Five-Spot: What caught my eye on July 14, 2011


By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

Pasadena Star-News/San Gabriel Valley Tribune/Whittier Daily News



With all three major San Gabriel Valley groups on hiatus this week and with the closure of the 405 Freeway (aka "Carmageddon") making trips to the west side of L.A. seem like suicide, the spotlight focuses on Hollywood Bowl this weekend, not least because you can get there relatively easily via Metro's Red Line subway.


However -- especially if you're not used to using this option -- allow extra time to make the shuttle transfer due to traffic around the Bowl. Also, be advised that there's a new shuttle location at the Hollywood/Highland stop. From the station, make a right into the Hollywood/Highland complex and follow the signs -- the new stop is down a corridor from Lids on the second floor. You can also get off at the Universal City station and walk south under the 101 freeway bridge and west on Ventura Blvd. to reach the Park and Ride lot.


Onward ...



Tonight at 8 p.m., Saturday at Hollywood Bowl

Los Angeles Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor; Lang Lang, pianist

This concert duplicates last Tuesday's program (Borodin: Polovtsian Dances, Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3, Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition); one hopes the sound system and video-camera work will be better. (My review is HERE). Lang Lang's ability to fly through the Prokofiev's pyrotechnical sections is, in a word, amazing, and -- as noted in the review -- Dudamel and the Phil are in top form. Info:

Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl; Thomas Wilkins, conductor, Sarah McLachian, vocalist

The Canadian Grammy Award-winning vocalist makes her Bowl debut in this weekend's concerts, which will feature songs from her new album, Laws of Illusion. Info:


Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Hollywood Bowl (note earlier start time)

Puccini's Turandot; Los Angeles Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

Soprano Christine Brewer sings the title role in Puccini's final opera. Dudamel's work with Bizet's Carmen last summer was exciting, which gives hope for the opening event in the "Sunday Sunset Concert" series. Note the 7:30 p.m. start time and be sure to allow plenty of time to get to your seat. Info:


Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Hollywood Bowl

Los Angeles Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor; Gil Shaham, violinist

Dudamel's second week at the bowl is an all-Mozart program, opening with the overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio and concluding with the Symphony No. 41 (Jupiter). Shaham continues the overture's Turkish theme as soloist in the Violin Concerto No. 5 (often called Turkish). Info:



(c) Copyright 2011, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.



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