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Santa Barbara Symphony Thrills with This Season’s Live-to-Film Extravaganza, An American in Paris

Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron charm their way through post-war Paris in this iconic film directed by Vincente Minelli and featuring guest Constantine Kitsopoulos leading the Symphony through a live orchestral performance of George Gershwin’s Oscar-winning sc

(February 21, 2020) Santa Barbara, CA — 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 Kitsopoulous. This engaging and 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.

George Gershwin always felt that 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 phenomenal 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, Constantine Kitsopoulos is a dynamic conductor who has lead orchestras all over the world, from North America to Hong Kong. On Broadway, Maestro Kitsopoulos has been Music Director of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Gershwin’s 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.

This 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. This Live-to-Film screening is possible thanks to the generosity of Sarah and Roger Chrisman. The Chrisman’s 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 special fundraising event at The Red Piano on Thursday, March 19, from 5-8 pm, featuring VIP packages and an elevated experience for sponsors. Keep an eye out for updates about this event, including guest artists, entertainment, and more. For more information, please contact Anais Pellegrini at (805) 880-0107.

Join the Santa Barbara Symphony for this masterful performance combined with the thrill of the big screen at The Granada Theatre. 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.

An American in Paris will take place on March 21 and 22 at the landmark Granada Theatre. For tickets, click here or call the Granada Box Office at (805) 899-2222.

About Constantine Kitsopoulos

Constantine Kitsopoulos has made a name for himself as a conductor whose musical experiences comfortably 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. Above and beyond his symphonic work, Constantine Kitsopoulos maintains a busy opera schedule.  In recent seasons, he has led annual productions at the Indiana University Opera Theater of  Menotti’s Last Savage (2014/2015), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific (2014/2015), Gilbert & Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore(2013/14), Verdi’s Falstaff (2012/13), Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge(2011/2012), Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (2010/11), and Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella.

About An American in Paris

An American in Paris is a 1951 American musical comedy film inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition An American in Paris by George Gershwin. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary, and Nina Foch, the film is set in Paris and was directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner. The music is by George Gershwin, with lyrics by his brother Ira, with additional music by Saul Chaplin, the music director. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won six, including Best Picture, Best Score, Best Set Design, Best Costume Design, Writing, and Cinematography.

The Santa Barbara Symphony looks forward to sharing the upcoming season of thrilling and inspired programming with the community and visitors alike! For more information on the Santa Barbara Symphony, or its programming, visit https://thesymphony.org.

About The Santa Barbara Symphony

The Santa Barbara Symphony, founded in 1953 on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra. Consistently lauded for its unique ability to present brilliant concerts, engage the community, and deliver dynamic music education programs, the organization prizes both innovation and artistic excellence, and is widely recognized as one of the region’s premier cultural institutions. Its award-winning Music Education Center serves more than 10,000 students throughout Santa Barbara County each year. Charismatic Israeli conductor Nir Kabaretti was appointed music director of the Santa Barbara Symphony in 2006.

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