This is not a review of Gustavo Dudamel and LA Phil’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl last Thursday night. Just a few thoughts about my experience:
When the summer season was released, I was skeptical of hearing Verdi’s Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl. When I arrived at the Bowl Thursday evening, I was still skeptical. It’s too powerful a work to work outdoors amongst the clattering of wine bottles and the chattering of police helicopters overhead. Inevitably, I surmised, the people next to me would reach for the pâté just as tenor Vittorio Grigolo reached the most poignant moment of his solo in the Ingemisco. I was wrong. It totally worked…and I wish I could explain why. Because it shouldn’t have.
Last year, at the world premiere of John Adams’ passion-oratorio “The Gospel According to the Other Mary,” I wrote an extensive review. At the time, I said I was “less interested” in seeing how Peter Sellars would stage the work in the future, than I was simply excited to hear the music again. Turns out, I should have been more excited to see Sellars’ staging. It was vivid, yet minimal. It was transparent. And it helped connect the libretto together.
At the premiere a year ago, I wrote the audience retention rate at Walt Disney Concert Hall was about 70%. A year later, the work is a bit shorter (Adams cut some scenes), and Adams bumbed up some of the tempos. At the Barbican Centre Saturday night, the audience retention rate was close to 100%. (One couple near where I was sitting got up at a particularly conspicuous time and clattered out of the hall, never to return.)
Like the best summer tomatoes, Thursday night’s LA Philharmonic concert at the Hollywood Bowl was one to savor. Of the six performances conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at the Bowl this year, this was certainly the musician’s concert of the bunch. No superstar soloists, like Yo-Yo Ma or Plácido Domingo, and a 12-tone piano concerto to boot.
Still, 6,523 brave souls schlepped out to the Bowl on a steamy night (well, steamy by Southern California standards) to hear what they could hear.
The concert was part of Dudamel’s ongoing Americas and Americans festival. Inaugurated in his first season as music director, Americas and Americans focuses on the relationships among composers of the North, Central, and South American continent. I say “continent” singular, because that’s how Dudamel defines this landmass that’s separated only by a man-made trench. “We are one America,” he told me back in that first season. And he’s out to prove that through music. He rarely refers to composers by their nationalities, preferring instead to call them all “American.” Continue reading →
I’m proud to announce this summer’s roster of radio broadcasts of the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Concerts will air in their entirety, Saturday afternoons at 2:00, beginning August 11th on Classical KUSC. Yours truly hosts. Some of the series highlights for me:
-every classical concert conducted by Gustavo Dudamel
-Edgar Meyer’s new Double Concerto for Violin and Bass with Joshua Bell
-performances by Placido Domingo, Yo-Yo Ma, Yefim Bronfman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Gil Shaham, Sarah Chang, Yuja Wang, and more
-for the first time ever, John Williams’ annual Maestro of the Movies concert is part of our broadcast series Continue reading →
LA Phil’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Walt Disney Concert Hall led by Gustavo Dudamel, in collaboration with Frank Gehry, Rodarte and Christoper Alden. Photo by Mathew Imaging.
Even before the overture started at last night’s LA Philharmonic performance of Mozart’sDon Giovanni, it was clear this wasn’t going to be Gustavo Dudamel’s Don Giovanni. The 31-year-old music director seemed quite pleased to be taking a back seat to Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry, who created the sets for the production, and the fashion-house team known as Rodarte, who designed the costumes. Continue reading →