Three wildly diverse shows make for an epic weekend at Sunset Center.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
A graceful trio balances violin, cello and piano melodies in G major. Next a raucous reincarnation of Queen’s Freddie Mercury dons an icy white suit and tears through “We Will Rock You.” Then aluminum-coated robots propel metallic balloons into the audience.
This is no bizarre dream. It’s reality in Monterey County this weekend, as an eclectic collection of performances descend on Sunset Center.
“It just so happened that those particular acts could be in Carmel this weekend,” says Christine Sandine, who was recently named managing director of Sunset (she had previously spearheaded marketing). “It’s really wonderful to have a variety of events.”
First up is the award-winning Amelia Piano Trio featuring violinist Anthea Kreston, cellist Jason Duckles and pianist Rieko Aizawa.
The Amelia formed in 1999 as a way to practice an assortment of works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Dvorak. In 2000, after the Amelia participated in violin maestro Issac Stern’s Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall, Stern approached the trio and became their mentor. Ultimately, he led the group to its own debut at Carnegie; from there, they went on to record two CDs, one featuring a full-length piano trio created by Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer John Harbison.
Presented by Chamber Music Monterey Bay, Amelia Piano Trio will play with Wang Guowei in a program featuring the likes of Debussy, Mozart, Yang Yong and Ravel.
Next up: Queen reclaiming its throne. Before American Idol hit domestic shores, Gary Mullen won the British impersonating talent show Stars in Their Eyes in 2000 with his uncanny ability to nail Freddie Mercury’s sights (that infamous mustache) and sounds (intense vocal range).
But Mullen wanted to raise his Mercury further, so he and his band, The Works, created a two-hour stage show paying tribute to the theatrics and music of Queen. With Davie Brockett on guitar, Billy Moffat on bass, Malcolm Gentle on keyboards and Jonathan Evans on drums, The Works is the only group in existence to earn Queen member Brian May’s approval.
Spectators can expect carbon copies of classics like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Are the Champions,” with the deja vu only amplified by the same bright lighting techniques, format and props – from a half-broken microphone to the American flag.
The last salvo in the sequence is The Aluminum Show, where metal takes on a whole new personality in telling the story of a young machine looking to reunite with its parents as it travels through a futuristic universe. At times, performers are decked in what look like heating ducts – or giant Slinkies – while they jump off trampolines and into the arms of aluminum-coated collaborators. At other times, dancers dangle from the air on an aluminum trapeze, and waves of silver rise up and down as dancers twirl with the foil and Double Dutch in costume against a pounding soundtrack.
THE AMELIA PIANO TRIO ($31-$55) performs at 8pm, Friday, March 12
ONE NIGHT OF QUEEN ($39-$58) performs at 8pm, Saturday, March 13
THE ALUMINUM SHOW ($48-$68) performs at 4pm Sunday, March 14, at Sunset Center, San Carlos Street at Ninth, Carmel-by-the-Sea. 620-2040, www.sunsetcenter.org.