Tag Archives: Alex Theatre

Get Out Of Town!: Glendale Youth Orchestra Season Finale

The Glendale Youth Orchestra plays the final concert of the 2017-18 season on Sunday evening, May 20, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. This fine youth orchestra performs standard symphonic repertoire and draws young musicians from Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and from throughout Los Angeles and the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys.

The concert program on Sunday includes four concerto competition winners performing one movement with the orchestra. Andrew Lee performs the Shostakovich Cello Concerto, Matthew Kim plays the Ibert Flute Concerto, Cole Davis plays Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole on violin and Jamie Yoon performs the Saint-Saens Violin Concerto #3.

glendale youth orchestra

Brad Keimach conducts the Glendale Youth Orchestra which performs standard symphonic repertoire at the Alex Theatre. (Photo Courtesy Glendale Youth Orchestra)

The second half of the program features the complete Symphony No. 39 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Now in its twenty-ninth season, the Glendale Youth Orchestra has been conducted by Brad Keimach for many years. Primarily featuring high school string, brass, wind and percussion players, the GYO is also comprised of talented middle school age musicians and those from area colleges.

Auditions for the 30th season of the GYO are held in June and September every year and more information can be found here. The orchestra practices weekly September through May in Burbank and Glendale and presents three concerts every year plus a Showcase Recital.

Tickets for Sunday’s concert are $15 general admission and $12 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased online here or at the box office the night of show.

The Alex Theatre is located at 216 N. Brand Boulevard in Glendale. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. Parking is available for a nominal fee in nearby parking garages and on the street.

Editor’s Note: While there’s always a lot going on in Burbank, myBurbank’s “Get Out Of Town!” highlights some of our favorite activities and events outside the town borders.

glendale Youth orchestra

Image Courtesy Glendale Youth Orchestra

 

‘The Nutcracker’ is a Triumph for Los Angeles Ballet

Los Angeles Ballet stepped into its sixth season with a delightful holiday performance of The Nutcracker at The Alex Theatre in Glendale last weekend. LAB alternately charmed and thrilled its audience with dancing that conveyed emotional depth, and bravura displays that combined strength and grace.

Act I, Scene One (hallway) features wonderfully expressive acting by Clara (Mia Katz) and her annoying brother Fritz (Aidan Merchel-Zoric). The charm continues into Scene Two (The Party) with engaging choreography and a stunning performance by the Cossack Doll (Chehon Wespi-Tschopp): ten consecutive turns (tour a la seconde) followed by a quadruple pirouette. And Scene Three is both playful and serious in its dispatch of the Mouse King. Act II, Scene One is a feast of superb performances that range from exquisite to vigorous. And the final scene when Clara awakens marks Mia Katz as a gifted actress as well as dancer.

Like The Wizard of Oz would do in the 20th century, Tchaikovsky’s 19th century masterpiece celebrates the amazing worlds a young woman unleashes in her dreams. In The Wizard of Oz, the heroine Dorothy creates a world that enables her to work through relationship issues with the adults around her. In The Nutcracker, our heroine Clara is a bit more ambitious. She dreams of a romantic ideal.

The scene opens just before the guests arrive at the Christmas Eve party at the Stalbaum Family’s festive home. Clara is being tormented by her brother Fritz, who attempts to wrestle her baby doll away from her. Later on, when the party is underway, we see Fritz and other boys waving toy guns and running through the crowd as Clara and the girls hug their dolls all the more tightly. And so we see, through a child’s eyes, society’s central problem: how to harness the male energy so that it protects fragile life rather than destroys it.

Clara’s dear Uncle Drosselmeyer presents Clara with a life-sized Nutcracker, an example of male energy properly harnessed: the Nutcracker is able to crack the shell without destroying the nut. And was it just a coincidence that Fritz got knocked over in his presence when he persisted in teasing Clara?

That night, Clara’s dream is that of an innocent young girl, not yet sailing into the storms of adolescence. So, her vision of men behaving badly is not a gang of wolves or even rats, but overgrown mice. Uncle Drossmeyer, personifying the civilizing tradition, summons The Nutcracker, symbolizing the young hero who must defend civilization anew. The Nutcracker dispatches the Mouse King; man’s better nature has triumphed over his baser one. As a result, Uncle Drossmeyer can now usher both Clara and her Nutcracker into a world where the delicate things—like snowflakes—can safely dance. A world where strength serves beauty and grace.

The Nutcracker is a young girl’s wonderful dream of civilization as it might be. And for a few hours, Los Angeles Ballet made that dream a glorious reality. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to become more culturally involved, put LAB on your list. Then you’ll have at least one resolution you’re likely to keep long after the pounds have returned.

The Nutcracker plays at Royce Hall, UCLA on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th, at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 pm. Then it plays at the Redondo Beach performing Arts Center on Thursday the 22nd at 7:30 p.m., Friday the 23rd at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday the 24th at 1:00 p.m. Call the Box Office at 310-998-7782 or visit www.losangelesballet.org.