If it’s summer in The City, then it’s time for “Summer & the Symphony” at Davies Hall. This year’s seasonal celebration of popular music in a classical setting visits familiar genres and welcomes some shining summer stars.
Things get seriously animated this week with four performances of “Pixar in Concert” featuring the San Francisco Symphony’s rendering of tracks from the scores of popular Pixar flicks synchronously played to projected scenes from the films. Insider tidbits will be shared by rotating hosts: directors Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”) and Brad Bird (“Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles”), plus chief creative officer John Lassiter. Sarah Hicks conducts. [7:30 p.m. today-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday] “Grease” is the word when Didi Conn (“Beauty School Dropout” Frenchy in the mega-hit 1978 film version) hosts a sing-along screening live from the Davies stage. Rev up some “Greased Lightnin’” and channel your inner Pink Lady or T-Bird! [7:30 p.m. Sunday]
There’s more 1970s pop, but with a Swedish accent, when Arrival presents “The Music of ABBA.” It’s all the glitz and glam you’d expect; and the real legend-making, chart-breaking group gave the tribute band its official seal of approval. Note: The symphony doesn’t appear on the program. [7:30 p.m. Tuesday]
Broadway goes to the movies with stage, TV and film star Cheyenne Jackson (Tony in the symphony’s recent concert and CD of “West Side Story”) who returns to croon a concert of classic films tunes from “Casablanca,” “Goldfinger,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and more.
Jackson is joined by guest artists Tony Award winner Faith Prince (“Guys and Dolls” on Broadway and “Billy Elliott” in San Francisco) and glamorous Australian drag entertainer Courtney Act (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”). Other highlights include a selection of movie musical overtures played by the symphony under the baton of Edward Outwater. [7:30 p.m July 24-25]
The Broadway beat cedes to guitars and rock as singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge takes the stage for two nights with hits like “Come to my Window” and “I’m the Only One” plus tracks from her latest studio album. Conductor Sean O’Loughlin leads the symphony sets. [7:30 p.m. July 30-31]
Rounding out the series, Outwater conducts symphony programs outside Davies Hall: an evening of Tchaikovsky at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall in Rohnert Park at 8 p.m. July 26 and a free concert of classical favorites featuring violinist Benjamin Beilman in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza at 2 p.m. July 27.
The final offering is “The Beethoven Revolution” which features the Gryphon Trio in its debut with the symphony. The concert is free to children under 18 and includes a post-performance conversation with the artists. [7:30 p.m. Aug. 1]
IF YOU GO
Summer & the Symphony
Presented by San Francisco
Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: Today through Aug. 1
Tickets: $20 to $110