LOS ANGELES VIRTUOSI ORCHESTRA AT THEATRE RAYMOND KABBAZ
I was very happy to celebrate the seventeenth season opener of one of my favorite Los Angeles theatres, Theatre Raymond Kabbaz (TRK,) last week. If you’ve never been to this ultra-pleasant venue in Century City, you’re really missing out.
Before I tell you about that fabulous evening, I have to say that I sooo appreciate the variety of TRK’s usually one-night-only shows. I look forward to so many of them this season, especially Kybele Dance Theatre on October 5 and “Certified Lunatic,” Tomas Kubinek, on December 1. (Who wouldn’t be curious about the latter, with a moniker like that?!) Please check-out their entire line-up this year, with the link to their site below.
The festive opening night began with a catered reception in their courtyard. This is a French theatre, so some of the fare celebrated their heritage, such as mini croque monsieurs, foie gras, multi-colored macarons, and, of course, lots of wine! A good time was had by all.
Then we headed inside to the easiest theatre I’ve ever been in, to be treated to an exclusive performance of the Los Angeles Virtuosi Orchestra (LAV,) which is conducted by the charming Maestro Carlo Ponti.
Since I’m always honest, I have a confession to make: I opted to go to this concert out of curiosity; if you don’t recognize his famous last name, Carlo is the son of Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti. But I forgot all that right away because he himself was fascinating and the music exquisite. I loved the whole experience! During the concert, I found myself thinking that his parents would be so proud of him, no matter who they are!
And thank goodness the maestro spoke before the music began, so that we got to see his beautiful face, and not just his gorgeous hair from behind. And we got to hear his sexy voice and lovely speech! My own parents (speech and English teachers, and lovers of the arts,) would be proud of this guy, too! I chuckled to myself thinking of how my mother would have thrown-out her crush on Sidney Poitier for Carlo! She always loved handsome, talented men who speak beautifully. (I’m sure my proofreader is chuckling right now because she knew my mother’s predilections, too.) [Note: By the way, that same proofreader, Carol Rampino, must be an expert in moms, in general, because she pointed-out that yesterday was Carlo’s mom’s birthday. So, Happy Belated Birthday to Ms. Loren!]
Okay, enough personal info. Let’s get to the wonderful music itself. It was a short concert that could have been hours longer, and it would have still held the attention of the assemblage. It was really something special. To celebrate not only seventeen years of TRK, but also the third anniversary of the Los Angeles Virtuosi Orchestra, they chose three masterpieces to share with us.
First up was the Prelude to Camille Saint-Saëns’ Le Deluge, op. 45, an oratorio which is rarely performed these days. It was superb.
Then came the highlight of the evening: the lively Eine Kleine Nachtmusik–K. 525, which is perhaps the most popular work by Mozart. In all my years of concert-going, I had never heard it played live, which is just unbelievable to me. And let me tell you—there is nothing like live symphony music! Musicians are truly like magic to me—I absolutely cannot figure out how it’s done. (And I’ve played piano and flute! I still don’t know how I did it, just as I can’t figure out how I used to be so good at French, Spanish, and Latin, of all languages. Now my talents are more in the make-up and nails categories. Oh well.)
After intermission, LAV finished-up with Chamber Symphony in C Minor, op. 110 bis by Shostakovich, which was the perfect ending to such a classy evening.
I have to tell you something it reminded me of, especially because they didn’t dim the lights all the way, which enabled me to take notes without my usual writing in the dark, (and being able to read it all later! Hey—a talent is a talent!) I believe that is done during all classical concerts everywhere, but, since I don’t have time to go to many these days, it made me hark back to my teen-age years, going to concerts at Lincoln Center with my mother. As with this one, I originally had ulterior motives, but I wound-up loving the music, along with the entire experience. The reason that I went to these orchestral concerts to begin with, (despite always needing something visual, as a ballet, in addition to the music,) was because I didn’t want my sister to have my mother all to herself for those days. So I agreed to go with them for that sole purpose. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I do know that I’m shallow!)
And, because of the not-shut-all-the-way lighting at Lincoln Center, I was able to write letters during the shows! So, taking the review notes last week during this Los Angeles Virtuosi Orchestra concert gave me a warm feeling of a time when people actually hand-wrote missives to their friends.
Okay, one more confession—in addition to writing to pals, I also roamed the lobby of Lincoln Center, dancing to the beautiful music that still wafted out there from the auditorium! And, of course, I spent some time admiring myself in the fabulous full-length mirrors! What a fun time for a young lady in the arts! So thank you to Carlo Ponti and the Los Angeles Virtuosi Orchestra, and Theatre Raymond Kabbaz, for giving me that warm memory.
Speaking again of Maestro Carlo Ponti, I have to say that his list of credits is mind-boggling. Music lovers should really research him because you’ll be as impressed as I am over his career experiences. So, it was extra-kind of him to found this Los Angeles Virtuosi Orchestra, an ensemble that emphasizes music’s educational value, and whose net profits go to arts education, which is greatly needed in our schools today, with so much funding being shamefully cut.
So, again, I want to congratulate that orchestra on their third anniversary, and say Joyeux anniversaire 17ème anniversaire to Theatre Raymond Kabbaz! Hope to see you all there this season!
Theatre Raymond Kabbaz 10361 W Pico Blvd. 310-286-0553 www.theatreraymondkabbaz.com