Don’t Worry, Be Ready
“Listening to Bobby McFerrin sing may be hazardous to your preconceptions,” his website warns. “Side effects may include unparalleled joy, a new perspective on creativity, rejection of the predictable, and a sudden, irreversible urge to lead a more spontaneous existence.”
Some of that unparalleled joy and those irreversible urges will surely emanate from Old Town Square throughout the entire city when the legendary singer/conductor/indescribable Bobby McFerrin (Don’t Worry, Be Happy) performs June 21 at 8:30 pm with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s a free, open-air concert.
So far, the program includes familiar names and faces: Compositions by Dvořák, Smetana, Bernstein. Josef Špaček on violin, Ludmila Peterková on clarinet, and Jan Keller, cello; Jiří Bělohlávek, conducting.
Beyond that, anything could happen. Mr McFerrin is a master of improvisation, and occasionally that includes jumping off a stage, mic in hand, to harmonize with the audience.
Traditional Concerts June 19, 20
Mr McFerrin, winner of 10 Grammy awards (so far), will bring his “Solo A Cappella and spirityouall” program to a slightly more traditional concert venue with the Czech Philharmonic at The Rudolfinum June 19. Spirityouall, also the title of his new album, features a McFerrin mix of traditional American music – folk, blues, rock, and spirituals.
The next evening, June 20, “Bobby Meets the Czech Philharmonic” might give the musician a platform for exhibiting his conducting experience along with his famous vocal style. He was creative chair of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (1994-1998), and his 40th-birthday gift was conducting the San Francisco Symphony. He’s worked with a long list of world-famous classical musicians and orchestras ever since.
So, given the rain, wind, and cold in Prague so far this spring, audiences may be well advised to hedge their bets and choose the Rudolfinum concerts first before banking on the weather at the open-air concert the final night.
It was the Orchestra’s Idea
Hana Boldišová, the Philharmonic’s public relations director, tells Opus Osm, “The [free, open-air] idea came directly from the orchestra members. We feel that that’s very important, because it makes the musicians even more enthusiastic and excited about the whole project.”
She says the logistics – crowds, chairs, tickets, weather – are being handled by an experienced production agency which is helping organize the event. Keeping things simple, “There are no tickets for this concert, and for now there is no possibility to reserve a seat,” she explains.
Obviously, you can improve your chance for a better view by arriving at Old Town Square early. But as for controlling the weather?
“If it rains,” Mrs Boldišová says, “the brave crowd can sing Don’t Worry, Be Happy along with Bobby McFerrin!” — oo
– Mary Matz
Photo Credits: Bobby McFerrin website