There were picnickers on the grass around the Bowl and families, friends and children -- including some with lightsabers -- filling most of the benches.
Lightsabers? Of course you need some at a concert featuring a "Star Wars Suite."
Maybe he will conduct the final concert of the season with a lightsaber. I can picture it with
Friday night's concert was not all "Star Wars," but, except for the opening ceremonies -- with Redlander Wayne Bohrnstedt's 1998 "Festival Fanfare," presentation of the colors and national anthem -- it was all music by
And here I must confess that I'm a bit of an outsider when it comes to this music. Of course I've heard of "Star Wars," "Phantom," "E.T." and so on, and over the years I've heard a lot of the music associated with them, but except for one nearly forgotten "Star Wars" movie -- maybe the second one? -- somehow I've never seen these films or stage productions.
So I know bits of the stories that go with the music, but I don't have the whole picture. I don't have all the associations that someone who's eaten and drunk "Star Wars" for 30 years, who saw "E.T." as a 10-year-old or who's seen several productions of "Phantom" must have.
Judging from the audience's reaction, I'd say most people at the Bowl Friday night did have the whole picture and connected enthusiastically with the music.
But with that confession out of the way, I can also say that the music stands firmly on its own, even without all the threads of association in clear focus.
The concert opened with a piece of music that did not come from film or stage --
As the concert continued, the sound issues faded into the background of the musical fabric.
Two singers joined the
Following the "Olympic Fanfare," deRosa came on stage to sing "Memory" from
She showed off her high range to spectacular effect with a solo sustained high note in the selections she and Sharpe sang from
Sharpe, who has sung at the Bowl a number of times, was "sharp" as always, and by that I mean clear, strong and dramatic, not off pitch.
The "Phantom of the Opera" selections ranged from menacing and dramatic to quietly beautiful.
Between "Memory" and "Phantom," the orchestra played "Adventures on Earth" from "E.T.," which Fetta said he thought might be
There was quite a range of emotion and style in the music and something in it that makes me want to hear it again and perhaps see the film. Maybe Fetta is right.
The extensive "Star Wars Suite" by
After that, the orchestra came back to earth for "Seeing is Believing" and "Love Changes Everything" from
DeRosa and Sharpe didn't perform an encore after the enthusiastic applause, but Fetta promised that the Bowl audience will hear more of them -- with four more singers -- at the
The evening ended on an energetic note with "The Raiders March" by Williams from "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
But let's go back to the beginning of the evening for a moment, because this year's
Taking the first master of ceremonies slot was
There will be six other masters of ceremonies throughout the season, and Burgess said the others had told him that if he screwed up on the first night, he'd make them look better.
Sorry, guys and gals, he didn't screw up, but I'm sure you'll all look and sound great.
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