“Pavarotti Documentary Misses All The Right Notes” via NPR

pavarotti-fix-sacha-gusov-31f7f7d834df54fe1ec8efc1d882a9ac02106acb-s1600-c85NPR contributor Tom Huizenga recently wrote a great review on their blog on Ron Howard’s recent “Pavarotti” documentary, titled after one of the largest voices, and personalities, in the opera world.

Although Luciano Pavarotti passed almost 12 years ago, the Italian opera tenor left a lasting impact on the operatic world, crossing over into popular music, and eventually becoming one of the most commercially successful tenors of all time.

Huizenga writes on the shortcomings of the documentary, but also how it succeeds.

The real Pavarotti was a man of many paradoxes, an artist blessed with an enormous gift which in turn saddled him with immense responsibilities he often found impossible to fulfill. Upholding the standards of a 400-year-old operatic tradition is stressful enough, but doing it when you have become one of the most recognizable people on the planet adds another dimension of stress. Not to mention the tsunami of money that came rolling in, especially after the of popularity of “The Three Tenors.”

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What the film emphasizes, with success, is the childlike side of Pavarotti’s winning personality. With a beaming smile, good cheer and witty rejoinders, the tenor won friends easily and could seemingly charm the pants off almost anyone. And apparently he succeeded, with any number of “secretaries” and girlfriends, all while married to his long-suffering wife Adua. But that’s another story largely left untold. Pavarotti finally got his wish when his divorce from Adua was finalized in 2002. She gets one of the best lines in the movie: “He got used to having everything. If he asked for chicken’s milk, they would have probably milked a chicken.”

You can read Huizenga’s entire review here.

Did you see this documentary? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Orange County Arts Awards to Honor Carl St.Clair


Arts Orange County, the leader in building appreciation of, participation in and support for the arts and arts education throughout Orange County, has announced Carl St.Clair as an honoree at the Orange County Arts Awards, taking place on October 16. Maestro St.Clair will receive a Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award in special recognition for his 30th anniversary as music director of Pacific Symphony. He was previously honored by Arts OC as an artistic visionary in 2009.

Read more.

“Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles” Launches SummerFest


Pacific Symphony has once again put together an entertaining July 4th program for 2019 at Pacific Amphitheatre (located in the heart of Orange County). Pop open a bottle of wine, kick back, relax and enjoy the perfect celebration for summer evenings under the stars. The SummerFest kicks off at the OC Fair & Event Center with the classic sounds of highly-acclaimed, Eagles tribute band “Hotel California” headlining the extravaganza with mega-hits like “Love Will Keep Us Alive” and “Take It Easy”—plus enjoy patriotic favorites, a traditional salute to the U.S. armed forces and a dazzling fireworks finale!

Read more, and buy tickets!

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Roger Kalia Snags Music Director Position

rkCongratulations to Roger Kalia who was named the new Music Director of Symphony New Hampshire, beginning with the 2019-20 season. He will continue in his position as Pacific Symphony’s Associate Conductor for one more season. Carl St.Clair has had a tremendous track record selecting young conductors who meet with success. “Roger has made important musical contributions to Pacific Symphony,” says St.Clair. “In just a little over three short years, he has gained the respect of the musicians and also the staff with whom he works very closely.”

Hailed as a conductor who leads with “passionate intensity” and recognized as “one to watch,” Roger Kalia is one of America’s most exciting young conductors. A three-time recipient (2018, 2017 and 2013) of The Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Kalia was also recently named Music Director of Orchestra Santa Monica. Kalia also serves as Co-Founder and Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival in upstate New York, which was recently featured in the League of American Orchestra’s Symphony Magazine as one of the premier summer classical music festivals in the country.

Read more!


Musician Transitions

Edelman-Steve-new.jpgSteven Edelman, Pacific Symphony’s Principal Bass, is retiring at the conclusion of this season after an illustrious three-decade career with the orchestra. It is fitting that he ends his tenure performing the famous “Frère Jacques” funeral march solo for double bass in the third movement of Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (June 6, 7 and 8). Read more about Steve Edelman here.


De Almeida, WaldemarWaldemar de Almeida, “Wally,” a 35-year member of the cello section, has retired. Originally from Brazil, “Wally” was a member of the venerable Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva in 1964-65 and played under the baton of legendary conductor Ernest Ansermet there. After a distinguished career, we wish him a wonderful new chapter in his life. Read more about Waldemar de Almeida here.

Mahler’s “Titan” Preview (Voice of OC)


Voice of OC editor and contributing writer Paul Hodgins wrote a preview of our upcoming 18-19 Classical season finale, “Mahler’s Titan,” a concert which begins with Mozart’s beautiful Sinfonia Concertante. (Find the full article here.)

Pacific Symphony is capping its 2018-19 season with a suitably ambitious work: Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, often called the “Titan,” will be performed Thursday through Sunday at the Segerstrom Concert Hall. It’s the kind of big, emotional barnburner that music director Carl St.Clair really likes to sink his teeth into.

Hodgins sets the stage for Mahler’s reputation in the classical word: a composer-conductor whose greatness and brilliance, like many great artists, wasn’t truly solidified until after their death.

But it took another prominent conductor-composer, Leonard Bernstein, to recognize and champion Mahler’s achievements. When he led the New York Philharmonic (Mahler’s last job) in the 1960s, Bernstein began a concerted effort to program and record his music, imbuing it with a passion, verve and solemnity that perhaps had been missing from most previous interpretations. Other conductors were part of the Mahler resurrection movement, too, notably Pierre Boulez.

Chapman isn’t surprised that Bernstein and Boulez were Mahler champions. “They’re both conductor-composers. That’s a very rare breed, especially at their level. You can understand the affinity they would have for him.”

Make sure to check out the whole piece for some great background on one of classical music’s most interesting and curious composers, exclusively on Voice of OC. Check out this concert on our website here, taking place June 6-8, with a special matinee performance of the Mahler on Sunday, June 9, and spread the word on Facebook by sharing!