Celebrate the Holidays with OC's Pacific Symphony
Orange County, CA-Make the most of the holidays throughout the month of December, when Pacific Symphony offers a diverse assortment of concerts-beginning with Beethoven's brilliant Fifth Symphony-just right for those seeking a message of joy and triumph of the human spirit. If younger children are the priority, consider "Nutcracker for Kids," featuring Tchaikovsky's delightful Christmas ballet-performed in a condensed version created just for children. Or, for those who find it hard to imagine a holiday season without Handel's "Messiah," the Pacific Chorale joins the orchestra to present the most famous oratorio in the world. If it's just good old-fashioned holiday cheer that fills the bill, who better to capture the heartwarming essence of the holidays than America's showbiz family-the Osmond brothers-in "An Osmond Family Christmas." Or...for a delightful mix of sacred and secular holiday music, there's the brand-new "Holiday Organ Spectacular." All of the concerts take place in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.
Da-da-da-dum! The month begins with Beethoven's Fifth on Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 10-12, at 8 p.m. Led by guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, the concert features glorious music by the immortal Beethoven launched by the most famous four notes in music. Virtuoso oboe playing is also spotlighted in the superb orchestral suite, "Le Tombeau de Couperin," which pays homage to Ravel's comrades who died in World War I. Then, Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin (whom the Dallas Morning News called "Classical guitar's reigning diva") adds lightness and flamboyance to the program with the irresistible dance rhythms of Rodrigo's "Fantasy for a Gentleman." Tickets are $25-$105.
Visions of sugar plums! Perennial sell-out family favorite, "Nutcracker for Kids," takes place Saturday, Dec. 12, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., when Assistant Conductor Maxim Eshkenazy leads the orchestra and dancers from Orange County's Festival Ballet Theatre in Tchaikovsky's delightful Christmas ballet. Performed in a condensed version created specially for kids ages 5-11, this performance stays true to the original tale of Clara, a girl who receives an extraordinary gift-a nutcracker that magically turns into a prince. When the prince whisks Clara away to The Land of Sweets, she encounters a variety of delightful characters that include the Sugar Plum Fairy. This seasonal delight finishes with a grand holiday audience sing-along of favorite holiday carols. Tickets are $24-$41.
"Through the Years…" Members of the Osmond family join Pacific Symphony and conductor Bob Bernhardt for "An Osmond Family Christmas" on Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 17-19, at 8 p.m. Join Osmond brothers Merrill, Wayne, Jay and Jimmy, as they deliver a warm and cheerful collection of Christmas carols and other favorites they've become known for over the last few decades-such as "Drummer Boy," "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," "Winter Wonderland," "He Ain't Heavy," "Jingle Bell Rock," "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "Through the Years," "Happy Holidays." Plus, the evening includes footage from the Osmond's family videos. The first half of the concert features Soprano Christina Bouras singing more joyful holiday tunes! Tickets are $25-$150.
Blazing trumpets, thundering timpani! It's hard to imagine a holiday season without the electrifying and uplifting "Hallelujah" chorus of Handel's "Messiah," the most famous oratorio in the world. Taking place on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m., this one-performance-only event is conducted by William Lacey, and features the Pacific Chorale, led by artistic director John Alexander, plus world-class soloists: soprano Christine Brandes, mezzo-soprano Julie Boulianne; tenor Benjamin Butterfield, baritone Timothy Mix. Through some of the most beautiful music ever written, "Messiah" conveys a message of hope to all who hear it, managing to stay fresh and meaningful each and every year. Tickets are $25-$105.
Starring the king of instruments! For organ aficionados or those looking for something big, bold and new, "Holiday Organ Spectacular" takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m. In addition to the stunning sounds of the $3.1 million William J. Gillespie Concert Organ, the concert features the exquisite voice of Broadway star Lisa Vroman, members of the Symphony's brass section and Peter Richard Conte-grand court organist of the world-famous Wanamaker Organ at Macy's Philadelphia. The program captures the spirit of the season with a delightful mix of sacred and holiday music that includes such songs as "O Holy Night," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "Deck the Halls" and "Good King Wenceslas"-plus, a joyous sing-a-long. Tickets are $25-$89.
About the Pacific Symphony
Pacific Symphony, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2008-09, is the largest orchestra formed in the United States in the last 40 years. Recognized as an outstanding ensemble making strides on both the national and international scene as well as in its own burgeoning cultural community of Orange County, Calif., the orchestra launches a significant and celebratory season in 2009-2010. The season-a milestone year for Music Director Carl St.Clair, who marks his 20th anniversary with the orchestra-includes inventive, forward-thinking projects including the launch of a new series of multi-media concerts called "Music Unwound," featuring new visual elements, varied formats and more to highlight great masterworks.
In addition to classical music, Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman leads a spectacular Pops season in 2009-10-one of the most elaborate ever, starring some of the world's leading entertainers and enhanced by a state-of-the-art high-definition video and sound system. Each season also includes a three-concert chamber music series and "Classical Connections," which offers an intimate exploration of selected works hosted by St.Clair. And rising star Assistant Conductor Maxim Eshkenazy brings a new energy to the highly popular Family series-featuring holiday favorites and a number of new concert programs designed for families-as well as the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra.
It was at the start of the 2006-07 season that the orchestra first moved into the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, an acoustical gem designed by architect Cesar Pelli with acoustics by the late Russell Johnson. In September 2008, the Symphony debuted the hall's stunning new 4,322-pipe William J. Gillespie Concert Organ.
The Symphony has played a central role in the phenomenal growth of the performing arts in Orange County. Presenting more than 100 concerts a year and a rich array of education and community programs, the Symphony touches more than 275,000 Orange County residents-from school children to senior citizens. In addition to its winter home, the Symphony presents a summer outdoor series at Irvine's Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, the organization's summer residence since 1987.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.pacificsymphony.org.