SummerFest 2014 will begin with a free concert featuring music director Cho-Liang Lin, SummerFest artists and the San Diego Youth Symphony International at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, at Scripps Park, La Jolla Cove. Lin plays Vivaldi’s popular “Four Seasons” along with an ensemble of brilliant string players, including former music director Heichiro Ohyama, on opening night, Friday, August 1.
Tchaikovsky receives homage from pianists Orion Weiss and Anna Polonsky on Saturday, August 2; Tuesdays, August 5, 12 and 19, belong to featured composer Franz Joseph Haydn. Fabled pianist Yefim Bronfman essays Prokofiev sonatas plus Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio with violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Lynn Harrell Wednesday, August 13.
LJMS president and artistic director Christopher Beach looks forward to English trumpeter Alison Balsom (Wednesday, August 6, at St. James-by-the-Sea). “Her style and energy are infectious,” he says. He also recommends the world premiere of Howard (“Lord of the Rings”) Shore’s “A Palace Upon the Ruins” Friday, August 15.
Other SummerFest guest artists include the Miró Quartet (Sunday, August 10) and the Assad Brothers, guitarists (Wednesday, August 20). Renowned conductor Leonard Slatkin conducts the SummerFest finale on Friday, August 22.
SummerFest 2014 is likely the next to last at Sherwood Auditorium, as the 45-year-old LJMS plans to build a state-of-the-art, $40 million Performing Arts Center in La Jolla. “An acoustically rich performance venue,” Beach says, “it will enhance everything we do and show off the extraordinary musicians that we bring to the festival each year.”
For complete programming, series and individual tickets and information about free Encounters at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, go to ljms.org or call (858) 459-3728.
At the Playhouse
Make plans to attend American Conservatory Theatre/La Jolla Playhouse co-production of “The Orphan of Zhao,” featuring Tony Award-winning actor BD Wong in the juicy role of a country doctor who saves the titular infant from death at the hands of a dissolute Emperor and his cruel minister, who destroy the entire Zhao clan. The Orphan survives to wreak vengeance in this centuries-old revenge tale adapted by British poet James Fenton. The spectacle, the acting and the music are extraordinary. This plays through Sunday, August 3, in the Mandell Weiss Theatre. lajollaplayhouse.org or (858) 550-1010.
In the Mandell Weiss Forum through August 10, the Playhouse presents Elizabeth Egloff’s “Ether Dome,” a co-production with Alley Theatre, Hartford Stage and Huntington Theatre Company. Directed by Michael Wilson, the play features exquisite production values and a company of 16. Commissioned to explore the history of anesthesiology, it is quite simply the most unbearable play I’ve attended in nearly 65 years of theatergoing. What a waste of talent, money and good intentions.
And the winners are
South African playwright Athol Fugard, a former North County resident, will receive the Japan Art Association’s 2014 Praemium Imperiale [sic] International Award for excellence in theater and film. Given each year since 1988, the arts prizes carry with them an award of approximately $150,000 plus a gold medal and will be presented in Tokyo on Oct. 15. Estonian classical composer Arvo Pärt is also a winner.
Closer to home, Bodhi Tree Concerts received a San Diego International Fringe Festival award for best ensemble musical performance for its production of “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Bodhi Tree is familiar for numerous area concerts, most recently a Sondheim Cabaret July 13 at the Cuvier Club.
According to this week’s New York Times, the next stop for the revised musical “Side Show,” which closed recently at the Kennedy Center after a run at La Jolla Playhouse, could be Broadway. Could be September.