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Elvis Costello Gets Classical

Rocker/composer to play with a symphony orchestra near you

January 3, 2006 12:00 AM ET

Elvis Costello and longtime keyboardist Steve Nieve are set to team up with various symphonies across the U.S., beginning with the San Francisco Symphony on March 27th, for a string of dates.

The tour will feature two sets: the first dedicated solely to the music of Il Sogno, an interpretation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream originally commissioned by the Italian ballet company Aterballetto in 2004, and the second to Costello's pop and rock classics. Costello and Nieve will collaborate with the Houston Symphony, the Boston Pops and the Brooklyn Philharmonic, among others, and the tour's opening night will benefit the San Francisco Symphony musicians' pension fund.

In addition, Elvis Costello is set to release My Flame Burns Blue, a live CD featuring the fifty-two-piece Dutch jazz orchestra Metropole Orkest in concert at the Hague, the Netherlands, on February 28th. The set features new compositions; re-imagined Costello favorites, such as "Clubland" and "Watching the Detectives"; and "Hora Decubitus," a Charles Mingus song the late jazz great's widow invited Costello to add lyrics to. And for fans who would like a preview of the work before he takes it on the road, the set will also include a forty-five-minute suite from Il Sogno.

"This record may explain what I've been doing during the last twelve years when I haven't had a guitar in my hands," Costello says of My Flame Burns Blue.

Following his tour with local symphony orchestras, Costello will debut the opera The Secret Arias in Copenhagen, Denmark. The work is based on songs the renowned Danish fairy-tale writer Hans Christian Andersen wrote for Swedish soprano Jenny Lind, who did not return his love.

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

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