BWW Review: BUGS BUNNY AT THE SYMPHONY II

BWW Review: BUGS BUNNY AT THE SYMPHONY II

Bugs Bunny at the Symphony closes its 25th Anniversary, 2015 tour at San Francisco's Davies Hall this weekend. Outside, Civic Center has its holiday decorations up and a community brass group occasionally plays down the street, while inside the San Francisco Symphony continues its tradition of beautiful Christmas trees decked out by various organizations and non-profits. It's the perfect time of year to celebrate the childlike spirit, and Friday evening saw audience members of all ages arrive early to take photos with the Bunny, himself, and try on Valkyrie hats from the merchandise booth.

The concert began with a charged "Ride of the Valkyries" from Wagner's Dik Walkure, highlighting the orchestra in full splendor before lights came down for various cartoon clips. The tune made a return, of course, for finale favorite, "What's, Opera Doc?" Bugs gets his own artist bio in the program, which notes that the show also stars Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and more, so featured animations included everything from "The Rabbit of Seville" to Pepe Le Pew's "For Scent-imental Reasons." Even Tom and Jerry ("in the Hollywood Bowl") and two more contemporary Wile E. Coyote shorts made guest appearances.

Conductor <a href=George Daugherty" bheight="233" src="https://newimages.bwwstatic.com/upload11/1192877/files/George_Daugherty.jpg" align="right" width="334" />

A break from accompaniment every so often made room for extra fun moments with "Robin Hood Daffy" and "Johann Mouse." "Bugs Bunny at the Symphony" creator and conductor George Daugherty opted to keep the original soundtrack for certain piano bits, a choice that made more sense after he explained the history behind the lost pianist of Warner Brother's Looney Tunes. Still, no doubt many might have more enjoyed seeing a live soloist become as invested in his music as Bugs, who plays the piano so passionately in "Rhapsody Rabbit." An enjoyable fact provided by Daugherty: The original pianist insisted recording Franz Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2" in a different key to match the animation, which simplified things by having Bugs play only the white keys. Daugherty delighted audiences throughout the evening, even mimicking Bugs Bunny's dramatic movements in some of his conducting, interacting with a "Valkyrie" in the front row, and shushing a loud audience member from one of the cartoons. Such was the prevailing atmosphere of the two-hour performance, where smiles stayed on full duty until Bugs actually came on stage to give a final bow.

"Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II" has two more concerts this weekend. Find a detailed schedule for Decmeber concerts and ticket information at http://www.sfsymphony.org/.

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