The La Crosse Symphony Orchestra is staging a special concert Saturday featuring the London production of the original and ultimate James Bond show with soprano Mary Carewe.
And the timing could not be better, with the release of the latest Bond movie, "Spectre," in theaters. The La Crosse orchestra will play arrangements of John Barry, Bill Conti, Marvin Hamlisch, Bono and others, all orchestrated by Nic Raine.
"The Bond scores really are pops scores at their finest," said Alexander Platt, conductor and music director of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. "In John Barry, who wrote the majority of them, you truly had a master of film music, who fused both the symphonic style of the earlier 20th century with the pop vibe of the 1960s.
"The music is very much of that Cold War era, in ways both serious and fun," he said.
Carewe, one of the most accomplished concert performers in the United Kingdom, has presented the show with the London Symphony Orchestra and other orchestras.
George and Connie Smith of La Crosse have generously sponsored the concert, Platt said.
"This concert came together as some wonderful longtime supporters of ours, George and Connie Smith, told me of their love for these great 007 scores, and as the music in question really is fantastic, I was happy to make it happen out of gratitude for all they've done for us, Platt said.
He said the audience will hear hit after hit including "Dr. No.," "Goldfinger," You Only Live Twice," "For Your Eyes Only," "Live and Let Die," "Diamonds Are Forever," "Nobody Does It Better" and "Skyfall."
"What I like is that the music definitely has that rhythm, that beat of high-class pop music of the 60s and 70s, but with these truly symphonic gestures," Platt said. "It's kinda like Burt Bachrach meets that post-Romantic symphonic world of Rachmaninov and Richard Strauss."
He said the orchestra will play the best arrangements for the concert.
"We have the best, and in this case that means London, where this music originated and where they truly know how it's done," he said.
The musicians and the audience will love Carewe. "She's a top London soprano who goes all over Europe singing these scores, and the top-drawer Nic Raine orchestrations, which Mary brings with her," Platt said.
Platt said everyone has a favorite song from a James Bond movie. What is Platt's?
"That's easy: "Diamonds Are Forever" — what a tune — and the original James Bond theme from "Dr.No" — the very definition of a classic," he said.