I’ve been looking forward to attending the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s fully-staged Don Giovanni for a number of reasons:
- First of all, well, because it’s Don Giovanni and who doesn’t want to see and hear that under pretty much any circumstance?
- The appearance of Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role. It’s been a very good season for baritones in L.A. so far (let’s see: Thomas Hampson, Vitalij Kowaljow, Mathias Goerne, and just for good measure, let’s throw Placido Domingo in there too). Mr. Kwiecien is the latest in that distinguished line.
- Frank Gehry’s set design and Rodarte (Kate and Laura Mulleavy) costumes. I’m a huge fan of Mr. Gehry and have been intrigued by what I’ve seen from the Mulleavy sisters. Though the initial sketches of set and costumes looked typically vague, the pictures released by the LA Phil look quite interesting — because of the designs, and also because of the curious lack of clarity on where the orchestra is seated.
- What will Gustavo Dudamel do with this score? Whereas Esa-Pekka Salonen favored the music of Haydn when he was in a Classical period mood, Mr. Dudamel clearly favors Mozart. His past interpretations of his works tend to be big and bold: thrilling, but a bit more heavy-handed than I’d prefer my Mozart to be. Of course, those have been symphonies and smaller scale orchestral works, and a full-blown opera is a different story.
The four-performance run opened last night, but I’m not going until tomorrow — and all of the above combine to make it worthwhile to brave the threat of impending Downtown LA traffic craziness to rival Carmageddon, not to mention missing the potential series-sweeping LA Kings game. Of course, if this were the Stanley Cup finals, I’d have picked a different concert date . . . but more often than not, watching music being performed live trumps watching sports on TV.
My review will be posted Monday morning. Stay tuned.
Photo credit: Autumn de Wilde (Los Angeles Philharmonic)