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Pacific Symphony's Family Musical Mornings presentation of Prokofiev's beloved "Cinderella" comes alive with life-size puppets - for treasured fairy tale with a twist!
March 04, 2013
The beloved children’s classic and highly-revered ballet, “Cinderella,” is given a whole new, whimsical look with life-size puppets helping to tell the famous tale set to Serge Prokofiev’s timeless music for Pacific Symphony’s next Family Musical Mornings concert, presented by Farmers & Merchants Bank. Led by new Assistant Conductor Alejandro Gutiérrez, this 45-minute concert is designed especially for children ages 5-11, allowing families the opportunity to hear and enjoy classical music in a kid-friendly environment. In collaboration with the Bob Brown Puppets, the Symphony performs selections from Prokofiev’s beautifully lush score as the story of Cinderella and her wicked step-family unfolds—and her fairy godmother helps her find her prince and live happily ever after. With a spotlight on the cello, children also have the chance to compare the size and range of each string instrument, and to learn more about the rich, soulful sound of the cello during both the concert and the Musical Carnival (more below).
Taking place Saturday, March 23, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, the concert opens with Johann Strauss Jr.’s “Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka.” This popular polka has been used in many recent films including, “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” and James Bond’s film “Moonraker.” Tickets are $19-31; for more information or to purchase tickets call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.
“I love the contrasts in Prokofiev’s melodies and themes and the vast variety of colors in his music,” says Maestro Gutiérrez. “It is like feeding the imagination with thousands of ideas and mental pictures. Sometimes Prokofiev gives us glances of a melancholic idea, and other times he inspires happiness and the desire to dance or sigh for the beautiful love melodies.”
Prokofiev started his composition “Cinderella” in 1940, but put it on hold during World War II to work on the opera “War and Peace.” Prokofiev resumed working on the enchanting score again in 1944 and finished it the following year. The score was first used by the Bolshoi Ballet in 1945 and then by the Kirov Ballet in 1946. Prokofiev is famous for composing music for several ballets, including the legendary “The Prodigal Son,” choreographed by Sergei Diaghilev, “Romeo and Juliet” and the popular children’s story, “Peter and the Wolf.”
Under the direction of Gutiérrez, the Symphony tells the fairy tale of the young girl who lives at the mercy of her stepmother and two evil stepsisters. After being invited to the grand ball at the royal palace, Cinderella’s stepmother forbids her to attend. With the help of a fairy godmother and the flick of a magic wand, Cinderella is transformed into a mesmerizing beauty. But, before the clock strikes midnight, Cinderella quickly flees from the ball, only to lose a glass slipper on the way. The prince, infatuated with Cinderella’s grace and presence, promises to find and marry her. Upon arriving at Cinderella’s house the next day, the prince offers her the glass slipper. Much to the astonishment of Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters, the shoe is a perfect fit.
Accompanying the Symphony to tell this familiar tale are the Bob Brown Puppets, bringing their own fun twist to the childhood classic. Southern California audiences are in for a real treat with the opportunity to see this critically-acclaimed Virginia-based company in action.
“It is exciting to work with a couple of artists that have dedicated themselves to educating and entertaining children of different ages for more than five decades,” says Gutiérrez. “The shows are intelligently designed and have the support of great music.”
Designer and builder Bob Brown began his professional puppeteer career over 55 years ago. He has performed in several Broadway productions of the Baird’s spectacular puppet extravaganzas and has also performed at the New York City World’s Fair in 1963 and 1964. After creating his own company in late 1964, he was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution to develop and run the Smithsonian Puppet Theater, a venue that played to well over 3,000 visitors a week. Judy Brown, the company’s writer, director and narrator, is an award-winning scriptwriter and stage director. Her work has been seen on concert stages all over the world, including Israel, Japan, Singapore and major symphony halls across the United States. The Browns are the winners of the 2008 Virginia Governor’s Award for their 45-year contribution to the Arts in the state of Virginia. Also traveling to Southern California are four company puppeteers, all with a multitude of performing experience and impeccable resumes.
Along with the concert, families and children are invited to the Musical Carnival, where children can sing, play, dance, try musical instruments, meet Symphony musicians and partake in a variety of other events. The Musical Carnival, which begins at 9 a.m. (for the 10 a.m. concert) and 12:15 p.m. (for the 11:30 a.m. concert). During the Musical Carnival children can craft puppets, explore playing a cello and even learn the proper way to hold a bow.
Family Musical Mornings concludes for the season on May 4 with “Under the Sea,” featuring music from Disney’s beloved “The Little Mermaid” and Debussy’s “La Mer.”
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