Articles in Press
[Independent] ‘Carmina Burana’ at the Granada
October 21, 2015
Ballet, Choir, and Symphony Present a Masterpiece
In the land described in the book The Hyborian Age by author Robert E. Howard, a Cimmerian boy, born on the battlefield to a blacksmith, arose to conquer, swearing to a deity called Crom. Conan, as he was named, eventually claimed vengeance on the evil sorcerer Thulsa Doom, infiltrating the Temple of Set as the cult indulged in cannibalistic orgy.
Ironically, just as pulp fiction writer Howard wove his tale in the 1930s of Conan — later to be portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger on the big screen — Carl Orff, music educator and composer, discovered the medieval sultry poem manuscript Carmina Burana, later to be turned into a 25-song epic masterpiece. Both Conan and Carmina Burana deal with themes of fate, merrymaking, love, warfare, religious worship, and satire. Musically, Orff’s Carmina Burana shares threads of Verdi’s Requiem and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, and later in the 1982 film of Conan the Barbarian, film composer Basil Poledouris’s music score shares the epic choir and medieval soundscape inspired by Carmina Burana.
[Scene Magazine] A ‘Carmina Burana’-powered launch
October 16, 2015
Santa Barbara Symphony kicks off the season with a program centered around Carl Orff's 'Carmina Burana,' and a collaborative enterprise with local performing arts groups
October, traditionally a culturally dense month as various arts groups launch their seasons, has been a big period for Symphonic splashes. Following the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra's recent "Firebird"-themed gala season opener, the Santa Barbara Symphony gets in the game and ups the ante with an ambitious program centered on Carl Orff's epic, sublime and wild "Carmina Burana," in an unusually inter-organizational collaborative show also featuring the State Street Ballet, the Santa Barbara Chorale Society and guest vocal soloists.
This season, the orchestra's 63rd, will also be the tenth season with maestro Nir Kabaretti at the helm. The Israeli-born conductor, who splits his time between Italy and Santa Barbara and regularly works in Europe, with a specialty in opera, has been a great boon to the symphony since taking over the position from previous conductor, the adventurous Gisele Ben-Dor, in 2006. Under his watch, the symphony made the auspicious move from the Arlington Theatre to the acoustically-superior Granada Theatre.
We recently checked in with the maestro, on the eve of the Orff performance, and his own season number ten.
[Independent] ‘Carmina Burana’: Three Companies Collaborate at the Granada
October 15, 2015
Symphony, State Street Ballet, and Choral Society Perform Orff
It’s the most popular classical composition of the 20th century; it’s also one of the most eccentric. Carmina Burana, the “scenic cantata” by Carl Orff that will be presented at the Granada Theatre on Saturday-Sunday, October 17-18, defies categorization even as it goes from triumph to triumph in the spheres of advertising, popular music, and film scoring. Relentless excerpting and recontextualizing has seen Orff’s work, and in particular the big opening number, “O fortuna imperatrix mundi,” turn up in such unlikely places as raps by P. Diddy and Nas, and even as the opening sequence of Jackass: The Movie.
What’s happening at the Granada, however, represents a turn in the other direction, away from fragmenting the piece and toward rendering it whole. This weekend’s production is nothing less than a full-scale Carmina Burana as its composer intended it, with a huge orchestra, multiple vocal soloists, a 100-voice-strong chorus, and a dozen trained dancers performing an original full-length ballet. To pull off this spectacular feat of theatrical production, four organizations have come together. Through pooling resources, the Santa Barbara Symphony, State Street Ballet, the Santa Barbara Choral Society, and the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts have met every challenge faced by such an unusual and ambitious event.
[CASA Magazine] A conversation with the principals of Carmina Burana
October 02, 2015
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[Backstage at the Lobero] What You Should Know About the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony
September 29, 2015
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[Independent] Review: Santa Barbara Symphony’s Porgy and Bess
May 20, 2015
As maestro Nir Kabaretti enters his second decade with the Santa Barbara Symphony, the time feels right not so much for retrospection as for celebration. Last Saturday night, the symphony’s executive director, David Pratt, announced from the Granada stage that Kabaretti has signed a contract to conduct the orchestra for at least another three years, and that’s very good news. His blend of personal warmth, intellectual rigor, and consummate musicianship has moved the organization forward on a number of fronts throughout his tenure, and thus the next three-year stint — or decade for that matter — promises to be a rich one.