Great music is in the air across Pasadena this weekend and next, as the Crown City’s powerhouse trio of orchestras present an eclectic array of melodies in special summer season shows.
First up, the Pasadena POPS will turn the spotlight on its nationally renowned lead conductor Michael Feinstein for “Michael Feinstein Sings Cole Porter” at the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia. The show will feature him delving into Porter’s naughty sense of wordplay with “Night and Day,” “Begin the Beguine,” “Can Can,” “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “Just One of Those Things,” as Larry Blank takes over as conductor and lets Feinstein shine on vocals.
Feinstein has maintained a lifelong love of Porter, and most recently paid tribute to him with the POPS in a special concert during the 2016 summer season. That evening found the orchestra performing songs based on orchestral charts created by famed conductor Nelson Riddle that had never been performed before in Los Angeles, in addition to several arrangements created for classic Warner Bros. studio films.
The ability to pay tribute to his musical heroes from the Great American Songbook through Frank Sinatra and Porter each summer has left Feinstein deeply appreciative of both POPS management and the orchestra’s devoted fans.
“It’s been wonderful because the support of the community and audience is so exciting,” says Feinstein. “The orchestra is incredibly gifted, all brilliant musicians. Many have worked in Hollywood and play all different types of music. They appreciate playing music that’s difficult for them. It’s demanding and one of the reasons we’re successful is that audiences realize this is the only place they’ll be able to hear these versions of these songs. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.”
Meanwhile, MUSE/IQUE will present another in its endlessly inventive series of shows melding its orchestra with intriguing guest artists at the Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens in San Marino. Saturday’s “Train/Glory” show focuses on “music inspired by trains” — a theme partly inspired by the fact that trains were instrumental in turning Pasadena pioneer Henry E. Huntington’s vision for the Huntington into reality.
“Train/Glory” will feature guest soprano Liv Redpath, in addition to the dance troupe BODYTRAFFIC, rising star pianist HyeJin Kim and another acclaimed vocalist, Alyssa Park. The show will feature classic songs about trains as well as selections from the scores of beloved train-based films such as “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Strangers on a Train.”
Finally, CalPhil will present “‘Carmen’ Goes to the Movies” next Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. The show will feature excerpts from George Bizet’s greatest opera, “Carmen,” featuring soloists Audrey Babcock, Cedric Berry, Annalise Staudt and the Cal Phil Chorale under the direction of Maestro Marya Basaraba. In addition, classic film music by Ennio Morricone (“The Mission,” “Cinema Paradiso”), John Williams (“Star Wars”), Bill Conti (“Rocky”), Rodgers & Hammerstein (“The Sound of Music”) and Elton John (“The Lion King”) will be performed.
The Pasadena POPS presents “Michael Feinstein Sings Cole Porter” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the LA County Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. Gates opens at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking. Tickets are $10 to $95. Call (626) 793-7172 or visit pasadenasymphony-pops.org.
MUSE/IQUE performs “Train/Glory” at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino. Tickets are $50 to $130. Call (626) 539-7085 or visit www.muse-ique.com.
CalPhil performs “‘Carmen’ Goes to the Movies” at 2 p.m. Aug.11 at Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Tickets are $37.50 to $140. Call (323)850-2000 or visit calphil.com.