Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals” Roars to Life for Concert Featuring Giant, Irresistible Puppets!
Pacific Symphony, led by Assistant Conductor Roger Kalia, brings a zoo magically to life through enchanting music, adorable Bob Brown Puppets and a compelling narrator to tell the story of Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals.” Performed with oversized puppets, on a full-scale theatrical set, the heart and focus of “Carnival of the Animals” are the musical segments that make up Saint-Saëns’ playful masterpiece. Featuring each animal in its own descriptive song—from the royal march of the stately lions, to hopping kangaroos, lumbering elephants, a graceful swimming swan and so many more—the puppets act as real-life characters in humorous and imaginative ways, adding new dimension to the music and delighting younger audiences and their families in an entertaining fashion!
This 45-minute Family Musical Mornings concert, presented by Farmers & Merchants Bank, is designed for children, especially ages 5-11, and takes place on Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Children and families are invited to also participate in fun and educational interactive musical activities during 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. The “Spotlight Instrument” for this concert is the piano. Tickets are $25-$50. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or CLICK HERE.
“This work is perfect for introducing our young audiences to the instruments of the orchestra,” explains Maestro Kalia. “Each of the suite’s 14 movements introduces us to a different animal or group of animals, with a small number of instruments mimicking their voices or the ways they move. Starting with the lion’s roar and slowing to reflect the elephant’s bulk, Saint-Saëns pokes fun at the music of his time."
The puppets, props and scenery, all enhanced by special lighting effects, provide a spectacular visual interpretation of Saint Saëns’ most enduring and endearing work, told through the narrator, played by Symphony favorite, actor David Stoneman. Stoneman was last seen as the father in the Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings’ opera, “Hansel and Gretel” in January. Young guest pianists Tristan Paradee and Megan Chang join in the fun, and all the other characters in the story created for “Carnival of the Animals” are giant puppets!
“Bob Brown Puppets is a group dedicated to working with younger audiences in an engaging manner,” says Kalia. “The puppets act as in funny and creative ways, which adds a new dimension to the music. In this particular work, the puppets will consist of a variety of different animals: a lion, a tortoise, an elephant and kangaroos, among others.”
This grand, zoological fantasy with a narrator begins when a young boy, giving up on his piano practice, clutches his stuffed lion. He has left his radio on and we hear “Carnival of the Animals” in concert. Suddenly, the toys in his room magically come to life as the various themes are played. Beginning with a regal, king-sized, somewhat pompous, royally-robed lion, we also meet a seven-foot kangaroo magician who can find everything imaginable in her pouch (except her baby), a dancing dinosaur skeleton, a school of florescent fish, a graceful ice skating swan, a cuckoo playing peek-a-boo with a big tom cat, and many other enchanting creatures.
“I am thrilled to be conducting Pacific Symphony in one of the most popular pieces in the classical repertoire,” says Kalia. “The music is imaginative, humorous, lyrical and exciting. In other words, there is something for everyone, and it is a great way for our young audience members to learn more about the different instruments of the orchestra. By working with Bob Brown Puppets, we are creating an interactive and engaging concert that will be extremely memorable and a good time for everyone.”