Monday, July 11, 2011
Cal Phil Lights Up the Arboretum
The California Philharmonic orchestra recently lost its 15-year regular home at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia. But that news seemed to have only rallied fans of the small but popular organization, which played one of its final "Festival on the Green" concerts at the Arboretum on Saturday night.
The Franklin Avenue crew attended at the invitation of the Cal Phil, and we made sure to bring along a picnic (a la the Hollywood Bowl). But our bag of Trader Joe's treats paled in comparison to some of the gourmands around us, many of whom arrived extra early to feast before the show. With the mountains behind us, the setting -- a field within the lush 127-acre botanical garden -- made for a perfect setting for a concert. (It's perhaps why the Pasadena Pops made a big play for the site, and managed to land the rights to start staging summer concerts there next year.)
For this show, "Andrew Lloyd Webber Meets Puccini," Maestro Victor Vener mixed excerpts from Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, such as "Phantom of the Opera" and "Evita," with arias from Puccini operas such as "La Boheme" and "Tosca." (Thanks to repeat viewings of HBO's "Classical Baby" series, both the Blogger Kid and Blogger Toddler 2.0 recognized some of the Puccini, believe it or not.)
From the press release: “Works by Lloyd Webber and Puccini have more in common than people may at first think,” explains Vener, whose mission since founding Cal Phil in 1995 has been to introduce audiences to what he calls “timeless great music,” whether it was written in the 21st century or the 16th. Both Lloyd Webber and Puccini make use of lush, lovely melodies, glorious orchestration and have great stories to tell. If someone loved seeing Phantom, it’s a small step back in time to love Boheme, too, as our great orchestra and guest artists James Barbour, Sandra Rubalcava and Christopher Bengochea, as well as the Cal Phil Chorale and Childrens Chorus will demonstrate.”
Vener founded the Cal Phil, which also plays at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and other venues, in 1995. Next year the Cal Phil will move across the street to the Santa Anita race track, keeping things for the Pasadena-based organization in close proximity.
Upcoming Cal Phil events include "Dancing Under the Stars" (July 23, 2011 and July 24, 2011); "Rodgers and Hammerstein In Europe" (August 6, 2011 and August 7, 2011) and "That’s Entertainment" (August 20, 2011 and August 21, 2011). More info here.