The Michigan Pops Orchestra never fails to be entertaining with its program and exception with its music. This semester, we entered the Pops Kingdom and were greeted by many crown jewels of the classical music scene as Music Director Rotem Weinberg and Assistant Music Director Tal Benatar walked out dressed like kings and directed some royally magnificent songs.
The orchestra started with the “Overture to Nabucco,” followed by songs from Enchanted accompanied by a wonderfully-produced adventure video. There was some friendly banter where the person who claimed that he could play the violin with both hands tied behind his back was dubbed the “Lyin’ King,” which was a perfect segue into the Lion King Medley. Other selections from movies also featured some stunning soloists, including Mikaela Secada in “Almost There” from Princess and the Frog, Lorna Courtney in “Just Around the Riverbend” from Pocahontas. More quintessential royal pieces included Swan Lake, “Emperor Waltz,” and “The Prince of Egypt,” and we also explored the video game world with the “Kingdom Hearts Overture” that continued the journey of Enchanted. Finally, we ended with an out-of-this-world performance of the Star Wars Suite before wrapping up with the traditional “Hail to the Victors” encore.
The interactive piece of the program was a game called Name That Royal. We started off easy, with Queen Elizabeth, and then the responses became more clever, such as King Kong, Burger King, and Princess Fiona, so props to Pops for being just as witty as always. The music, though it seemed to fall apart a bit towards the end of the program, was enchanting and beautiful, parking during the “Kingdom Hearts Overture” and “The Prince of Egypt.” The Pops Orchestra took us on a magical journey, and the music they delivered was certainly worthy of a king.