Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Mahler and more

October 01, 2006

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the L.A. Philharmonic. Photo: Lawrence K. Ho/LAT 2006

What a weekend. Cherry Jones in Doubt, nine hours of The Peony Pavilion (which I'll write more on later), and Mahler's 3rd with the LA Philharmonic at Disney Concert Hall. It doesn't get too much better than this in terms of great shows in a really short time frame.

Esa-Pekka Salonen opened up the 4th season at the WDCH with Mahler featuring Michelle DeYoung as soloist. This is familiar territory for Salonen and the LA Phil who recorded the piece in 1997 and performed it as recently as 2003 in their closing performances in their old home at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

It was my first trip to WDCH this season and as usual I was filled with excitement to again get to hear this great orchestra in this still startling building. The LA Phil played beautifully. It wasn't their greatest moment ever and it wasn't the best thing I've ever heard but it was very, very good. Although I like DeYoung a great deal, it was hard not to think of Ms. Hunt Lieberson, who was originally scheduled for this performance. It filled everything with a bit of melancholy. Despite this, though, the thrill was still there: Salonen and one of the world's great orchestras back at home, and for about two hours everyone there got to think that maybe the world isn't such a bad place after all.


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