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Arts & Entertainment

Carmina Burana March 16 & 17

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 4

The Long Beach Chorale, Orange Coast College Chamber Singers, and members of the Southern California Children’s Chorus will join forces to bring Carl Orff’s well-loved and raucous Carmina Burana to life on March 16 and 17.

The concert on Saturday, March 16, will be held at 8 p.m. in the Robert B. Moore Theater on the campus of Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. The concert on Sunday, March 17, will take place at Grace First Presbyterian Church in Long Beach at 4 p.m.

Eliza Rubenstein, Artistic Director of the Long Beach Chorale and Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Orange Coast College, saw a unique opportunity to bring these two of her choruses together in selecting Carmina Burana. Orff’s piece calls for a large number of singers, sometimes splitting into two dueling choirs, which will show off the talents of both the Long Beach Chorale and the Orange Coast College Chamber Singers. “We are delighted to be joined by Lori Loftus and members of the outstanding Southern California Children’s Chorus,” she adds.

The text of the work comes from a medieval manuscript of poems and songs, mostly in Latin and an early form of German. Many are irreverent, satirical and bawdy. When the work premiered in 1937, it was an immediate smash and its popularity has never waned. Orff’s own words to his publisher suggest that he knew he’d written a hit: “Everything I have written to date, and which you have, unfortunately, printed, can be destroyed. With Carmina Burana, my collected works begin.”

The familiar opening and closing movement, O Fortuna!, is frequently used in commercials, TV shows, and movies to herald doom and destruction. Wikipedia lists forty-seven uses of O Fortuna! in popular culture dating back to 1978; these include a Sims game, a Shrek TV Christmas special, and even Wrestlemania entrance music. Those not familiar with the rest of the piece will be pleased to find that the other movements are equally memorable and boisterous.

Longtime Long Beach Chorale audience members will recognize the concerts’ soloists, Jenny Spence and David Stoneman, who performed the Brahms Requiem and Vaughn Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the chorale in recent years. Also joining the choirs are pianists Beth Syverson and Janelle Kim, plus an entire team of percussionists.

For tickets and information, visit