Sunday, March 12, 2017

review - DISNEY IN CONCERT: TALE AS OLD AS TIME - Phoenix Symphony Orchestra

highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

".The animated films of Walt Disney are known for their stunning visuals, colorful characters, and exceptional storylines. Yet I have to believe that the popularity of these movies is partly due to the many great songs they feature. Phoenix Symphony Orchestra presented four performances recently of Disney in Concert: Tale as Old as Time, a superb evening that featured many of the most well-known hits from the Disney catalog of animated films performed by a talented quartet of vocalists and backed by the excellent Phoenix Symphony Orchestra while highlights from the classic movies were displayed on a large screen overhead. Under the skilled baton of guest conductor John Varineau, the PSO performed exceptionally, with the familiar tunes coming vibrantly to life with a rich clarity from the top level craftsmanship and incredibly professional musical skills of every member of the orchestra. I've seen dozens of concerts presented by this symphony and each one always makes me proud to have such a talented group of men and women right here in Phoenix who exhibit such a deep love for music—both classical and popular—and an organization that presents numerous concerts each season that touch upon all types of musical styles. Disney in Concert: Tale as Old as Time has been performed with various symphony orchestras around the country. Whitney Claire Kaufman, Lisa Livesay, Aaron Phillips, and Andrew Johnson were the vocalists for the Phoenix shows....Most of the selections in the concert focused on either a specific film or a type of Disney character. Highlights included exceptional work from Phillips, who it seems has no limits to his mimicry and clowning capabilities as he channeled some of the most beloved comical and villainous Disney characters. Selections included "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast, "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin, and "Be Afraid" from The Lion King, which was part of a medley of villain songs. That segment also included a stirring and seductive version of "Trust in Me" from The Jungle Book performed by Andrew Johnson, and Whitney Claire Kaufman's vocally rich performance of "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from The Little Mermaid....In what was one of the major highlights of the evening, the orchestra played an instrumental piece entitled "Battle with the Forces of Evil" which uses a theme from Tchaikovsky. The climactic battle scene from Sleeping Beauty played out on the screen overhead in sync to the orchestra's exemplary performance. The concert ended with an encore of "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King led by Johnson with backup harmonies by the rest of the singers for a truly emotional ending to a superb show....The magic and splendor of Disney animation and the many memorable songs from those films proved to be the perfect combination for a superb evening of music. A huge plus was that there were a large number of young children at the performance I attended. Hopefully, seeing these songs performed by such a talented orchestra will entice them to return to future concerts from the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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