Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical

Anticipating the Don

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)

4 thoughts on “Anticipating the Don

  1. You seem kind of apologetic about including Placido Domingo among baritones, but i think you shouldn’t because that is clearly what his voice is now and it’s a good one too. On the other hand, Vitalij Kowaljow’s inclusion is much more problematic, because he is essentially a bass – basso cantante, to be more precise.
    This may be a good year for baritones in LA, but it is a truly sad year for them in general, considering the retirement of Thomas Quasthoff and the death of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.


    • True about the distinction between baritones & basses, though since I spent SATB choir, I’ve tended to broadly generlize and lump all “B” voices together.

      Yes, very sad about retirement of Mr. Quasthoff and death of DF-D. Have many recordings, but never had the pleasure to see/hear either of them sing live.


    • In the end, traffic wasn’t bad at all. I think it was due to a combination of the bike race being done, the hockey game already having started, and fear keeping people off the roads in the surrounding area if they could afford an alternate route


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