Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

Not, Again

August 17, 2007

Sellars, Saariaho, and Salonen
Photo: E. Mahoudeau
The LA Philharmonic announced today that the American Premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s La Passion de Simone has been delayed, again. The work which premiered in Vienna in 2006 as part of Peter Sellars’ New Crowned Hope Festival was originally scheduled to premiere here in LA in January 2007, but was postponed when the soloist for whom the work was written, Dawn Upshaw, was forced to withdraw for health reasons. The performance was rescheduled for the opening weekend of this year’s LA Philharmonic Season, October 5-7.

Now, according to media reports, the performance has again been canceled and rescheduled in part due to the decision of music director Esa-Pekka Salonen and Peter Sellars that the work needs to be presented “in its fully staged form.” Since not all of the participants can be available for the staging on the previously scheduled dates of what was apparently intended as a concert performance, Simone has again been postponed until 08/09 and in its stead Salonen will conduct a program including Berio, Richard Strauss, and Beethoven’s 7th.

Bummed doesn’t begin to describe my reaction to this news. While I can appreciate the argument, seeing the piece without the staging was actually going to be one of the highlights of the performance. Not that the solo dance accompaniment from Michael Schumacher wasn’t worthwhile, but having seen one of the London performances of the piece this summer, I think there are actually benefits to a concert performance in a work of such intensity and relatively small scale. Not to mention that if Simone has suffered from anything thus far in its history, it has to be that the work hasn’t yet met the right conductor. Salonen has proven to have a special affinity for Saariaho’s work and to have to wait yet again for this performance is undoubtedly a disappointment. However, if me must wait for the stars to align to see Salonen conduct Saariaho's work in LA, I guess we shall.

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?



Opera Reviews '10-'11

Opera Reviews '09-'10

Opera Reviews '06-'09

L.A. Phil Reviews '09/'10

L.A. Phil Reviews '08/'09

L.A. Theater Reviews


Follow Along


Los Angeles

Follow me on Twitter