Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

In the Wings - Oct '11

October 10, 2011

Valery Gergiev Photo: Marco Borggreve
What with all that’s been going on lately, I’ve gone and neglected to put up my October performance preview! This is in part because there is just too much going on this month in Los Angeles and beyond to see and do everything that is worth seeing and doing. So I’m going to do my best, but you, dear reader are going to have to make some hard choices. Take this coming weekend for instance. I’m going to be in New York City for Anna Bolena, Nabucco and the premiere of the new Michael Grandage Don Giovanni at The Metropolitan Opera along with Sondheim’s Follies. And as excited about this as I am (along with the de Kooning exhibit at MoMA), it breaks my hear that I’ll be missing a fabulous weekend of shows in Southern California. That would kick off on Thursday with Gabriel Kahane and The Calder Quartet playing music from Kahane’s excellent new recording Where Are The Arms at Largo at the Coronet. (Check out my current favorite track from the set, "LA" below complete with John Baldasseri-inspired video.) Friday night will open the Philharmonic Society of Orange County’s new season with the first of two performances from the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra under Valery Gergiev. The ensemble will play most of Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies (all but No. 6) as well as selected other works in the Southern California part of their tour to promote their lovely new DVD/Blu-Ray of Tchaikovsky's Symphonies 4, 5, and 6 which I’ve seen and also highly recommend. (It’s the kind of tough, folk-infused Tchaikovsky one always dreams about but doesn’t always get.) And just to keep you on your toes, the shows at the Segerstrom Concert Hall on the 14th and 17th constitute the first two in a three-show Southern California visit. The third show will take place at the brand spanking new Valley Performing Arts Center on the 18th. Collect all three.

Which brings us to Saturday the 15th at the Alex Theater in Glendale and the next program from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under Jeffrey Kahane, who’ll be leading a Beethoven and Britten program with contributions from soprano Karina Gauvin. Meanwhile, pianist Adam Neiman will kick off a week of performances of Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes as the guest of Camerata Pacifica from Santa Barbara on the 14th down into Los Angeles by the 20th. But to round out the weekend, you should strongly consider the season opening show of the Los Angeles Master Chorale on Sunday the 16th which will revisit Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna under music director Grant Gershon. And I suppose if you haven’t had your fill yet of the Gustavo Dudamel kool-aid served up by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, you can check out this coming weekend’s program of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 (again!) and Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with Yefim Bronfman as soloist.

Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra
Speaking of shows L.A. Phil-sponsored or -related, I’ve picked three for the month. First and foremost will be a visit from The English Concert under director Harry Bicket on Tuesday Oct 11, which will include works by Purcell sung by world-renowned countertenor Andreas Scholl. Then on the 26th will be a return L.A. appearance from Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra, a group that gave a thrilling performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall in 2009 and will likely win over even more fans this time around. And even I will get another dose of Dudamel on the 21st when Johannes Moser will join the Los Angeles Philharmonic with a new commission from Enrico Chapela followed by Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5. The Hollywood Bowl still has some notable lease events left in the year and the 22nd will bring a program from Royksopp and Robyn. (Though the guilty pleasure part of me can’t stop thinking about the Journey/Foreigner show on the 11th.) Other big visits on the horizon for the L.A. Phil include Richard Goode who’ll play Mozart on the weekend of the 28th and Hillary Hahn who’ll give a recital on Nov 1 at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Lauren Weedman
Let’s see, what else? There’s dance – the Hofesh Shechter Dance Company will return to UCLA Live on the 19th and 20th with the U.S. Premiere of Political Mother. REDCAT will follow up the spectacular shows from Faustin Linyekula last weekend with ones from Kyle Abraham's troupe Abraham.In.Motion starting on the 19th. Dance at the Music Center will welcome the Scottish Ballet and the music of James MacMillan starting on the 14th, and Orange County’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts will host the tutu-free “Kings of the Dance” show starting on the 21st. On the theater front, the big story will be the opening performance of Burbank’s newest theater company A Noise Within, which will christen its first new performance space on the 29th with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night after a massive multi-year fundraising and construction project. Boston Court will continue to run the world premiere of John Walch’s The Dinosaur Within while the Center Theater Group will roll the dice with a musical adaptation of Bring It On. The Geffen Playhouse will continue their strong season with the West Coast premiere of Geoffey Nauffts’ Tony-nominated Next Fall with performances starting on the 25th. And I can never get enough of Lauren Weedman who'll be appearing in the Edye Second Space at the Broad Stage on the 29th with No...You Shut Up.

Simon Keenlyside Photo: Ben Ealovega
As for me, I’ll be closing out the month with some highly anticipated Baroque performances leading up to Halloween. (Of course, if Baroque is not your thing, I'd definitely see Wadada Leo Smith's three evening magnum opus, Ten Freedom Summers at REDCAT from the 28th through the 30th.) Countertenor Phillipe Jaroussky will arrive at UCLA on the 28th alongside Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra in an evening of Handel and Vivaldi. And the next night will bring the uber-sexy British baritone Simon Keenlyside for a one-night only recital at the Broad Stage. And on the 30th, I’ll be up bright and early for San Francisco where San Francisco Opera will open a revival of Handel’s Xerxes starring David Daniels and Susan Graham while across the bay, Nicholas McGegan’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra will perform alongside the much admired soprano Vivica Genaux with arias for Farinelli. I know I’ve made my tough choices, so now the rest is up to you.



I'll be at the 10/30 Xerxes, sitting in the orchestra for once!!
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