Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Houston Symphony made an announcement on Friday. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. May 25th.

Houstonians will be able to experience a two-hour journey into the magical world of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle Earth on July 1 and 2, when there will be two performances of Howard Shore's monumental composition The Lord of the Rings Symphony in Six Movements, performed by the Houston Symphony, four singers, the Houston Symphony Chorus, and the Houston Children's Chorus, conducted by Alexander Mickelthwate.

This symphonic adventure has sold out in every city where it has played since its premiere in March. The choruses will sing in "Elvish," and musicians will play such instruments as Norwegian fiddles, Japanese drums, African flutes and Tibetan gongs.

Note that Howard Shore will NOT be conducting this performance, unlike the June 5th concert in Atlanta, for which we have tickets.

Sarah and I got to see Houston Grand Opera's production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville tonight. Despite a few problems synching the surtitles, it was great fun. The Houston Chronicle earlier gave it a favorable review, plus ran a feature on the unusual props and linked to a video clip showing the famed barber himself channel the Fonze. Very cool. Great singing and orchestra.

When Count Almaviva drove up to the house of his new love in a vintage Buick Electra convertible, he signaled the start of a radical new take on a classic opera comedy.

Younger and more casually dressed than the usual crowd, [the audience] laughed readily at the updated interpretation by the Australian team of director Lindy Hume and designer Dan Potra, in their American debuts.

Hume and Potra chose to update the setting to the late 1950s and early 1960s. The sight of the Count checking his hair in the car's rearview mirror certainly triggered memories of drive-ins, dances and courtship -- the real thing or the fantasy versions of films and sit-coms.