Houston Symphony Lineup to host 'Bond and Beyond: 50 Years of James Bond' in November

edited January 2012 in News Posts: 13,108
The Houston Symphony will welcome Debbie Gravitte, Brian Stokes Mitchell and more for its 2012 holiday season.

According to CultureMap Houston, "to concide with the release of the newest James Bond movie, Skyfall, in November, the orchestra will pay homage to Agent 007 in 'Bond and Beyond: 50 Years of James Bond' with Tony-award chanteuse, Debbie Gravitte."

Gravitte - a Tony Award winner and one of Broadway's biggest personalities - has had a varied career that has taken her from the Broadway Stage to the concert stage and beyond. She won the prestigious Tony Award for Jerome Robbins' Broadway, along with a Drama Desk Award Nomination and New York Showstopper Award. After making her Broadway debut in the original cast of They're Playing Our Song, she went on to appear in: Perfectly Frank (Drama Desk Nomination), Blues in the Night, Ain't Broadway Grand, Zorba, Chicago, and Les Miserables. Debbie has appeared in the Encore's series productions of The Boys From Syracuse, Tenderloin, and Carnival at New York's City Center.



  • Posts: 1,380
    Gravitte is the soprano for the Seattle performance of this concert next month. Maybe there are further cities to be announced, too.
  • Posts: 13,108
    His name is Krajewski. Michael Krajewski.

    OK, maybe that doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Bond. James Bond.”

    But the real-life conductor and the world’s most famous fictional spy have something in common other than elegant tuxedoes — there is also the music of the James Bond movies, the longest-running series in cinema history.

    The Naples Philharmonic Orchestra will present “Bond and Beyond: Celebrating 50 years of 007” Tuesday through Saturday. Krajewski, the principal pops conductor in Houston, Jacksonville and Atlanta, is the guest conductor.

    The Bond and Beyond concert concept came to him recently.

    “It occurred to me that this year, 2012, was the 50th anniversary of the first (Bond) movie that came out,” Krajewski said. “I just thought if I put together a James Bond-themed program I’ll bet a lot of orchestras will enjoy presenting it and audiences will enjoy it. Then I really dug in and watched all the movies and did all the research and got up to my elbows in the music.”

    That music includes the “James Bond Theme,” the signature sound of the series that debuted in 1962 with “Dr. No.” “Skyfall,” the newest entry in the series, is due out this year.

    Songs from Bond movies include some of the most famous movie compositions ever such as “From Russia with Love” and “You Only Live Twice” and “Goldfinger,” originally sung by Shirley Bassey.

    “Her voice and style captured the exoticness and sophistication that is the hallmark of what the James Bond series is all about,” Krajewski said.

    Next week’s concerts will feature songs from sources other than the Bond series such as Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man,” the Inspector Clouseau theme from “The Pink Panther” and more.

    Bond music has been associated with some of the biggest names in music of the past 50 years. Paul McCartney and Wings did the title track for 1973’s “Live and Let Die.”

    Marvin Hamlisch wrote the title song for 1974’s “The Man with the Golden Gun.” It was performed by Carly Simon. Bono and The Edge wrote the “GoldenEye” title song for the 1995 release, sung by Tina Turner.

    The singer at the Phil will be Debbie Gravitte, who won a Tony for “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway.”

    The concert is a treat for Phil musicians such as Kristen Sonneborn, the principal bassoon, who described how her instrument is used in the selections.

    “Well, all of them use bassoon, but you might not hear because I’m a bass clef instrument,” Sonneborn said. “I don’t get the melody. I’m sort of best supporting actress.”

    But she certainly enjoy Bond music and having Krajewski as a guest conductor. She said the music helps the 007 movies.

    “It helps drive the story,” said Sonneborn, whose favorite Bond movie is 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever.” She also’s looking forward to Krajewski leading the orchestra.

    “We always enjoy having Michael Krajewski come,” Sonneborn said. “He’s very entertaining. A dry sense of humor. Usually makes you laugh.”

    Krajewski said orchestras enjoy playing the Bond and other secret agent songs.

    “They really do,” Krajewski said. “This is a program that really shows off an orchestra. It’s all about them. … It’s very challenging for them.”

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