The next couple of weeks will see performances of two works the likes of which have rarely, if ever, been heard behind the Orange Curtain.

On Friday, May 6, the Orange County High School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra and conductor Christopher Russell (winners of ASCAP’s award for adventurous programming) pull out the big, frosty guns of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 7, otherwise known as the “Sinfonia Antarctica,” or, as I like to call it, “La Mer on Ice.” Mr. Russell informs me that he’ll have the pipe organ, that the wind-machine sounds will be recreated electronically, and that he’ll perform the version, seldom ventured, mit Sprecher. Sir John Gielgud and Sir Ralph Richardson famously served as narrators in recordings of the work. While this Orange County performance cannot boast such stellar awesomeness in the person of said narrator, he’ll do in a pinch. (Click here or on the thumbnail photo of the poster above to see who it is!)

Then, on May 18, courtesy of Long Beach Opera, Shostakovich’s satirical operetta on Soviet-era housing shortages and bureaucracy, “Moscow, Cherry Town” (“Moscow, Cheryomushki,” Op. 105), comes to the Irvine Barclay Theatre, fully staged in an English language version. Isabel Milenski, the daughter of the company’s founder and the brilliant mind behind its production of Handel’s “Semele” (set in a “Dallas”-like Texas) a few years ago, directs.