Florida Culture for the Holidays by Josh Garrick

by Josh Garrick / Dec 27, 2011 / 0 comments

Florida Culture for the Holidays by Josh Garrick

This week between Christmas and the New Year is the perfect time to pull out those new calendars and start putting in dates for the Cultural Happenings that begin BIG TIME in January.  And January is always chock full of events, because producers KNOW that their audience is made up of the “Snowbirds” who’ve come to Florida for the Winter AND those of us who live here year-round, which is why you have me – your “Culture Buddy” to alert you to the not-to-be-missed tickets!



WinterFest in Daytona Beach
We’ll begin with the Daytona Beach Symphony Society, currently celebrating their 60th season of incredible concerts. In January, DBSS will present Winterfest 2012, which includes a fully-staged opera and two outstanding concerts. They begin with the original “Bad Boy” of opera. Don Giovanni is the story of Don Juan, history’s most famous lover (and seducer). It’s by Mozart, it’s fully staged – in period costumes, and it’s one of the greatest operas ever written. Since Mozart conducted the first performance, audiences have found the roguish romancer so intriguing that they root for him even as his ‘dark side’ takes over. Mozart’s Don Giovanni comes to the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach on January 27 in a full-scale production by the Mozart Festival Opera Company with orchestra, sets, costumes, and singers drawn from Europe’s great opera houses. And to make it even better for all of us, English supertitles are projected above the stage, and a free pre-concert talk will be given by Earnest Murphy, a Grammy Award winning tenor.  Call 386.253.2901 or peabodyauditorium.org


Don Giovanni



WinterFest continues on a lighter note as the Canadian Brass bring their special brand of music and joy to the Peabody Auditorium on Saturday, January 28 at 7 pm. The world’s most famous brass group is made up of five tremendous brass musicians — each a virtuoso in his own right. With over 90 recordings and an extensive world-wide touring schedule, they play everything from Bach to the Blues and provide entertainment the entire family can enjoy.


Canadian Brass



Russia’s St. Petersburg State Orchestra rounds out the Winterfest weekend on Sunday, January 29 with a 3 pm matinee at Peabody Auditorium. The Russians are known for their passion and virtuosity and this orchestra does not disappoint. The Orchestra performs all over the world with concert tours in Europe, China and Japan. Award winning pianist Alexander Pirozhenko joins the orchestra to play Beethoven’s dramatic Piano Concerto #2. “Alexandre Pirojenko has the technical skills to do anything he wants with a piano; better yet, what he wants to do is sensitive, original, and brilliant," wrote The Washington Post after Mr. Pirojenko's debut at the Kennedy Center. The program also includes Wagner’s lushly Romantic Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.


St Petersburg Orchestra



There are 3 ways to buy tickets for the concerts. Visit the Peabody Auditorium Box Office at 600 Auditorium Blvd., Daytona Beach; call Ticketmaster 1-800-745-3000; or order online at dbss.org.





Virtuosity Takes the Stage     
Virtuoso pianist William Wolfram joins the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Brahms’ powerful 1st Piano Concerto on January 14 at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in Orlando. Savaged by critics at its first performance, the Concerto has since joined the ranks of the finest of Classical music creations.  Reflecting Brahms’ decision to combine the piano with the orchestra as ‘equal’ partners, award-winning pianist William Wolfram is the perfect pianist to fulfill the composer’s intent. Call 407.770.0071 or visit orlandophil.org




Orlando Philharmonic



Les Mis’ 25th Birthday
The epic Broadway musical Les Miserables celebrates its 25th anniversary as the most successful musical of all time with a brand new production, including new staging and re-imagined scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo. The New York Times calls the new version “an unquestionably spectacular production from start to finish,” and NY1-TV says “this new production actually exceeds the original. The storytelling is clearer, the perspective grittier and the motivations more honest. ‘Les Miz’ is born again.” Les Mis will inspire audiences from January 17th to the 22nd at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at OrlandoBroadway.com and at the Orlando box office at 100 South Eola Drive, Suite 101. To charge by phone call 1-800-982-2787.


Les Mis


Les Mis


Les Mis



Handpicked by Billy Joel
The “New Voice of the American Rock & Roll Songbook,” Michael Cavanaugh was handpicked by Billy Joel to star in his Broadway musical Movin’ Out. Evoking a voice and talent to rival the ‘Piano Man’ himself, Cavanaugh will be joined on-stage by the entire Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at the Bob Carr PAC on Saturday, January 28 at 2 pm and 8 pm. Call 407.770.0071 or visit orlandophil.org


Michael Cavanaugh



Valentine’s Day with Andrea Bocelli
And if you had trouble finding the perfect Holiday gift for your sweetheart, then I’ve got the PERFECT gift for Valentine’s Day.  We need a word bigger than “Superstar” for the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who will make a very special Valentine’s Day Weekend appearance at the Amway Center for an evening of romance on Sunday, February 12. The performance will highlight Bocelli's lushly romantic repertoire of classical arias along with the world’s most famous love songs. This is Bocelli’s first-ever performance in Orlando. Bocelli (“the Voice”) has sold more than 65 million albums worldwide and continually receives rave reviews throughout his sold-out U.S. tours.  This tenor SELLS OUT, so I’m alerting you to his performance early.  You can buy tickets at amwaycenter.com, Amway Center box office, Ticketmaster retail locations, charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000 or at Ticketmaster.com.


Andrea Bocelli




Josh Garrick is the Florida Arts Editor for Wandering Educators