David Itkin has this peculiar habit of treating the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s holiday program like a perfectly wrapped gift. The contents are not to be revealed until that precise moment of gift exchange. No peeking. No shaking. No hints. Not even a night-of-show concert brochure to reveal what’s in store for the audience.
- A Holiday Pops Celebration!
- December 17, 2 & 8 p.m., $38-$78
- UNLV’s Ham Hall, 895-2787, lvphil.com
Given the talent, however, this Saturday’s program should be no random grab bag. Joining the Philharmonic are the Las Vegas Master Singers, Kristen Hertzenberg, star of Phantom—The Las Vegas Spectacular and Travis Cloer, star of Jersey Boys.
As for the music, this is the most we could wring out of the director and conductor: about 20 Christmas and Hanukkah works, including a Samuel Adler arrangement, classical and contemporary music, an R&B piece and a couple of numbers with a solo vocalist and Itkin at the piano. “O Holy Night’’ will make its usual appearance and Itkin is throwing in Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” this year.
The rest is under lock and key.
Why the secrecy? Itkin sees the holiday program, which is part of the orchestra’s Pops series, as a variety show. “I just want people to sit down and take it as it comes,” he says.
So best to just gussy up the family and settle in—perhaps a scorecard of guesses in hand and bets to settle afterward.