular (Sept. 4), featuring a medalist from the Sixteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, who will make an important debut with Pacific Symphony. The combination of music under the stars, friendship, food and a relaxing atmosphere has attracted thousands of fans each summer to hear Pacific Symphony’s brilliant musicians, led by outstanding conductors like Music Director Carl St.Clair.

City of Hope Orange County is the lead sponsor of the series, and a new partner of Pacific Symphony. President and CEO John Forsyte commented, “City of Hope is building a comprehensive campus of the future in Irvine intentionally built around the needs of patients and their families. Pacific Symphony applauds City of Hope’s commitment to Orange County and we are proud to partner on the concert offerings this summer.” Annette Walker, president of City of Hope Orange County, added, “A healthy community needs advanced medicine to heal the body and the arts to replenish the soul. City of Hope Orange County is delighted to sponsor SummerFest and looks forward to seeing Orange County residents coming together once again to enjoy beautiful music.”

Tickets for SummerFest 2022 are now on sale. Subscriptions for the three-concert series range from $99-$299, with boxes and front-row packages available. Single ticket sales begin Tuesday, May 31 starting at just $39. All concerts take place at 8 p.m. Concessions are diverse and bountiful including food trucks selling Mediterranean, Korean and Mexican food. A wide variety of wine, beer and cocktails are available for purchase. Gates open at 6 p.m. for picnicking. For more information or to purchase tickets call Pacific Symphony Patron Services at (714) 755-5799, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or visit us online at PacificSymphony.org.

The SummerFest 2022 Season is generously presented by City of Hope Orange County. Additional sponsors include PBS SoCal, K-Earth 101, KPCC 89.3 FM and Classical California KUSC 91.5. Avenue of the Arts Hotel in Costa Mesa is the official hotel of Pacific Symphony.

Programs, artists, prices and dates are subject to change.

SUMMERFEST 2022 SERIES

JULY 4 SPECTACULAR: THE MUSIC OF QUEEN
Monday • July 4 • 8 p.m.

Albert-George Schram, conductor

Salute the Fourth with the ultimate celebration of one of the greatest bands ever. You’ll enjoy a night filled with the classic hits of Queen performed as you’ve never heard them before. The sonic power of Pacific Symphony joins forces with a full rock band to perform Queen classic songs in a brilliant combination of passion and power. Joined by high-energy band and vocalists Windborne, the orchestra performs hits such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are the Champions,” “Killer Queen,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “Another One Bites the Dust” and many more. A memorable evening complete with a sizzling Fourth of July fireworks show!

STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK IN CONCERT
Saturday • Aug. 20 • 8 p.m.

Richard Kaufman, conductor
WILLIAMS: The Empire Strikes Back (live music to film)

“You must feel the Force around you…”
The battle for the galaxy intensifies in this thrilling fifth episode of the unfolding saga. As Imperial Forces launch an all-out attack on the Rebel Alliance, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) flee to Cloud City where they are captured by Darth Vader. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) journeys to the mysterious, marshy planet of Dagobah, where the wise Jedi Master Yoda teaches the young hero the ways of the Force. Little does Luke know that all his Jedi training will be called upon so soon. A stunning revelation—and a seeming life-or-death duel with Darth Vader—await.

© 1980 & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.
Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts in association with 20th Century Fox
Film Corp, Lucasfilm and Warner/Chappell Music. © All rights reserved.

TCHAIKOVSKY SPECTACULAR
Sunday • Sept. 4 • 8 p.m.

Carl St.Clair, conductor
Medal Winner of 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
(To be announced in June)

DVOŘÁK: Symphony No. 9, “From the New World”
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1
TCHAIKOVSKY: “1812” Overture

No SummerFest is complete without Pacific Symphony performing Tchaikovsky’s thrilling “1812” overture, complete with brilliant fireworks. You’ll enjoy this famous romantic composer’s memorable First Piano Concerto, performed by a prizewinner of the 2022 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Thank you to Peter Boyer for the video!

On this day in history, 20 years ago, Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” (“Ellis Island”) had its premiere with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Boyer conducted. It’s a 45-minute work for actors, orchestra and project images. Composed between 2001-02, the world as we knew it then was also changing but there’s something about these stories that transcends generations. They still have an impact.

The text from “Ellis Island” comes from The Ellis Island Oral History Project. You can visit the website here. By the time the doors were closed in 1954, more than 12 million immigrants had come through. Boyer ultimately chose to feature the stories of seven different immigrants who came from seven different countries between 1910-1940 for the piece.

Pacific Symphony is honored to be a part of the journey that started 20 years ago. In June 2018, we made our national PBS debut on Great Performances performing that piece. Guest stars included Barry Bostwick, Camryn Manheim, Michael Nouri, Lesley Fera, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Samantha Sloyan and Kira Sternbach. The orchestra was under the baton of Maestro Carl St.Clair. The concert was originally recorded at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in 2017. The special premiered on PBS on June 29, 2018.

You can learn more about it here and watch a brief clip of the prologue in the video below.

Since 2002, the work has received over 200 live performances by more than 100 different orchestras. It was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.

You can listen to the full piece here. Congratulations and happy anniversary to everyone involved!

REVIEW: Pacific Symphony Mounts a Surefire Production of Verdi’s ‘Otello’

This photo features tenor Carl Tanner as Otello (left) and soprano Kelebogile Besong in her role debut as Desdemona (right). Photo by Doug Gifford. April 2022.

This review was originally written by Timothy Mangan, a contributing writer for Arts & Culture at Voice of OC.

It was time once again for the Pacific Symphony’s annual opera performance, Thursday night in Segerstrom Concert Hall. This was the 10th anniversary of the orchestra’s opera initiative, undertaken (in part) to fill a need for grand opera in Orange County after the closing of Opera Pacific. Thursday’s effort (scheduled for repeat Saturday and Tuesday) was ambitiously devoted to Verdi’s penultimate opera, “Otello.”

As with past productions, this one was semi-staged. The orchestra is placed onstage and the action and singing unwind mostly in front of it, with minimal sets, but in costume. Conductor Carl St.Clair, in keeping with the plan, always chooses operas that have an integral role for the orchestra, not just accompaniment.   

The company of Verdi’s “Otello.” Baritone Stephen Powell as iago (top left), tenor Eric Barry as Lodovico (top right) and tenor Norman Shankle as Cassio (stage). Photo by Doug Gifford. April 2022.

In his director’s note, Robert Neu (who worked with the orchestra previously in “The Magic Flute” and “La Traviata”) indicated he took a less-is-more approach with “Otello.” “There are times that a director needs to get out of the way and completely trust the material,” he wrote. Wise man.

Based closely on Shakespeare’s “Othello,” Verdi’s opera seemed to take on new relevance here, though not necessarily because of the production. “Othello” is a story about the destructive power of jealousy (you will remember), but here there was another layer of meaning in it. The ensign Iago instills jealousy in Otello for his faithful wife Desdemona with the use of fake news, even going so far as to stage fraudulent scenes in front of Otello. Iago’s fake news eventually leads to where fake news often does: violence and murder.

Not that Neu or anyone brought this out, or should have. It was just there for the viewer’s taking, as such things often are in old masterpieces.

As promised, Neu kept his apparent contributions to a minimum, moving the singers efficiently around the stage among simple wooden block forms. The costumes by Katie Wilson quietly put us in the mood of the Renaissance era.

This helped put the emphasis squarely on the music itself. It’s luxury casting to have a full symphony orchestra play this music and St.Clair and the Pacific musicians sounded ready for it. The opening storm scene revealed the group in fine form, rich and luxuriant in the strings, warm and clear in the woodwinds, the brass in easy balance. The orchestra performed without the usual risers and it sounds better on this stage, both more blended and lucid.

Positioned in the loft above the orchestra, the recently Grammy-winning Pacific Chorale gave a fit and trim account of the extensive parts for chorus. St.Clair led a steady and considered reading of the score, keeping the large forces easily together (the opening storm scene made its usual impression) and not forcing expressive issues. An occasional lack of Italianate style mattered little.

Tenor Carl Tanner, veteran of Opera Pacific and of this role at the Metropolitan Opera under Gustavo Dudamel, gave a commanding portrayal of the title character. Its strenuous vocal demands, high, low, loud, soft and lots of it, were met with relentless verve and power. His tone remained firm and focussed, despite fortissimo demands. It was a confident performance, through and through.

This photo features Southern California Children’s Chorus (left) with soprano Kelebogile Besong as Desdemona (back center) and mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore as Emilia (right). Photo by Doug Gifford. April 2022.

Baritone Stephen Powell clearly enjoyed singing Iago, not with a villainous twirling of mustaches or overplaying, but by savoring the words and phrases as if they were evil chocolate morsels. And he stood toe to toe with Tanner in their duets.

Making her debut in the role, soprano Kelebogile Besong provided a fragile and vulnerable account of the doomed Desdemona. Her tones shimmered, her phrases filigreed. An occasional unevenness in color and a tendency not to start notes squarely on pitch should disappear when she settles into the part.

Ironically, Otello was played by a white singer (Tanner) and Desdemona, a white woman in the Shakespeare play, was played by a Black singer (Besong). This is not that unusual in opera these days.

Margaret Lattimore (Emilia), Norman Shankle (Cassio), and Eric Barry (Roderigo) were proficient in their smaller, crucial roles. The Southern California Children’s Chorus made a crisp contribution.

Finally, a couple of purely personal observations. The average operagoing Italian of the 19th century must have loved protracted death scenes, such as in “Otello.” They no longer play so well, especially on a weeknight after a long day at work. Some judicious cutting (sacrilege!) would help many of them.

The Pacific Symphony is to be commended for presenting an opera a year in semi-staged productions this last decade. But now that it is clear that Opera Pacific will never come back, or that any other company comparable in size will be established, it is time for the orchestra to consider performing fully-staged opera, in the original Segerstrom Hall, once a year. Difficult? Yes. Unfeasible? No. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

64th Annual Grammy Awards: And The Grammy Goes To…

This photo features Artistic Directors Grant Gershon, Robert Istad, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz and Luke McEndarfer during the presentation of Best Choral Performance. Photo Credit: Pacific Chorale.

Music’s biggest night was last night, Sunday, April 3. Hosted by The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, the 64th Annual Grammy Awards celebrated entries that were submitted between Sept. 1, 2020 – Sept. 30, 2021. We’re thrilled for the following Grammy award-winning artists who have performed with Pacific Symphony in the past and for those who are joining us next season. Congratulations, everyone! Enjoy every moment.

* indicates past/upcoming Pacific Symphony guest artist

BEST OPERA RECORDING

  • Glass*: Akhnaten
    Karen Kamensek*, conductor; J’Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Zachary James & Dísella Lárusdóttir; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)

BEST CHORAL PERFORMANCE

  • Mahler: Symphony No. 8, ‘Symphony Of A Thousand’ 
    Gustavo Dudamel, conductor; Grant Gershon, Robert Istad*, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz & Luke McEndarfer, chorus masters (Leah Crocetto, Mihoko Fujimura, Ryan McKinny, Erin Morley, Tamara Mumford, Simon O’Neill, Morris Robinson & Tamara Wilson; Los Angeles Philharmonic; Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, Los Angeles Master Chorale, National Children’s Chorus & Pacific Chorale*)

Fun Fact: The singers of Pacific Chorale were in rehearsal with us yesterday when news of their Grammy win came in. You can see their reaction on their Facebook page here.

BEST CHAMBER MUSIC/SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE

  • Beethoven: Cello Sonatas – Hope Amid Tears
    Yo-Yo Ma* & Emanuel Ax*

BEST CLASSICAL SOLO VOCAL ALBUM

  • Mythologies
    Sangeeta Kaur & Hila Plitmann*; Danaë Xanthe Vlasse, pianist (Virginie D’Avezac De Castera, Lili Haydn, Wouter Kellerman, Nadeem Majdalany, Eru Matsumoto & Emilio D. Miler)

BEST CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL COMPOSITION

  • Shaw: Narrow Sea 
    Caroline Shaw*, composer (Dawn Upshaw, Gilbert Kalish & Sō Percussion)

To see the full list of winners, please click here. Have a great week, everyone!