Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

Recordings of the week

June 10, 2007

Initially, I was going to go in a completely different direction with this week's choices, but after hearing yesterday's performance from Aimard at the Ojai Festival, I had to revisit his 2004 recording of the Ives' "Concord" Sonata. Brilliantly paired with Susan Graham's performance of a number of Ives' songs, Aimard makes the strongest case yet for this work as the masterpiece it is. If there is anyone who is playing this work these days who does it better that Aimard, I don't know who it is. One of my favorite recordings from everyone involved.

As for the latest recording from Rufus Wainwright, Release the Stars, if nothing else, it certainly demands attention. I am one of those who does believe the junior Mr. Wainwright can be prone to self-indulgence at times. But on the other hand as a gay man it is admittedly hard to resist this combination of political and personal disaffection mixed with an unspoken secret desire to be Karl Lagerfeld. So go figure. His opera commission from the Met may or may not turn out to be a disaster, but you've got to love someone whose opera conversion happened around Don Carlo.

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