Symphony to Stunt Dogs: Fall performing arts preview

Fall is here, and you know what that means: football, soul-crushing, afternoon darkness and a whole mess of great performing arts programs and performances, ranging from Bach to Bowie, symphony to stunt dogs.

So take a look at what Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Long Beach Camerata Singers, Long Beach Opera, Long Beach Symphony and Music Angelica have coming for you.

But what about theater? Where’s the theater? Theater preview is next week, relax.

And yes, we get that Carpenter Center isn’t a performing arts group per se, but it does feature a lot of performing arts groups, so…

Is that consistent? Probably not. Anyone who told you life is consistent is probably selling something.

And voila!


Baroque orchestra Musica Angelica is back for its 27th season (it’s fifth year of residence in Long Beach) with a triad of performances. Their season opens Sep. 27 with Virtuoso Strings, featuring some of the most iconic compositions for the violin. Naturally, audiences can expect to hear the masterpieces from Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi—his pieces Concerto in B minor for Four Violins, Violincello and Strings, op. 3, no. 10 and RV 580—but also from Austrian-born Henrich Biber (Battalia à 10) and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 in B-flat major and concerto for three violins, among others.

On Dec. 13, their second show of the season, A Baroque Christmas offers a setlist with European pieces that have evoked the Christmas spirit for centuries. Traditional French Noels used in Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s “Messe de Minuit,” church music featuring Handel’s “Messiah” (voices lent by the Long Beach Camerata Singers) and Mozart’s “Exsultate Jubilate” are hallmark tunes sure to stimulate the holiday feeling, if only for a few hours.

Their final performance on Feb. 27, 24 Hours in Versailles, aims to sonically transport you to the court of King Louis XIV, France’s Roi Soleil (Sun King) with pieces that encompass the grandeur of his rule. The day-long event will feature musical banquets, dance, festival church and dinner music by French composers Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Joseph Mouret, Marin Marais, François Couperin, and Jean-Philippe Rameau. (Cheantay Jensen)

Another great thing: A prelude to each performance is a dinner of small, chef-inspired plates designed to enrich the Baroque concert experience. Best part, it’s free. So, go hungry.

Giving us a moment’s pause: You’ll want to go dressed up to this one.

All performances are held at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center; 300 E. Ocean Blvd. Tickets for individual performances range from $59-$79. For full season, individual tickets and more information visit the Musica Angelica website, here


Long Beach Symphony’s second annual Family Concert entitled, Up! Up! And Away at the Terrace Theater, inside the Long Beach Performing Arts Center Saturday February 2, 2019.

It’s the season of strings this year at the Long Beach Symphony. Opening their 85th annual season, Sept. 28, is acclaimed violinist Paul Huang performing time-honored works by Eastern and Central European composers including, Ligeti’s Concert Românesc, Dvořák’s romantic Violin Concerto in A minor, op. 53 and Tchaikovsky’s climactic Symphony No. 5 in E minor, op. 64.

Known for her collaborations with Josh Groban, Chris Botti and Jethro Tull, crossover artist Lucia Micarelli performs in a POPS! Series production on Oct. 26.

And, in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, on  March 7, Stefan Jackiw, considered one of America’s most formidable violinists (his roster of solo performances includes Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco symphony orchestras) will perform the only piece Beethoven wrote specifically for the instrument, Violin Concerto in D major.

Spring ushers in Long Beach Symphony’s most astounding program, Violins of Hope, a concert where musicians will play restored instruments once played by Jews, many of them in concentration camps, during the Holocaust. The April 25 show catalog includes John Williams “Hatikvah” (Israel’s national anthem) from the film “Munich,” his stirring Theme from Schindler’s List and Ben-Haim’s Symphony No. 1, 2nd Mvmt, “Psalm”. The finale features the Verdi Requiem, performed in silent protest during the Nazi’s SS visit at the Terezin camp and ghetto in 1944. (Cheantay Jensen)

Another great thing: The Long Beach Symphony is, arguably, the only local venue offering high-production performances that straddles both the classic and contemporary. Their POPS! Series show on May 9, Symphonic Rock, promises an all-star six-piece rock band that will bang out classic rock anthems that have induced bouts of earworm for generations. Head banging isn’t required, but it couldn’t hurt… unless you do it wrong.

Giving us a moment’s pause: Curating the Long Beach Symphony’s yearly repertoire is no simple task. Since taking over as the symphony’s musical director in 2017, German-born conductor Eckart Preu has designed the seasons in a fashion meant to garner audiences’ trust, while sprinkling in some necessary spice to the mix. Hear his thought process and who he knew he had to have on the roster this year, here.

PODCAST: Music saved my life; LB Symphony’s Eckart Preu, Camerata Singers James Bass

Tickets for both the classical season and the POPS! Series start at $30, however tickets for Violins of Hope begin at $40. For the full season, tickets and more information visit the Long Beach Symphony’s website here. Classical performances are held at Long Beach Performing Arts Center in the Terrace Theater at 300 E. Ocean Blvd; POPS! Series shows are in the Long Beach Arena Pacific Ballroom, at 300 E. Ocean Blvd.


And yes, we know, Carpenter Center isn’t a performing arts group, it’s a really nice performing arts building that welcomes a wide swath of acts, i.e. the next four performers, starting Oct. 2, range from  jazz/blues singer Mandy Harvey, contemporary ballet company, Complexions (Oct. 5), an Everly Brothers re-creation/tribute and, wait for it, Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience (Nov. 10).

Still, as wide-ranging as this season’s acts are, they do fall into a few recognizable categories.

Annual favorites? Check out pianist David Benoit’s annual Charlie Brown Christmas tribute, Dec. 21, as he plays the timeless music of the late, great Vince Guaraldi. The Capitol Steps return for their, pretty much, annual appearance of satire and song parodies, Jan. 11.

Musical tributes? Not only is there The Everly Brothers: Live at Royal Albert Hall, Oct. 6, but Stacy Sullivan’s tribute to Peggy Lee (Nov. 13-14), Oh What A Night, a musical tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Jan. 26) One Night of Queen (Feb. 28), Live From Laurel Canyon, with performances of American soft and folk rock (March 8), Ann Hampton Callaway singing the Streisand Songbook (March 11-12) and Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, America’s first all-female mariachi outfit performing May 3.

Dance? Besides Complexions, there’s A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham (Jan. 25) and Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles with Jarabe Mexicano performing Cruzando Fronteras (May 16).

One category that has gained a fast and enthusiastic following has been the Carpenter’s speakers series and this year’s crew looks to be somewhat awesome, starting with Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad (Nov. 16), writer Anne Lamott—”Operating Instructions” “Bird by Bird”—(March 14) and wrapping up with Bill Nye, the Science Guy (April 25). (Steve Lowery)

Another great thing: One of Complexions pieces is titled “Stardust” and is a tribute to David Bowie. Yes, please.

Giving us a moment’s pause: Do the stunt dogs have a designated Splash/Slobber Zone?

Carpenter Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of Cal State Long Beach at 1250 Bellflower Blvd. For more information or tickets, click here.


Members of the Long Beach Camerata Singers rehearse before their concert “The Hope of Loving.” October 2, 2018. Photo by Asia Morris.

Now in their 54th season, the Long Beach Camerata Singers will continue with their third annual Peace Project, exploring performance art as a vehicle toward peace. Last season’s subject, love, inspired performances including Jake Runestad’s “The Hope of Loving” and discussions on healing, self-care and acceptance.

For this upcoming Peace Project of the singers’ 2019-2020 season, the theme is “Beyond the Golden Door,” an exploration of what composers from different countries have brought to American culture with the group performing “wholly American” favorites, including Russian immigrant Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” preceded by a community roundtable discussion considering the contributions of new citizens on Oct. 13.

There’s also two performances of Handel’s Messiah, arguably the cornerstone of the group’s last decade of programming, when thousands of Long Beach residents get in the holiday spirit, Dec. 21 and Dec. 22. Concluding the season will be an Evening of Song on May 31, inspired by “Schubertiade,” an intimate concert in one’s living room, or in this case, the Beverly O’Neill Theater. (Asia Morris)

Another great thing: The theme of the Opening Night Gala on Oct. 10 is “The Blue Violin,” celebrating the small curiosities that lead us to new passions. Artistic Director James K. Bass will share his own “Blue Violin,” a first step in his musical journey. The Beverly O’Neill Arts and Music awards will be given to two museums, MOLAA and LBMA, and U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal.

Giving us a moment’s pause: If not for music, artistic director James K. Bass could have ended up in a very different place: Florida. Trust us, music saves lives.

Learn more about the Long Beach Camerata Singers 2019-2020 season at


Leslie Dunner, Conductor, directs the cast as they rehearse for “The Central Park Five,” of the Long Beach Opera in Long Beach Saturday, June 1, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

Long Beach Opera is bringing its 2020 season to a few exciting new venues; see King Arthur reinterpreted as a superhero fighting supernatural forces at the Beverly O’Neill Theater with Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra playing some of Henry Purcell’s (1659-1695) most adventuresome and lyrical music. Solve the mystery of three lighthouse keepers gone missing at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s new theater—with its 32-foot-tall, 180-degree arc projection wall. Follow the perilous passage of an outlaw through New Mexico among the gravestones of Sunnyside Cemetery and close out the season with a bold rendition of Frida Kahlo’s life at the Museum of Latin American Art.

The world premiere of King Arthur kicks off on Jan. 12, followed by the Los Angeles premiere of The Lighthouse on March 21; Billy the Kid starts May 3 and Frida, back by popular demand, plays June 20. (Asia Morris)

Another great thing: While January may feel like a long time to wait for LBO’s first production to come around, their fundraising events this year are worth considering as full-on productions in their own right. Shirking the usual atmosphere of the conventional gala, LBO is hosting “UnGalas” defined as “a way of undoing any previous negative affiliations one may associate with overly stuffy galas.”

The first of four is coming up quickly, Oct. 6, a Divalicious Drag-Off featuring opera singers and drag queens competing for the crown of most fabulous duo at, you guessed it, Hamburger Mary’s. Click here for tickets.

Giving us a moment’s pause: This is the last season we’ll have longtime LBO artistic director Andreas Mitisek at the helm; Mitisek is leaving the company in September 2020 to work on other projects around the globe. While he’ll be invited back to collaborate with LBO from time to time, still, don’t miss this season before he embarks on a new adventure.

Artistic director Andreas Mitisek will leave Long Beach Opera after 2020 season

Learn more about LBO’s 2020 season at


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