PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and More Highlight Pacific Symphony's 2012 Summer Festival

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It's time to pack a picnic and enjoy five summer evenings of beautiful music under the stars with Pacific Symphony at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine.

The Symphony's 24th Summer Festival, presented by Hoag Hospital, offers an exciting variety of music, beginning with a celebratory July 4th extravaganza tonight, featuring the iconic music of The Eagles and culminating in a dazzling fireworks display. Enjoy an evening of Broadway magic that combines the cachet of "The Phantom of the Opera" with three extraordinary performers, and a night of Ludwig van Beethoven's greatest hits. Then, get a bang out of summer at the annual, all-new program for "Tchaikovsky Spectacular," with cannons and fireworks! The series concludes with Disney Live in Concert, featuring the Symphony performing the soundtrack to "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"-as it is shown on the big screen.

Subscriptions range from $95-$465. Single tickets are $25-$99. Luxury season packages are also available. Gates open at 6 p.m. for picnicking at all concerts. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

The Symphony's summer season kicks off with a July 4 celebration tonight, led by Kaufman and spotlighting the music of one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s-The Eagles. Having gained astounding recognition over the years, the music of The Eagles has garnered five number-one singles, six Grammys, five American Music Awards and six number-one albums. Windborne's "Music of the Eagles" headlines this tribute to an iconic American rock band that got its start in California, playing mega-hits like "Take it Easy" and "Hotel California." Taking place Wednesday, July 4, at 8 p.m., this holiday concert includes patriotic favorites, a traditional salute to the U.S. armed forces and a fireworks finale.

Softly, deftly, music shall caress you…hear it, feel it secretly possess you-on Saturday, July 21, at 8 p.m., when "The Three Phantoms-Broadway's Biggest Hits!" takes the stage. Led by Maestro Kaufman, this concert stars three extraordinary performers with powerhouse voices, who have played the title role of The Phantom-Craig Schulman, Gary Mauer and Mark Jacoby-as they join the orchestra for a night of soaring melodies from Andrew Lloyd Webber's phenomenon and blockbusters from "Les Miserables," "Ragtime," "Showboat" and much, much more.

Come along with Maestro St.Clair and the Symphony on Sunday, Aug. 12, at 7:30 p.m., for a night of popular Beethoven works-and rediscover why the immortal composer's masterworks have been audience favorites for centuries. The symphony tackles the most famous piano concerto of all time, the regal, heroic "Emperor," featuring virtuoso pianist Gabriela Martinez, described by The New York Times as "compelling, elegant and incisive." Martinez has been recognized with numerous national and international awards, including first prize and audience award at the Anton G. Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Dresden. Next taking center stage are the rich melodies of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony-fresh, vibrant and beautiful-for a memorable evening of great music.

On Saturday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m., the Symphony continues a popular Summer Festival tradition with "Tchaikovsky Spectacular," featuring the thrilling climax of thundering cannons and fireworks of Tchaikovsky's "1812" Overture. This year, Maestro St.Clair leads the way through captivating works by Tchaikovsky, including the composer's exquisite Violin Concerto, performed by violinist Chad Hoopes, whom The Press Democrat describes as a violinist "with an inspiring blend of emotional expression and technical ease." The program also includes Tchaikovsky's Preghiera from Suite No. 4, "Mozartiana" and "Romeo and Juliet" Fantasy Overture; plus it opens with Mozart's Overture to "Don Giovanni"-and ends in a display of live fireworks.

Hoopes' mastery is described as "way beyond his years." The child prodigy has been featured on the CBS "Early Show," NBC affiliate state WKYC (Cleveland), NPR station WCLV in Ohio, ABC affiliate station KSTP Twin Cities Live and on PBS's "From the Top: Live at Carnegie Hall." He also starred as the soloist on the Emmy Award-winning television commercial for the Cleveland Indians Major League Baseball team, which aired on NBC Sports Time Ohio and ESPN.

The Symphony's Summer Festival wraps up its season on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 8 p.m., with Disney Live in Concert, a screening of the movie box-office hit, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." Johnny Depp stars as the unforgettable Jack Sparrow in 2003's blockbuster, while the gifted men and women of the Symphony perform Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer's high-energy, thunderous soundtrack, live! This first film in the "Pirates" saga boasts 28 awards including the Saturn Award for "Best Music," five Oscar nominations and another 68 nominations. In 2004, the soundtrack was nominated as "Best Original Soundtrack of the Year" by World Soundtrack Awards.