Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

The Royal Treatment

February 01, 2008

Mariss Jansons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Photo: mine 2008

I caught the second of two shows from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on Wednesday on their current U.S. tour and was unexpectedly surprised. Not that I thought the playing would be anything other than superior, it was just one of those nights where it was the right concert at the right time. The program was standard on-tour fare: Strauss’ Don Juan and Mahler’s 5th. And the performance was excellent: shinning and warm. The middle movements of the Mahler were incredible in particular. I think much of my reaction stemmed from hearing Mahler’s symphony actually played with some dynamics. After hearing the atrocious performance of this same piece earlier this season by Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, it was wonderful to hear Mariss Jansons and the Concertgebouw Orchestra create an amazing amount of energy and detail with less than 200 people on stage. It may not have been “note perfect” or “transparent,” but it was thoroughly enjoyable and evidence that in fact size isn’t everything.


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