Where can you feel the fire of Lecuona’s “Malaguena,” enjoy the romance of Gershwin’s “An American in Paris,” and blast into outerspace with Williams’ “Across the Stars” outside a movie theater? Why, at Symphony Park, where the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is performing its Summer Pops Concert Series. With only three performances left, it is a Southpark classic you don’t want to miss.
CSO’s Summer Pops will continue on Sunday, June 24 with “Vive la France;” Sunday, July 1 with “Three Great American Composers: Gershwin, Bernstein and Rodgers;” and Tuesday, July 3 with “Celebrate America.” Park gates open at 5 p.m., allowing concertgoers a chance to claim a prime spot on the lawn before the prelude performance starts at 7 p.m. and the Charlotte Symphony performance begins at 8:15 p.m.
I attended last Sunday’s Concert, “Symphonic Passion,” and was blown away by the number of people there by 6:45 p.m. I recommend going early and staking your claim. Picnics are welcome and a nice bottle of wine complements the experience. Parking is available at the Southpark Mall.
Associate Conductor Jacomo Rafael Bairos led CSO through a wonderful program featuring Beethoven, Copland, De Falla, Lecuona and Prokofiev. In a nod to Father’s Day, the final pieces by Williams from “Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” appealed to the many dads in attendance. Bairos conducted with passion and fluidity, making the performance not only a joy to listen to but watch as well. The visible harmony between Bairos’ movements and the musicians was palpable.
This is the 11th annual Summer Pops Concert Series for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra (a Knight Arts grantee), which started in 1932. The CSO employs 62 musicians and is directed by Christopher Warren-Green. Their mission to perform great symphonic music that serves the whole community and uplifts the human spirit was certainly achieved this past Sunday.
This coming weekend audience members will be treated to “Vive la France” with Albert-George Schram conducting, a prelude by Michael Reno Harrell and other musical pieces.
Performances take place at Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Rd., Charlotte. Tickets are $10 for adults and admission for children under 18 is free. Charlotte Symphony Orchestra: 301 South Tryon St., suite 1700; 704-972-2003; www.charlottesymphony.org