VIDEO: "What's Opera, Doc?"
The Waltham-based classical music radio station WCRB will host its annual Classical Cartoon Festival this coming Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm at Symphony Hall. The fundraising event, which benefits the Massachusetts Brain Injury Association, celebrates the particular blend of pop-culture and high-culture value that only classic Warner Bros. cartoons offer.
This marks the tenth year that WCRB has held the festival, and it attracts about 4,000 people each year. The event was originally conceived as a way to foster children’s interest in classical music at the same time as reaching out to a more all-ages audience. “I thought it would be a great idea,” says WCRB sales manager David Schultz, noting that most children get their first exposure to classical music through classically-scored cartoons like those produced by Warner Bros. “It’s an opportunity to bring classical music to children.”
To mark the festival’s ten-year anniversary, WCRB will be hosting its most extensive array of activities to date. “Without a doubt, it is far bigger in terms of what we are doing this year,” says Schultz. In addition to live performances by the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Young People’s String Orchestra and the Handel & Haydn Youth Chorus, the Wheelock Family Theatre will be performing scenes from Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. There will also be prizes, games, and activities, including face-painting, storytelling, Dance-Dance-Revolution, a Bonne Bell manicure station, and an “instrument petting zoo,” where children will have the opportunity to experiment with different musical instruments. The festival will also feature an assortment of artists, cartoonists, and caricaturists.
Though the festival spotlights the talents of many local performers and artists, the highlight of the day is, of course, the cartoons. While two of Symphony Hall’s smaller rooms will accommodate activities, games, and less substantial musical performances, the main performance hall will serve as a movie theater where classic Warner Bros. and MGM cartoons will be screening on a continuous basis throughout the day, including cartoon classics from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series, such as “What’s Opera, Doc?,” a parody of the operas of classical composer Richard Wagner, and “The Rabbit of Seville,” a spoof of Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. “Primarily Warner Bros. cartoons will be playing on the big-screen, but classic Tom and Jerry cartoons, such as ‘Cat Concerto’ will be shown as well,” Shcultz explains.
In addition to marking the tenth anniversary of the fundraising event, this year coincides with the 60th anniversary of the radio station, which began broadcasting in January 1948. “We’re sixty this year,” notes Schultz. “There aren’t many radio stations that have been around that long.”
WCRB’s tenth annual Classical Cartoon Festival takes place Saturday, April 5, from 10 am to 4 pm at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave, Boston. Admission to the event is $10. All net proceeds will benefit the Massachusetts Brain Injury Association. For tickets, call the Symphony Hall Box Office at 888-266-1200, or purchase online atwww.bso.org. Visit WCRB’s official website atwww.wcrb.com to learn more.