Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

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August 30, 2008

The LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl
Photo : mine 2008

You’d think it was February or March here in Los Angeles this week the way scheduled performers have been dropping like flies at the Hollywood Bowl. Guest conductor Edo de Waart called in sick not only on Tuesday, but on Thursday as well. Thursday’s performance with the L.A. Philharmonic, which I attended, was doubly plagued by the cancellation of scheduled soloist Julian Rachin. I suppose it is a testament to the strength of the organization that they were able to pull off the same program anyway on relatively short notice with two replacements without compromising their usual high standards.

De Waart’s cover was local favorite and former L.A. Philharmonic assistant conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya. He’s currently music director with the Fort Worth Symphony and he makes frequent return appearances here on the West coast much to everyone’s pleasure. The program was Russian, featuring an Shostakovich overture, Prokofiev’s second violin concerto, and Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony. Nothing shocking, but these were bonus tickets with my subscription and what’s not to like about Prokofiev. The soloist fill-in was Augustin Hadelich, a young fresh face who's popping up here and there these days. He wasn’t bad. For a younger artist he was blissfully free of histrionic mannerisms, but by the same token his performance lacked a certain edge to it – pleasant enough within the standard professional limits.

Harth-Bedoya has plenty of experience at the lackluster Bowl and he seems to have figured out how to keep the orchestra in the mix without fading into the background. The orchestra sounded big and forceful when they should and even the mildly irritating amplification didn’t seem to take much away from the Tchaikovsky. In my book that is an accomplishment given the locale.


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