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  • WDCH
  • Dec. 19, 2003
  • John de Lancie Narrates Program Featuring Theatrical Performers Recreating Premiere of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony


    The Los Angeles Philharmonic turns back time with its second First Nights program featuring a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 led by guest conductor Antonio Pappano at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Friday, December 19 at 8 p.m. First Nights fuses storytelling with a symphonic performance, recreating the historical, political, and cultural settings for the current audience to experience the atmosphere surrounding the 1808 premiere of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5.

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place one hour prior to each concert in BP Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and are free to all ticket holders.

    In a program written, directed and narrated by John de Lancie, audience members encounter the Theater an der Wien as if they were listening to masterpieces in the making. December 22, 1808 was a historic night-a concert entirely of Beethoven's compositions, which also included his Sixth Symphony and the aria "Ah, Perfido." For the Walt Disney Concert Hall production, a string quartet will perform excerpts of pieces Beethoven was composing at the time he wrote the Fifth Symphony, between story vignettes featuring actors in period costume. The theatrical presentation tells the tale of the famous composer's life and surrounding times, and sets the stage leading up to the "premiere" of Beethoven's most famous work, the Fifth Symphony.

    Intrigued by the book First Nights, Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and Los Angeles Philharmonic Association President Deborah Borda approached professor and historian Thomas Forrest Kelly to bring his critically acclaimed book and popular Harvard class to life in Los Angeles. The new series provides not only an educational element but an appealing new way for the music lover, the history buff, and the curious newcomer to approach classical music.

    The First Nights series is supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

    Actor, producer, and director JOHN DE LANCIE is well-known for his work in television, film, and theater, and on the concert stage. Some of his film and television credits include The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, The Fisher King, The West Wing, Sports Night, Judging Amy, Star Trek, Legend, LA Law, Picket Fences, Civil Wars, The Practice, and Touched by an Angel. He has been a member of the American Shakespeare Festival, the Seattle Repertory Company, the South Coast Repertory, and the Mark Taper Forum. In the world of music,
    de Lancie has performed with many orchestras nationwide, including Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic for whom he has been the host of Toyota Symphonies for Youth for the last five years, helping to develop new programming for young people. To date, he has conceived and directed ten symphony orchestra "events." These 90-minute programs, written and directed by de Lancie, include fully theatricalized productions of Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream (with the Korngold score), The Bourgeois Gentleman, and The Abduction from the Seraglio. Performances of these "events" have taken place at the Ravinia Festival, Pasadena Civic Auditorium, and the Music Center in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Kent State University and the Juilliard School.

    ANTONIO PAPPANO is the youngest conductor ever to hold the position of music director with the Royal Opera Covent Garden, a recent appointment. He previously held that title with both Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels and the Norwegian Opera. Born in London of Italian parents, his work as a pianist and assistant conductor rapidly led to his engagement in theaters throughout the world, where he has established a reputation for his diverse repertoire. Pappano has conducted at San Francisco Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Théâtre du Châtelet, and the Berlin State Opera. On the concert podium, he has led the London Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He was declared "Artist of the Year 2000" by Gramophone magazine, and records regularly for EMI Classics.


    FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2003 at 8 PM

    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles


    ANTONIO PAPPANO, conductor

    JOHN DE LANCIE, writer/director/narrator

    First Nights

    BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 5

    Upbeat Live pre-concert events take place one hour prior to each concert in BP Hall at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and are free to all ticket holders.

    Tickets ($15 - $120) are on sale now online at, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For more information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Elizabeth Hinckley, 213.972.3034; Sabrina Skacan, 213.972.3408