May 31, 2016

Crazy, Passionate Storm

Festival favorite Storm Large returns to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion to perform The Crazy Arc of Love with her band Le Bonheur on Wednesday, June 22.

Accompanied by the Grant Park Orchestra, conducted by Carlos Kalmar, Storm powers her way through a tour-de-force concert exploring the phases of romance from attraction, longing, and infatuation; through love and comfort; to ultimate release and healing. Weaving a repertory of French theatrical chanson, jazz standard, heavy metal, smokehouse lounge, and a handful of originals, Storm will take audiences for a ride with hits like Cole Porter’s sultry “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” Jacques Brel’s haunting “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” and Queen’s rock-ballad “Somebody to Love.”
 
Storm, of course, came to fame as the lead vocalist of the internationally acclaimed classical, jazz, and pop salon orchestra Pink Martini, which drew capacity crowds at the Grant Park Music Festival in 2013. The next year, the phenomenal singer, actor, author, and playwright returned as a solo performer with the Grant Park Orchestra for a sultry, blockbuster performance of Kurt Weill’s one-act opera Seven Deadly Sins, a program the New York Times described as “sensational in a Brecht-Weill experiment of dipping country innocence serially into urban decadence and seeing what comes out.” 

Born in Massachusetts, she honed her skills in clubs up and down the West Coast, her voice taking her “from the crummiest of dumps to the stage of Carnegie Hall.” She landed in Portland in 2002, planning to pursue a career as a chef, but music beckoned her back into its grasp and she returned to the scene. Her Wednesday night performances at Portland nightclub, Dante’s, drew a “cult-like” following, and Storm spent the next decade touring around the country and honing her skills as a theatrical performer at Portland Center Stage.

It was 2010 when she made her debut appearance with the Oregon Symphony, conducted by the Festival’s Artistic Director Carlos Kalmar. She’s returned each year, drawing sold-out performances.

"Carlos was the first conductor I ever worked with, and it was (and continues to be) such a pleasure,” Storm muses about Kalmar. “Like a first love, I will always adore playing with him."

Storm’s unique charms and remarkable voice are quickly creating a space within the performing arts world that has been awaiting such an iconoclastic talent. She explains quite a bit of her wild life in her memoir, Crazy Enough, Oprah's book of the week in 2012. In 2014, Storm released the recording Le Bonheur, a collection of tortured and titillating love songs. Her live show, The Crazy Arc of Love incorporates a number of these beautiful, familiar, and emotionally raw selections.