Music by Moonlight: National Symphony Orchestra Returns to Wolftrap

Classic Arts Features   Music by Moonlight: National Symphony Orchestra Returns to Wolftrap
For more than 40 years, the National Symphony Orchestra has made listening to music under a canopy of stars at Wolf Trap an annual tradition. This year's lineup offers a variety of offerings ranging from classical to Broadway to film.


On July 16, singers from the Wolf Trap Opera Company join the NSO and conductor Emil de Cou for a musical evening exploring the tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet through the works of Bernstein, Tchaikovsky, Gounod, and Prokofiev.

In An Evening with Idina Menzel and Marvin Hamlisch on July 17, the Tony-winning star of Wicked joins the Tony-winning NSO Principal Pops Conductor for a diverse program of classic pop and musical theater favorites (including hits from Wicked and Rent), as well as songs from her album I Stand.

Audiences will go Around the World with Joshua Bell and the NSO on July 22 through Gershwin's Cuban Overture, Bruch's Scottish Fantasy, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, and Respighi's Roman Festivals in a thrilling concert with the virtuoso violinist conducted by Emil de Cou.

The Orchestra, conducted by Emil de Cou, is joined on July 23 by soprano Lisa Vroman, tenor Gary Mauer, baritone William Michals, and the Washington Chorus for A Rodgers and Hammerstein Celebration, featuring selections from The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I, Carousel, and more.

In a "Film & Music" evening conducted by Arnie Roth on July 30, Distant Worlds: Music from FINAL FANTASY combines live music with cutting-edge visuals from the popular game: shown on giant screens in-house and on the lawn.

On July 31, the stars shine on a "Film & Music" evening of The Planets in HD! with Emil de Cou conducting the Orchestra in music by John Williams and Holst's The Planets and remarkable high-def projections shown on giant screens in-house and on the lawn.

Conducted by Carl Davis on August 5, vocalist Mary Carewe and the Orchestra perform in The Music of James Bond, including classic songs from Goldfinger, License to Kill, Dr. No, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, From Russia with Love, Casino Royale (1967 & 2006), and many more.

For the NSO's final "Film & Music" evenings on August 6 & 7, conductor George Daugherty brings Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, his newly created sequel to Bugs Bunny on Broadway. This new fusion of Looney Tunes will be shown on giant screens in-house and on the lawn. Cartoons from the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes vaults will be added, including the debut of Tweety Bird and Sylvester into the concert with Tweet and Lovely, the misguided romantic musings of Pepe Le Pew in A Scent of the Matterhorn, and the concert debut of one of Bugs Bunny's and Daffy Duck's most celebrated face-offs, Ali Baba Bunny. The black-and-white era will be paid tribute to with Friz Freleng's Shake Your Powderpuff, which, according to Daugherty, was the first-ever Looney Tune that parodied the symphony orchestra world, and laid the groundwork for decades of classical music spoofs to come.

Additionally, a number of other animated stars from the extended Warner Bros. cartoon family will pay tribute to Bugs Bunny's stellar musical career: including Tom and Jerry in the celebrated Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl, and spectacular cameos from The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and other stars from the world of Hanna-Barbera.


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Jeremy D. Birch is the writer/editor for Kennedy Center News.

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