Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

Everybody's All-Canadian

April 11, 2009

Leonard Cohen from Live in London

When it’s not raining ash, shaking, or causing you to sit motionless in your car for hours on end, Los Angeles is pretty much heaven. This is especially true this month, which has been filled with a wealth of incredible musical events in a city where world class music is an everyday thing. We’ve got a first rate Die Walküre on stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion that is quickly separating out the men from the boys. We’ve got mind-blowing performances from Esa-Pekka Salonen and the LA Philharmonic including the debut of his new violin Concerto this weekend. And Friday and Saturday we have a once every other decade visit from Leonard Cohen at the Nokia Theater downtown.

It feels nearly impossible to write in any intelligent way about someone as skillful with words as Cohen, so I don’t think I’ll even try. But let me note that the show was sublime. Cohen at 74 may not have the voice of ..say, Placido Domingo, but he has virtually all the expressiveness of opera’s living legend. The show is so much more than a “greatest hits” evening, though all the songs are all here - Anthem, In My Secret Life, Everybody Knows, Tower of Song, Dance Me to the End of Love, Suzanne, I’m Your Man, Hallelujah, etc. Every turned corner reveals another wonder. And Cohen's lion in winter imbues songs with so many layers of meaning, the show can ofte be a little overwhelming. Sharon Robinson and other long-time collaborators are on hand for a special evening to be sure. Cohen is on tour all over America and Canada this Spring so watch for him. In the meantime, get outside and enjoy the beautiful things.

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