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The Crowd: Bond brings out the music lovers

June 23, 2011|By B.W. Cook
  • DIVA: British vocalist Mary Carewe at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall singing with The Pacific Symphony Orchestra.
DIVA: British vocalist Mary Carewe at the Renée… (Daily Pilot )

The Pacific Symphony's pops series producers billed the evening, "The Music of Bond. James Bond."

Led by celebrated guest conductor Carl Davis, the symphony performed theme songs from the movies based on the thrillers Ian Fleming penned as part of a three-night set of concerts themed around Agent 007.

The performances opened June 16 and closed June 18 in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa.

The audience was taken on a musical journey, revisiting the theme music of 23 Bond films produced for a worldwide audience over a nearly 50-year span. Davis conducted the Pacific Symphony with great flourish, interjecting anecdotes and sharing with the full house in the concert hall the backstories associated with the leading men who have played the title role, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig.

"Ian Fleming wanted David Niven to play the James Bond role," Davis said, "Instead, they cast a bodybuilder-Scotsman from the chorus line of London's West End theatrical district."

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For the record, Niven did play the part of Bond on the silver screen in the 1967 version of "Casino Royale," which was a spoof on the 007 films.

Davis emphasized the ironies of life and opportunity in the movie business. While the orchestra played, giant video screens projected still images from the various Bond films, enhancing the theatrical experience of the evening.

The talented Mary Carewe, a diminutive female singer with the vocal range and power of a woman twice her size, joined Davis and the symphony, alternating performance between symphonic and vocal presentations. She brought to life the memories of such films as "Diamonds Are Forever," "Live and Let Die," "Thunderball," and Davis' personal favorite, "A View To a Kill," with theme music written and performed by Duran Duran.

The consummate Davis — with credits that include everything from classical composition and performance to Broadway, film, television and the scoring of compositions for the world's most prestigious theatrical companies like the Royal Shakespeare Co., the National Theatre of England, the New York City Opera, and so many more — commented that his experience in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall was exemplary.

"I have admired the work of acoustician Russell Johnson, and I find this hall to be an exquisite studio," he said. "Absolutely thrilling. I would love to come back to do a classical concert here."

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