Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

In The Wings - November '10

November 04, 2010

From Ralph Lemon's upcoming appearance at REDCAT Photo: Ralph Lemon

November is shaping up to be the most exciting month of the fall performing arts season here in Los Angeles. In fact the last two weeks of the month have the potential to be some of the best of the whole year. Of course you should never count your chickens before they hatch, but this is definitely a good Thanksgiving weekend to stay around town. Let’s start off with the much anticipated return of Esa-Pekka Salonen for two weeks of performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Many are hoping that Salonen can recapture the magic which has sorely been missing from the L.A. Phil since his departure in the spring of 2009. (The debate over the many shortcomings of Salonen’s replacement, Gustavo Dudamel, rages elsewhere on Tim Mangan’s blog these days.) Salonen’s first program on the 19th will include the U.S. Premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Graffiti and a concert performance of Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle with Anne Sofie von Otter and Willard White. The next weekend on the 26th will include selections from Wagner as well as Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Wagner. The guest vocalist for that evening will be Bryn Terfel who will also give a solo recital at Walt Disney Concert Hall on the 22nd. The L.A. Phil will also collaborate with two notable visiting conductors: Pablo Heras-Casado in a Stravinsky and Takemitsu program on the 5th and Susanna Mälkki with the music of Turnage and Strauss over the weekend of the 12th. The WDCH will also host an evening of music from George Crumb as part of the Green Umbrella new music series on the 16th and the Venice Baroque Orchestra playing Vivaldi and Glass on the 5th.

A scene from L.A. Opera's upcoming Rigoletto Photo: Terrence McCarthy/SF Opera

The other major event this month besides the return of Salonen is the opening of the most anticipated production of the year’s LA Opera season as a brand new Lohengrin rides its swan into the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on the 20th. James Conlon will conduct Lydia Steier’s production with a cast including Ben Heppner, Solie Isokoski, and Dolora Zajick in her role debut as Ortrud. One week later, Verdi’s Rigoletto opens in a cast led by George Gagnidze. The other major opera events for my November will occur in San Francisco where I’ll at long last get to see Placido Domingo sing Cyrano de Bergerac and the unparalleled Karita Mattila star in Janacek’s The Makropulos Case over the weekend of the 12th.

There’s other great music on tap around town as well. Monday Evening Concerts will kick of its new season on the 15th with an appearance by Russian piano legend Alexei Lubimov in recital. And for contrast the always exemplary Los Angeles Master Chorale will offer up a cappella French works on the 7th. Vicki Ray will play Feldman for Piano Spheres on the 30th and the hottest baritone around, Paulo Szot, finally makes his scheduled appearances at the Broad Stage on the 27th and 28th.

Alexei Lubimov

There’s no shortage of interesting theater and dance as well. Leading the way in this category is the REDCAT downtown which welcomes Ralph Lemons/Cross Performance starting on the 10th with How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?. Dutch theater rebels Wunderbaum will also make a return appearance there starting on the 17th with Venlo. More conventionally, Randy Newman’s new musical Harps and Angels will open at the Mark Taper forum on the 10th and the first stop outside of New York for the musical Next to Normal will happen at the Ahmanson with Tony –winner Alice Ripley on the 23rd. Also on my November theater agenda are Gina Gionffrido’s Becky Shaw at South Coast Repertory, McCraney’s Marcus, or The Secret of Sweet at A.C.T. San Francisco, and last but not least an afternoon of Kabuki sponsored by the Japanese America Community and Cultural Center on the 6th in downtown L.A. There’s likely to be some very good stuff here, so don’t let November pass you by.



I have to admit that I really enjoyed George Gagnidze as Scarpia at the Met. Does that make me a bad person?

And Karita Mattila is just insane, I love her.

This post makes me sad that I have no money.
Couldn't afford to go to both EPS concerts, and had a tough time choosing between the Linburg/Bartok and the Hindemith/Wagner. My wife has a crush on Bryn Terfel, so despite my relative ambivalence towards Wagner, we're going to week two. . . .

As I've said a couple of times here and on Tim's blog, I miss Esa-Pekka as much as you do, but I happen to like Dudamel much more than you. I've also gone on the record of not being a Brahms fan, and when you put that all together, I was approaching the upcoming "Brahms Unbound" series with cautious optimism.

So, the news from Robert Thomas's blog that Gorecki's 4th Symphony will not be ready in time and will be replaced by (ugh) the Brahms Double Concerto is EXTREMELY disappointing.

For goodness sakes, really??!!!

The last time EPS had to delay a commissioned work (Sellar's restaging of Kaija Saariaho's "La Passion de Simone), he replaced it with a couple of quite interesting pieces:
- the Berio orchestration of Bach's Contrapunctus XIX from "Art of the Fugue"
- Richard Strauss's "Metamorphosen"
Traditional composers, non-traditional pieces

This time, we get . . . blah. The concert is 6 months away, you figured they could have come up with something that at least fit the concept of pairing a Brahms piece with something contemporary -- couldn't they have at least tried to find something, anything from the 20th Century, let alone the 21st?

Oh well . . . since many people out there love an all-Brahms program, at least the resale value of my tickets for that concert may go up.
With news that the LA Phil will broadcast the Brahms 4th programs via HD feed to movie theatres, I have to wonder how much the decision to go with the Double Concerto instead of something modern was influenced with ensuring maximum box office attendance for these events.

It is disappointing to only have the first program (Adams/Bernstein/Beethoven) include any 20th Century music, let alone something within the past 10 years or so. Can't imagine that Salonen's LA Phil would be represented to the broader public that way. Alas, it isn't Salonen's LA Phil anymore . . .
Well, I couldn't agree with you more on these points. In fact, today's post covers much of the same material...in my own snarky manner of course.
Post a Comment

<< Home

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