Is "Fantasia" sheer genius or total kitsch? Critics will always be deliberating on that one, but it is true that since its premiere in 1940, Walt Disney's animated feature, meant to introduce mass audiences to that scary thing called Classical Music, has become a classic itself. Some among us will never hear Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" without seeing Mickey Mouse, or Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" without seeing dancing Chinese mushrooms (or whatever they were). The original "Fantasia" had a soundtrack from Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, no less. This weekend, Jeff Tyzik and the RPO Pops offer live accompaniment to video highlights from "Fantasia" and Disney's millennial sequel, "Fantasia 2000". Besides Mickey, the concert also features such marquee names as Beethoven, Debussy, Stravinsky, and (in a nifty animated version of "Rhapsody in Blue"), Gershwin.
The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performs Disney's "Fantasia" Friday, November 1 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, November 2 at 8 p.m. at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, $10-$92, rpo.org.