Hollywood Bowl offers Salonen, Weill, Bugs

Visits from four out-of-town symphony orchestras, six weeks by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under music director Esa-Pekka Salonen and five guest conductors and a night of Bugs Bunny cartoons are among the programs on tap during the upcoming season at Hollywood Bowl.

L.A. Philharmonic general director Ernest Fleischmann announced the sked to a well-fed press gathering at the Bowl’s Patio Restaurant Wednesday.

The 74th annual season runs June 28 to Sept. 18, its earlier-than-usual start mandated by the insertion of a week of special pop events (July 11-17) under World Cup-USA auspices.

The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra under John Mauceri, founded in 1992 to take on the more lightweight events in the Bowl schedule, will play six sets of weekend programs and perform all six of the final week’s concerts while the Philharmonic heads home from a European tour.

Five weekend concert pairs will culminate in fireworks; England’s Halle Orchestra will conclude its weeklong stay (on Sept. 9-10) with a laser-light production of Holst’s “The Planets.”

The Philharmonic’s expanded touring schedule, Fleischmann reported with some pride, is due to the enhanced fame of the orchestra under music director Salonen. The tour begins in Helsinki in late August, with Salonen introducing the American orchestra in his native city; it ends in Berlin Sept. 8, as part of the celebrations marking the final departure of American troops from Germany.

Prior to the tour, Salonen will try out his tour programs in two weeks at the Bowl (weeks of Aug. 9 and 16), including several works by his Finnish countryman Jan Sibelius.

Other visiting ensembles at the Bowl include the Budapest Festival Orchestra (week of July 26), the Detroit Symphony (Aug. 23) and the San Francisco Symphony (Aug. 30).

Most of the lighter Bowl events are slated for a return this summer. The Bugs Bunny cartoon night, with George Daugherty conducting the Philharmonic, is listed for July 1; on July 8 and 9 Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra will play along with scenes from “Bride of Frankenstein” and a collage of clips celebrating MGM’s 70th anniversary.

The Wednesday jazz series includes a guitar night (July 6); German vocalist Ute Lemper in a Kurt Weill collection (July 20); and a night of blues with Ray Charles and Etta James (Aug. 17).

As usual, most of the Bowl’s box seats sold out generations ago, and are now listed at a hypothetical $ 88 top. Plenty of top-of-the-Bowl seats at a mere $ 1 (located approximately on the Oregon border) are available; the sound up there is better than you’d think.

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