Ah, May. It’s not quite summer and the performing arts seasons that started all the way back in September and October are hopefully going out in a blaze of glory instead of grinding to a halt. So you can take your pick with this month’s best bets. The one event that I would not miss above all else is the three day, four concert mini-festival of the music of Sofia Gubaidulina at CalArts’ REDCAT space downtown
. The many great musicians among CalArts faculty and friends will perform two shows on Sunday the 15th including a matinee of music written for children and an evening show focused on percussive-sound works. The 16th and 17th will cover a number of chamber concerto works. And to top it off, the 80-year old Gubaidulina is scheduled to travel to L.A. for the festival. It’s a visit as significant as Boulez’ was last March
, and while I sincerely hope it is not the case, this might be your last chance to see one of the great names in late 20th-century music in the flesh.
Gubaidulina will also make an appearance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic during its season concluding Brahms festival, “Brahms Unbound”
with a new commission, Glorious Percusion on May 19
. What exactly needs to be “unbound” about Brahms is unclear, but Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Phil are planning to make to most of several shows pairing Brahms’ symphonies and other major works with more contemporary compositions. The festival is already off to a rocky start following the loss of two major commission premieres in the schedule. (Golijov’s violin concerto, which isn’t done, and Peter Lieberson's percussion concerto which was left unfinished with the composer's untimely death
.) But the shows will kick off in any event on the 5th with Brahms’ Symphony No. 1
paired with a Dutilleux Violin Concerto to be followed on the weekend of the 12th with A German Requiem
with soloists Matthias Goerne and Christine Schäfer paired with Stephen Mackey’s new Beautiful Passing
for violin and orchestra. After the Gubaidulina weekend, Brahms’ Symphony No.3 will show up on the 26th
with Górecki’s Third Symphony and the festival will complete the following weekend on June 2 with Brahms and more Brahms
, which is the show the L.A. Phil has chosen to conclude its theater broadcast L.A. Phil Live
series for the season.
And while these Brahms programs may run the risk of suffering under Dudamel’s typically laborious conducting, there are a couple evenings sponsored by the L.A. Phil this month that may be better bets. Jordi Savall will return on the 10th with his Hesperiòn XXI
troupe for an evening of Mexican Baroque music, and John Adams will be back in town on the 24th
for a season-ending Green Umbrella program including new works from young composers including Missy Mazzoli and Gabriel Kahane. And in case you missed it
, you should go to the WDCH this weekend to see David Afkham lead the L.A. Phil
as a last minute replacement in a Beethoven and Prokofiev program. But just before that, if you can squeeze it in, Ian Bostridge and Les Violons du Roy will appear in a Handel program TODAY
down in Orange County as the close of the Philharmonic Society’s season at the Segerstrom Concert Hall.
June Omura and Bradon McDonald from Mark Morris Dance Group Photo: Nan Melville.
On the opera and dance front there a few big shows of note. The Mark Morris Dance Group will return to L.A. and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion starting on the 5th with their well respected version of Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato
, which is being co-sponsored by Dance at the Music Center and Los Angeles Opera. The L.A. Opera Orchestra and Chorus will be conducted by Grant Gershon with soloists Hei-Kyung Hong, Sarah Coburn, Barry Banks, and John Relyea. Meanwhile in Long Beach, Long Beach Opera will present Shostakovich’s operetta Moscow, Cherry Town
on the 15th, 18th, and 22nd. Lucinda Childs and her company will also be in town over the weekend of the 5th on a national tour revisiting her landmark collaboration with Philip Glass, Dance at UCLA’s Royce Hall
. Of course, I can’t resist jetting off quickly to the Metropolitan Opera in New York before the season closes on May 14 for performances of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos
, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice
, and the much anticipated Robert Lepage staging of Wagner’s Die Walküre
Will there be any breaks in all this music? Why, yes. For me those will include Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities of a Nightingale at A Noise Within
on the 7th, Justin Tanner’s Voice Lessons returns to L.A. at Sacred Fools Theater on the 6th
with Laurie Metcalf and French Stewart, and the return of Roger Guenveur Smith to the Kirk Douglas Theater starting on the 17th in his latest solo work, Juan and John
. I’ll also be off to Ashland, OR, over Memorial Day for another promising summer of shows with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
but I’ll say more on that later. Oh, and one more thing. Don’t you dare think about missing the return of Miss Coco Peru
to the LA Gay and Lesbian Center’s Renberg Theater starting on the 13th. You’ve got your work cut out for you.
Labels: In the Wings