It's been a pretty hot summer, and it doesn't look like it will be cooling down anytime soon. However, since neither whining nor becoming actively green are going to change the climate by this weekend, one might as well celebrate the heat in style by attending Pacific Symphony's "Bolero and Hot Latin Nights" program at the recently rechristened Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre.
For the first half of the sensually charged program, Pacific Symphony's music director Carl St. Clair will conduct his orchestra in performances of several Spanish-themed pieces. First is Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34, which is a five movement orchestral piece based on Spanish folk melodies. Next is Ritual Fire Dance from Spanish composer Manuel de Falla's El Amor Brujo. This ballet piece is based on a traditional Spanish story involving a woman who jumps through fire in order to lure the restless spirit of her dead husband to follow her and perish in the flames. Rounding out the first half of the program are excerpts from Georges Bizet's Carmen, featuring the quintessential flirtatious aria "Habanera" (mezzo-soprano Milena Kitić will be singing).
For the second half of the program, St. Clair and the Pacific Symphony will be joined by a host of guest artists, including both musicians and dancers. Among those singing will be salsa king Bobby Rivas and Beau Williams. The dancers will include Tara Ghassemieh, David Kim, Denys Drozdyuk, and Antonina Skobina -- under the artistic direction of Tanya Durbin. Additionally, the musical outfit JT & Friends will be featured throughout the second half, performing an additional cross section of Latin themed musical selections by Bizet, Leonard Bernstein, and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weill.
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The latter selections, as well as some samba, tango, cha cha, and mambo songs have been arranged by conductor / musician Larry Ball. Ball told the Weekly that "JT & Friends is an organization put together to help raise funds for different organizations and provide the entertainment for that purpose." Ball went on to explain that JT [John Tu] and Carl St. Clair were good friends, who had gone to school together in Germany, and they worked together on various philanthropic enterprises.
Wrapping the show up, there will be a performance of Maurice Ravel's Boléro and Daniel Flores's "Tequila," arranged by Ball. While Boléro has earned a reputation as one of the most erotic examples of classical music, the excerpts from Carmen, the sultry dance numbers, and the rest of the Latin-inspired selections are sure to provide attendees with a program to remember as they sweat the night away together.