Eden Espinosa

Singer and stage actress Eden Espinosa, best known for her starring performances as Ephalba in the San Francisco, Broadway and Los Angeles productions of the smash hit musical Wicked, is the special guest narrator for the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra’s three performances of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf on Saturday, December 11, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. in Davies Symphony Hall and Sunday, December 12, at 3 p.m. at the Flint Center in Cupertino.

Vocalist James Ingram (“Baby Come to Me,” “How Do You Keep the Music Playing”) replaces Ben Vereen on the San Francisco Symphony’s Colors of Christmas concerts, December 13, 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. at Davies Symphony Hall, due to Vereen’s scheduling conflict.

One of the longest running Ephalbas in Wicked history, Espinosa has performed the lead role to critical acclaim at the Orpheum Theatre, in Los Angeles at the Pantages Theatre, and on Broadway at the Gershwin Theater. Additional Broadway credits include Maureen in Rent at the Nederlander Theatre and the title role in Brooklyn the Musical at the Plymouth Theater. Espinosa is currently working on her debut album.

San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Wattis Foundation Music Director Donato Cabrera leads the Youth Orchestra in these performances of the classic children’s favorite, part of San Francisco Symphony’s 2010 holiday concert season and the Youth Orchestra’s 30th Anniversary season. In addition to Peter and the Wolf, the Orchestra will also perform spirited holiday songs that the whole family will enjoy singing along to; selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker; Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival; and Johann Strauss Sr.’s Radetzky March.

Multi-talented vocalist and songwriter James Ingram’s career was launched in earnest while working with Quincy Jones and Ray Charles. He co-wrote the smash hit “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” for Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, the biggest-selling album of all time. The same year, in 1982, his duet with Patti Austin, “Baby Come to Me,” was a #1 pop hit. His 1983 debut album included the Top 5 R&B and Top 20 pop hit “Yah Mo Be There” with Michael McDonald, and yielded his second of what eventually would be three Grammy awards, 17 Grammy nominations and two Oscar nominations. Ingram’s most recent CD, 2009’s “STAND (In the Light),” is his first inspirational recording.

Highlights of the SFS holiday concert line-up at Davies Symphony Hall also include new San Francisco Symphony Chorus ’Twas the Night Christmas concerts (12/22-24); The Snowman animated children’s film with live orchestral accompaniment (12/18); John Adams conducting San Francisco Symphony performances of his El Niño Nativity oratorio (12/2-4); Liza Minnelli singing standards and favorite holiday chestnuts (12/5); four performances of Handel’s Messiah (12/15-19); and the elegant New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball (12/31).

Peter and the Wolf Concerts with San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra

Saturday, December 11 at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 12 at 3:00 p.m.

Donato Cabrera, conductor

Eden Espinosa, narrator

San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra

Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Avenue

Flint Center, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino


Anderson/A Christmas Festival

Tchaikovsky/Selections from The Nutcracker, Opus 71


Chinese Dance

Dance of the Reed Flutes

Waltz of the Flowers

J. Strauss, Sr./Radetzky March, Opus 228

Prokofiev/Peter and the Wolf, Opus 67

Carol Sing-Along

Jingle Bells

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

TICKETS: Davies Symphony Hall concerts $15-$57; Flint Center concert $15-$48; children 17 and under half-price. Tickets are available at www, by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office, on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco. “Wolf Packs,” which include concert seating and a fun pre-concert party with arts and crafts, are available for the 12/12 Flint Center performance. Call the Volunteer Council for details at (415) 503-5500.


Monday, December 13 at 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 14 at 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, December 15 at 8:00 p.m.

Oleta Adams, vocalist

Peabo Bryson, vocalist

James Ingram, vocalist

Stephanie Mills, vocalist

Herman Jackson, conductor

San Francisco Symphony

First A.M.E. Oakland Mass Choir

Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Avenue


Christmas and holiday favorites and a selection of the artists’ R&B and pop hits.

TICKETS: $15-$85; available at www, by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall Box Office, on Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco.
Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.