|The Los Angeles Philharmonic, under Assistant Conductor Alexander Mickelthwate, performs at the Pomona First Baptist Church.|
|Ben Davis sings the Birdcatcher's Song from The Magic Flute as the Los Angeles Philharmonic performs.|
Residents of Pomona and the surrounding communities were enchanted on May 12 with a special evening performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the First Baptist Church of Pomona. The world-renowned orchestra brought to life pieces from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's popular opera The Magic Flute as well as Johannes Brahm's Symphony No. 3, Bedrich Smetana's Bartered Bride Overture and Antonin Dvorak's Slavonic Dance, op 72, No. 1, 2 and 7.
This is the sixth straight year the Los Angeles Philharmonic staged an exclusive regional performance. With the support of local public, private and government organizations, the amazing concert was offered at the deeply discounted rate of only $5 each ticket, a fraction of the cost to watch the orchestra at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Under the direction of newly appointed assistant conductor Alexander Mickelthwate, this year's performance included soloist Ben Davis, a baritone. Davis has performed on Broadway and with opera companies around the country. He has just been signed to sing the role of Papageno in Kenneth Branagh's upcoming film version of The Magic Flute.
Davis charmed the crowd, playfully singing in character as Papageno, the queen's birdcatcher in The Magic Flute.
Before launching into “Suicide Scene” and later “Birdcatcher's Song,” Davis announced the local audience would be the first in the world to hear the new translation of The Magic Flute by Stephen Fry, which will be featured in the upcoming film version of the popular opera.
Pomona resident Andretta Anderson has faithfully attended these concerts since they started in 1999. At this year's event, she took her 23-year-old daughter, Jamila, for her first symphony performance.
“I really enjoy this event,” the elder Anderson said. It's so convenient too, instead of driving for an hour to Los Angeles. And each year there's something different and special. “
Myra Peraza, 27, of Pomona was particularly enthralled by the live performance of Brahm's passionate Symphony No. 3 in F Major, op 90, one of her favorite pieces.
“It's an amazing opportunity,” said Peraza, who came to the concert with her next door neighbors. “Seeing them so close, and forthat price! It's so great. Pomona sometimes has a bad reputation, and I think this helps the community and gives people a different kind of knowledge. “
The idea of bringing the Los Angeles Philharmonic to Pomona initially grew out of a series of discussions that took place between Cal Poly Pomona and the city of Pomona about the potential for using the performing and visual arts to revitalize the downtown area. With the help of many community partners, this dream became a reality.
This unique community event receives primary support from Cal Poly Pomona, the city of Pomona, the Pomona Redevelopment Agency, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona Unified School District, Mount San Antonio College, First Baptist Church of Pomona, Jeved Management and Los Angeles Philharmonic. These and other organizations have banded together to provide an affordable opportunity for new audiences to enjoy world-class performance arts right in the heart of Pomona.