The Santa Barbara Symphony presents a musical love letter to the City of Lights featuring a screening of Academy Award-winning film “An American in Paris” with live accompaniment from the Santa Barbara Symphony under the baton of guest conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos.
“An American in Paris” will take place March 21-22 at the Granada Theatre. The light-hearted Hollywood classic stars Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron as they dance their way through post-war Paris to the tunes of George Gershwin.
The live-to-film event will feature a screening of “An American in Paris” while Gershwin’s Oscar-winning score is performed live in-sync by the Santa Barbara Symphony.
Gershwin always felt “An American in Paris” was more like a sonata than a series of episodic melodies. Inspired by his time in Paris, Gershwin aimed to evoke the sights and energy of the city during the 1920s.
The 1951 film combined these Parisienne melodies with technicolor visuals, along with the talents of Kelly and Caron, to create a film masterpiece hailed for Gershwin’s evocative, immersive score.
The film received eight Academy Award nominations and earned six golden statuettes, including Oscars for Best Film and Best Score, as well as Writing, Cinematography, Set Design, and Costume Design.
Easily at home working in genres as diverse as opera, musical theater, and film, Kitsopoulos has led orchestras all over the world, from North America to Hong Kong.
On Broadway, he has been music director of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella;” the Gershwin “Porgy and Bess” (cast album on PS Classics); “A Catered Affair” (cast album on PS Classics); Coram Boy, Baz Luhrmann’s Production of Puccini’s “La Bohème” (cast album on DreamWorks Records); “Swan Lake;” and “Les Misérables.”
The upcoming live-to-film screening is possible thanks to the generosity of Sarah and Roger Chrisman. The Chrismans were instrumental in the design, implementation, and funding of the Granada’s 4K digital video system, which is the highest quality technology available between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Granada is one of the few theaters in the world able to achieve this level of musical/cinematic synchronization.
Before the screening, the symphony will host a fundraising event, 5-8 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at The Red Piano, featuring VIP packages and an elevated experience for sponsors. For more information, contact Anais Pellegrini, 805-880-0107.
Special acknowledgment goes to Principal Sponsors, Dave and Chris Chernof; Artist Sponsors Patricia Gregory for the Baker Foundation and Nancy and Fred Golden; Selection Sponsors Chris Lancashire and Catherine Gee; and Corporate Sponsor Impulse.
Kitsopoulos has made a name for himself as a conductor whose musical experiences span the worlds of opera and symphony. He has conducted in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Royal Albert Hall, and musical theater, where he can be found leading orchestras on Broadway.
Highlights of recent seasons include appearances with the New York Philharmonic; the Baltimore, Colorado, Detroit, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Toledo, San Antonio and San Francisco symphony orchestras; and the Calgary Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra and the New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall.
Kitsopoulos also maintains a busy opera schedule. In recent seasons, he has led annual productions at the Indiana University Opera Theater of Menotti’s “Last Savage,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” Gilbert & Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore,” Verdi’s “Falstaff,” and Bolcom’s “A View from the Bridge.”