Justifiably popular:  the latest vibrant young cast inhabits Los Angeles Opera’s classic “La Bohème”
All Reviews / Los Angeles Opera / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

Justifiably popular: the latest vibrant young cast inhabits Los Angeles Opera’s classic “La Bohème”

Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème is as popular and reliable a seat-filler as you can get in opera.  In Southern California alone, it has been programmed by both the Pacific Symphony and Los Angeles Opera within weeks of each other this spring.   It shows up so often that opera-going veterans see La Bohème on the calendar and grumble and moan … Continue reading

Worth the wait:  Simon Rattle triumphantly returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

Worth the wait: Simon Rattle triumphantly returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic

There was a time not too long ago that had you mentioned that a fair-haired, mop top, wunderkind conductor was standing on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s podium, your image would have been of an Englishman rather than a Venezuelan. Simon Rattle (not yet knighted) was Principal Guest Conductor from 1981 to 1994, though as the … Continue reading

Getting his LACO feet wet:  Martin Haselböck charms in water-themed debut
All Reviews / Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

Getting his LACO feet wet: Martin Haselböck charms in water-themed debut

Since 2005, Martin Haselböck has been Music Director of Musica Angelica, Los Angeles’s premiere period instrument baroque ensemble.  He’s been a prominent organist and conductor in his native Austria longer than that.  So it was perhaps a little surprising that, until this past Thursday, he hadn’t yet appeared with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in any … Continue reading

An actual knight, joined by a king in name:  Pepe Romero, Christoph Konig, and the LA Phil
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

An actual knight, joined by a king in name: Pepe Romero, Christoph Konig, and the LA Phil

I had been really looking forward to these concerts.  It was supposed to feature two masterful Spaniards in a night featuring a good chunk of Spanish music.  Unfortunately, that went by the wayside as Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor and friend of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, cancelled for health reasons.  Pepe Romero, the distinguished guitarist (not … Continue reading

There goes my hero:  Kahane and Kahane with the LA Chamber Orchestra
All Reviews / Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

There goes my hero: Kahane and Kahane with the LA Chamber Orchestra

Saturday’s Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra concert in Glendale featured music about places (New England, Brooklyn, and London) as set in  two older pieces and one West Coast premiere.   The theme worked very well, each piece on the program setting up the next one nicely.  Jeffrey Kahane led everything joyously.  If you were paying attention, … Continue reading

Excellent again:  LA Master Chorale shines in Bach’s St. John Passion
All Reviews / Los Angeles Master Chorale / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

Excellent again: LA Master Chorale shines in Bach’s St. John Passion

I don’t remember the last time I heard the Los Angeles Master Chorale have a less-than-impressive performance, let alone a bad day.  It’s had to happen; the group is only human, after all. The Master Chorale  has a long and distinguished history, but ever since Grant Gershon took over as Music Director in 2001, its … Continue reading

All Reviews / Music News & Info: Classical / Other classical music concerts and recitals (in So Cal and beyond) / Reviews 2011/2012

A worthwhile Wednesday: “Spring Recital 2012” by Radu Pieptea and Bryan Pezzone

One of the benefits of living in a “big city”  is that arts and entertainment options are relatively frequent and easy to come by.  This provides both opportunities and challenges to both audiences and performers. For audiences:  how do you choose to spend your valuable time and money? For performers:  how do you break through … Continue reading

Interest earned:  LACO’s “Sound Investment” with Timothy Andres pays off handsomely
All Reviews / Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

Interest earned: LACO’s “Sound Investment” with Timothy Andres pays off handsomely

Timothy “Timo” Andres was a busy man about Los Angeles this past week.  Thursday night, he played Sorbet, his solo piano palate-cleanser, as part of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s “Westside Connections” series.  Friday night and Saturday afternoon, he joined wild Up’s  concerts highlighting younger composers and, as they described it, “the music of right … Continue reading

Yummilicious:  Jonathan Gold sets the table for LACO’s musical sampler
All Reviews / Food / Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

Yummilicious: Jonathan Gold sets the table for LACO’s musical sampler

The good folks at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra have no qualms about taking non-standard approaches to building concert programs.  Case in point:  their annual “Westside Connections” series of three events curated by Margaret Batjer, LACO concertmaster, attempting to link music to the designated topic-of-the-year.  This year’s edition looks for links between music and food.  Each concert invites a different … Continue reading

Friends and neighbors:  the first two Piatigorsky Cello Festival concerts by the LA Phil
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

Friends and neighbors: the first two Piatigorsky Cello Festival concerts by the LA Phil

It’s been a while since Neeme Jarvi has stood on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s podium. The last time he led them downtown was at the end of the 1988/89 winter season, when he was tapped to replace Andre Previn who had withdrawn on short notice with an injury after having resigned as Music Director just … Continue reading

Absurdity for all ages:  Long Beach Opera and LA Phil’s Toyota Symphonies for Youth
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Other classical music concerts and recitals (in So Cal and beyond) / Reviews 2011/2012

Absurdity for all ages: Long Beach Opera and LA Phil’s Toyota Symphonies for Youth

At first blush, a matinee at Long Beach Opera (LBO) would seem to have little in common with one of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Toyota Symphonies for Youth (TSFY) educational concerts.  If you knew that one had programmed a double-bill of surrealist operas by Poulenc (The Breasts of Tiresias) and Martinů (Tears of a Knife), while the … Continue reading

Charles Dutoit leads a refreshing night with the LA Phil
All Reviews / Los Angeles Philharmonic / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

Charles Dutoit leads a refreshing night with the LA Phil

A  program of Stravinsky, Debussy, and Prokofiev may still be considered adventurous in some concert halls, but for many years, it was the norm at Walt Disney Concert Hall.  The 20th Century French and Russian composers seemed to turn up on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s programs as often (if not more so) than Mozart, Brahms, … Continue reading

LA Opera’s <i>Albert Herring</i> is a light-hearted king of a comedy
All Reviews / Los Angeles Opera / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

LA Opera’s Albert Herring is a light-hearted king of a comedy

Quick — imagine an opera, any opera, in your head.  I’ll wait. . . . I’m guessing that you probably came up with large-bodied singers standing in one place belting out big arias in a foreign language (probably Italian, German, or French) over the strains of a big orchestra; lots of murder, suicide, rape, and … Continue reading

Chicago Symphony barrels its way through Orange County
All Reviews / Music News & Info: Classical / Other classical music concerts and recitals (in So Cal and beyond) / Philharmonic Society of Orange County / Reviews 2011/2012

Chicago Symphony barrels its way through Orange County

Last Friday, Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony made their long-awaited visit to the Southland with a one-night stop at Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa.  The whole affair had a “take it or leave it” feel,  beginning with the curiously obscure program of works by Honegger, Mason Bates, and Franck, and ending with Mr. … Continue reading

Dance this mess around:  LACO’s Baroque Conversations No. 2 has all the right moves
All Reviews / Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Music News & Info: Classical / Reviews 2011/2012

Dance this mess around: LACO’s Baroque Conversations No. 2 has all the right moves

If I were to look at a random cross-section of my favorite bits of music across genres, much of it — mazurkas by Chopin, Le Sacre du Printemps, New Order 12″ remixes, even the cheeky  Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO — is inherently dance music.  Baroque music in particular is riddled with dance-based themes.  A … Continue reading