Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

In the Wings - Apr '12

April 05, 2012

From Wunderbaum's Songs from the End of the World.
April is a big month for out of town activity here at Out West Arts as much of the American opera season enters its home stretch. (Not here in L.A. however where May will be the opera month to watch.) And while I’ll be out and about at times, there are at least three events I’m going to miss that I’m already kicking myself for so I’m going to start with them so you don’t make the same mistakes as me. Do not miss an opportunity to see the Netherlands’ superb Wunderbuam who’ll return for their third appearance at REDCAT after the devastatingly good Looking for Paul in 2010. This time around they’ll bring their latest Songs at the End of the World on the 28th. Then there is the program from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra on the 28th and 29th which will include the local premiere of a new work from Gabriel Kahane, Crane Palimpsest hot on the heels of Timo Andres' great success with the ensemble last month. And you’ll also want to be in Santa Monica on the 21st for the latest program from Jacaranda, which will focus on works from Messiaen, Gubaidulina and Henri Dutilleux.

Don’t feel too sorry for me though. First of all I won’t miss the most hotly anticipated shows of the Los Angeles Philharmonic season, which will occur during the week of the 16th when one of the great living interpreters of Lieder, Matthias Goerne, will be in town. He’ll give two recitals with Christoph Eschenbach on piano and three concerts where the famous conductor will take his more traditional spot on the podium the weekend of the 20th. All of the concerts will be dedicated to the music of Schubert including Winterreise on the 18th, Die schöne Müllerin on the 16th, and other orchestrated songs which nicely coincide with the latest release in Goerne’s remarkable recordings of Schubert Lieder for Harmonia Mundi which includes Schwanengesang. There’s other music from the this month from the L.A. Phil to consider including a visit from Herbert Blomstedt who’ll lead Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis the weekend of the 13th and John Adams returning on the 5th to conduct his own Violin Concerto with Leila Josefowicz followed by the West Coast Premiere of Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 9. On the 10th, the Green Umbrella new music series of the orchestra continues with works from Cage, Stockhausen, and a world premiere work from Oscar Bettison. Baroque ensemble Concerto Köln will visit town with Bach and Vivaldi on the 24th. And the first weekend in May will welcome Magdalena Kozená and the music of Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 and Mahler's Rückert-Lieder under the guidance of Sir Simon Rattle.

Bright Sheng will have a new commission for Camerata Pacifica this month
There’s tons of other music around town new and old. The Monday Evening Concert program on the 23rd is particularly intriguing with music from Aldo Clementi and Helmut Lachenmann. The Cleveland Orchestra will come to Orange County as the guest of the Philharmonic Society to play Shostakovich and Saariaho under Franz Welser-Möst on the 17th. Cage’s music will also be the focus of Susan Svrcek’s recital for Piano Spheres on the 24th. And don’t forget about the world premiere chamber work from Bright Sheng which will be paired with works from Dohnányi when Camerata Pacifica makes the rounds from the 10th through the 15th in the Southland. British early choral music stars Stile Antico will appear at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral for the Da Camera Society on the 18th and The Pacifica Quartet will visit Royce Hall with their take on Beethoven and Shostakovich on the 11th. And proving the L.A. Phil isn’t the only ensemble in town that can play the game, the Los Angeles Mater Chorale will cover music from a wide swath of North and South America in their program on the 29th. REDCAT will bring New Zealand’s Richard Nunns to town for two nights of music from the other side of the world on the 18th and 19th just after an evening of experimental machine music from KarmetiK Machine Orchestra entitled Samsara on the 12th and 13th. Meanwhile the Los Angeles Chorale will pay tribute to Morten Lauridsen on the 15th and in one of the few opera highlights on the local scene this month, the Pacific Symphony will welcome a great cast including Maija Kovalevska and David Lomeli for concert performances of Puccini’ La Bohème starting on the 19th. Of course no month in L.A. is complete without the newest of the new bubbling up from the local music scene. You should check out Isaac Schankler and Aron Kallay's People inside Electronics program on the 28th. And on the 14th and 15th the place to be is at The Lost Studio where Julia Adolphe will premiere her new chamber opera Sylvia for her devoted fans.

from the Ballet du Grand Théatre de Genève Photo: GTG/Vincent Lepresle
And I haven’t even gotten around to the theater picks for the month yet. Why not start with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Anna Sinyakina in In Paris, an adaptation of the Ivan Bunin short story, at The Broad Stage on the 11th. This is the same night that the Geffen will welcome the local premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s New York hit Good People with the always lovely Jane Kaczmarek. Over at REDCAT there is much to consider besides Wunderbaum including Dayna Hanson’s take on American History in Gloria’s Cause on the 5th, My Barbarian’s “Post-Living Ante-Action Theater” experience on the 14th and 15th. And although it's technically a film event, the collection of Bill Morrison’s films should be given your attention on the 23rd. For stylish visuals it'll be hard to ignore the Ballet du Grand Théatre de Genève which will come to Dance at The Music Center on the 13th with works from the very hot, very young Benjamin Millepied for three nights. Danai Gurira’s The Convert arrives at the Kirk Douglas Theater on the 17th directly from a well-received run a Chicago’s Goodman Theater. And in the city’s many magnificent smaller venues, how about a new production of Chekhov’s Ivanov directed by Bart DeLorenzo at the Odyssey Theater starting on the 14th. Down in Orange County, South Coast Repertory will offer up some of the highlights of their season with two world premiere plays, Steven Drukman's The Prince of Atlantis starting on the 6th and Cloudlands a new musical written by Adam Gwon and Octavio Solis on the 15th. And don’t forget the final production of A Noise Within’s spring season in Pasadena that starts on the 7th with Moliere’s The Bungler.

Joyce DiDonato as Mary Stuart Photo: Brigitte Lacombe/Met Opera 2012
So where will I be when I’m missing bits of all the local scene on offer this month. In part I’ll be right under the X in Houston on the 21st where Joyce DiDonato will give her role debut as Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda in anticipation of her appearances in the role starting this coming New Year’s Eve at the Metropolitan Opera. Houston Grand Opera will also be putting up Verdi’s greatest opera, Don Carlos, under music director Patrick Summers starting on the 13th with Brandon Jovanovich, Christine Goerke, and the King Philippe II of Andrea Silvestrelli. But the end of the month will feature 10 whopping days in New York (you remember, the cultural capital of America right?) where I’ll get another look at Robert Lepage’s new production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in all its flat screen emulating glory under Fabio Luisi with Eric Owens, Bryn Terfel, Katarina Dalayman, Jay Hunter Morris, Jonas Kaufmann, Eva-Maria Westbroek, and Stefan Margita. Given what I’ve seen in the house so for, it’s unlikely to become a highlight of this or any year, but what might is the revival of Janacek’s The Makropulos Case which opens at the Met on the 27th with Karita Mattila who took San Francisco by storm in the leading role in 2010. Also on the week’s operatic agenda will be Natalie Dessay on Decker’s red couch (hopefully) in La Traviata which opened on the 5th and Nathan Gunn who may bare some if not all as Britten’s Billy Budd on May 4th. Rounding out the New York jaunt will be TR Warszawa’s Festen as St. Ann’s Warehouse, the return of Elevator Repair Service’s jaw-dropping GATZ at the Public Theater, Death of a Salesman, and Judy Garland’s final months played out in End of the Rainbow. Oh, and Leif Ove Andsnes alongside Matthias Goerne (again) at Carnegie Hall on May 1 with Shostakovich and Mahler. What more can I tell you?



That's quite a month, Brian- so tell me, was the use of "bear" in relation to Gunn a slip or a pun?

Also, while I'm willing to agree to the greatness of Don Carlo, I'm not sure it's better than Otello, Rig, or Boccanegra- all of which I think could bear the title of "Verdi's greatest." It largely depends on my mood.
The pun was accidental. The Verdi was not.
I'd like to vote for Don Carlo/s being at least greater than Otello.
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