The Hollywood Bowl Kicks Off Its Season In Splendid Fashion

Events, News — By on July 9, 2010 at 11:59 am

Donna Summer, The Carpenters and Femi Kuti and the Positive Force Kick Off a Great Season

The Hollywood Bowl has started off its season in fine fashion, beginning with its Opening Night on June 18, 2010. The extravaganza, a benefit for Music Matters, inducted three members to the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, Classical pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, The Carpenters (with Richard Carpenter) and legendary songstress Donna Summer. On this mild summer evening splendid performances were on display. Conducter Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra started the night with Brahms Academic Festival Overture. Jean-Yves Thibaudet, who has toured with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic among others, took the stage and his talent came to the forefront, its brilliance as sparkling as the cool breeze that permeated the Hollywood Bowl that evening. His piano playing was precise and electric.

A&M Records President Herb Albert addressed the audience and Richard Carpenter, the surviving member of The Carpenters, next graced The Bowl stage and he took the audience down memory lane. Clips of siren-voiced Karen Carpenter were displayed and The Bowl Orchestra, along with Richard Carpenter, played along with the clips, a modern marvel of technology. Many in the audience, who loved Karen Carpenter’s voice, were visibly moved by the performance. Richard Carpenter presented the audience with a history of The Carpenters, telling delightful stories. One of the stories detailed how Karen Carpenter, known to be one of the best vocalists of her time, never considered herself as a singer, but a drummer. It was a poignant and wonderful segment of the show.

Donna Summer

But the night belonged to Donna Summer. Summer looked as beautuful as ever as she sang many of her legendary hits, including “On The Radio,” and “Last Dance.” The most special moment of the night presented itself when Richard Carpenter reentered the stage and played with Donna Summer. Summer sang The Carpenters hit “Superstar” with Richard and while no one could possibly recapture the magic that Karen Carpenter bought to the song, Summer more than held her own and created a slice of Hollywood Bowl history that will not be forgotten. She was funny, engaging and nothing short of excellent.

July 6, 2010 was a night at The Bowl entitled “A Glorious Celebration.” It featured the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Grant Gershon as conductor, Jessica Rivera, soprano, Christine Brandes, soprano, Kelley O’Connor, alto and the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The night featured works by Haydn, Vivaldi, Poulenc and Handel. The night ended in a fireworks display.

July 7, 2010 was the first night of the Wednesday Series at The Bowl. It featured performances by Richard Bono, who excelled on the bass guitar, Terence Blanchard with the Lula Washington Dance Theater and Femi Kuti & The Positive Force. Blanchard’s set was very meloncholy, his trumpet accenting poetry by Dr. Cornel West. The Lula Washington Dance Theater interpreted the music well at times, although they were at their best during the last song of the set, an up tempo song that spotlighted tight and crisp dance moves and choreography. The night belonged, however, to Femi Kuti and The Positive Force, a group that should have rocked The Hollywood Bowl. However, The Bowl audience can be a cool crowd at times and they didn’t acknowledge Femi Kuti until the last couple of songs in the set. But that didn’t take away from the music. The music had a distinct African flavor and the horns, that played in unison, had a sound, exclusive from Africa. They were excellent. We just wish the audience would have shown this distinctive group more appreciation.

But that had little to do with the opening of the season for The Hollywood Bowl. The 2010 season started off in fine fashion, continuing in the excellent tradition and history of The Hollywood Bowl.

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