Five-Spot: What caught my eye on Feb. 16, 2012

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

______________________

 

Each Thursday, I list five events (six today) that pique my
interest, including (ideally) at least one with free admission (or, at a minimum,
inexpensive tickets). Here’s today’s grouping:

______________________

 

Tonight at 7:30
p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Los Angeles Opera:
Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra

As noted in my review (LINK), this is an excellent production
that features Plcido Domingo in his first true baritone role after more than
half a century as a tenor. There are other reasons to make the trip downtown,
especially soprano Ana Maria Martinez. Other performances are Feb. 21 and March
1 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 26 and March 4 at 2 p.m. Information: www.losangelesopera.com

 

Saturday at 2 p.m.
and 8 p.m. at Ambassador Auditorium

Pasadena Symphony

Bulgarian conductor Rossen Milanov leads the PSO in
Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances (from
which came the song Strangers in Paradise,
made famous in the 1953 Broadway musical Kismet);
Rimsky-Korsakov’s version of Scheherazade,
with concertmaster Aimee Kreston playing the solos that portray the Arabian
princess spinning tales for 1,001 nights; and Saint-Sans Piano Concerto No. 5 (Egyptian), with Colburn School graduate
Esther Keel as soloist. Information: www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org

 

Saturday at 2 p.m.
in local theaters

Los Angeles
Philharmonic; Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

If you weren’t able to attend the performance of Mahler’s
Symphony No. 8 last week at the Shrine Auditorium, you can see and hear the
“Symphony of a Thousand” live in movie theaters from Caracas, Venezuela on Feb.
18 at 2 p.m. via the “LA Phil LIVE” series. Actually, this performance will
reportedly have more than 1,200 musicians as Gustavo Dudamel leads both the Los
Angeles Philharmonic and Simn Bolivr Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, eight
soloists and more than 1,000 choristers. Several local theaters will also show
an “encore” performance is set for Feb. 29.  Mark Swed of the Los
Angeles Times
is in Caracas and filed this preview story HERE. Telecast Information: www.laphil.com

 

Saturday at 7 p.m.
at Civic Theatre, San Diego

San Diego Opera: Jake
Heggie’s Moby Dick

When Dallas Opera premiered this new operatic version of
Herman Melville’s famous novel in April 2010, it met with widespread audience
and critical acclaim (LINK). San Diego, one of the four commissioning
companies, gets its turn in the spotlight beginning Saturday night. Prior to Moby Dick, Heggie was best known for his
opera Dead Man Walking, written in
2000..

 

One of the world’s premiere tenors, Ben Heppner, who created
the title role in Dallas, is back on the deck of the Pequod again (and above it
– see HERE) but Karen Keltner, SD Opera’s Resident Conductor, has withdrawn due
to illness. Fortunately, Joseph Mechavich, who just finished conducting Calgary
Opera’s run of Moby Dick, was
available to step in, so things should be in good hands in the pit (LINK).
Other performances are Feb. 21 at 7 p.m., Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2 p.m.  Information:
www.sdopera.com

 

Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Olivier Latry,
organist

Latry, who is titular organist at the Cathedral of Notre
Dame in Paris, returns to Disney Hall for a recital that will surely spotlight
the WDCH organ’s power and many colors. To conclude the program, Latry will be
joined by Korean organist Shin-Young Lee for a performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, using an adaptation of
the composer’s four-hand piano arrangement of what was originally a ballet
score (when the ballet premiered on May 29, 1913, it caused a riot (literally)
in the concert hall). Information: www.laphil.com

 

And the weekend’s
“free admission” program …

 

Saturday at 8 at La
Mirada

La Mirada Symphony

Russian music seems to be everywhere this weekend. Robert
Frelly leads his ensemble in Tchaikovsky’s 1812
Overture
(presumably, since it’s indoors, sans fireworks) and Variations on a Rococo Theme, with Kihae
Kim DeFazio as soloist. Also on the program is Stravinsky’s 1919 Firebird Suite. Information: www.lamiradasymphony.com

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

NEWS AND LINK: L.A. Phil theatre telecast schedule expands to three South American countries … but not to Venezuela

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

 

The list of movie theaters showing the telecast of Mahler’s
Symphony No. 8 from Caracas, Venezuela on Saturday continues to grow. Gustavo
Dudamel will conduct the Los Angeleles Philharmonic, Simn Bolivr Symphony
Orchestra of Venezuela, eight soloists and more than 1,000 choristers in what
will indeed be “Symphony of More than 1,000.”

 

The telecast begins at 2 p.m. Pacific Time Saturday from the
Teatro Teresa Carreno in Caracas where both orchestras are currently
participating in a reprise of “The Mahler Project” held recently in Los
Angeles. In addition to theatres in the U.S. and Canada, Saturday’s performance
will be telecast live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with tape-delayed telecasts
following in Brazil and Columbia. Oddly enough, there are no telecasts yet
slated for Venezuela. An encore telecast will be shown in some U.S. theatres on
Feb. 29.

 

Information: www.laphil.com

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

NEWS AND LINK: L.A. Phil, Dudamel May programs changed

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

 

If you bought tickets expecting to see Gustavo Dudamel
conduct Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 5 in May, you’re
out of luck. With no explanation other that the new choices dovetail with the
Phil’s May production of Mozart’s Don
Giovanni,
the following concerts have had their programs altered:

May 10 and 12:
The Grieg and Sibelius have been exchanged for Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue, K. 546 and Posthorn
Serenade,
K. 320. As previously
scheduled, Russian violinist Alina Pogostkina will make her LA Phil debut with Distant Light by Latvian composer
Peteris Vasks, which is a concerto for violin and string orchestra.

May 25 and 27: The
Tchaikovsky (which had always been listed with a TBD soloist) and Sibelius have
been jettisoned for Mozart’s Adagio and
Fugue
; Exsultate, Jubilate, with
soprano Kiera Duffy as soloist; and the Posthorn
Serenade.
Friday is a “Casual Friday” concert so the Adagio and Fugue will be omitted.

 

Information: www.laphil.com

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

HEADS UP: Goldstar offers discounted tickets for L.A. Opera’s “Albert Herring”

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

 

Goldstar is offering “half-price” tickets for the upcoming
Los Angeles Opera production of Benjamin Britten’s opera Albert Herring, which opens Feb. 25 at the Dorothy Chandler
Pavilion. Tickets that are regularly priced at $75-$230 are being offered at
$38-$115, plus a service charge that adds about 12% to the purchase price.
Effectively, that makes the discount on a $230 ticket about 44%, still a good
bargain. LAO has its own discount programs for senior, students and families
available through its Web site.

Goldstar information:
www.goldstar.com

LA Opera information:
www.losangelesopera.com

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

NEWS AND LINK: Dudamel, L.A. Phil win 2012 Grammy Award

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

 

58453-Brahms 4 Album Cover.jpg

Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic have won a
2012 Grammy for “Best Orchestral Performance” for their performance of Brahms’
Symphony No. 4, which was recorded by Deutsche Grammaphon (DGG) live in Walt
Disney Concert Hall as part of the Phil’s “Brahms Unbound” festival last
spring.

The award was Dudamel’s first Grammy. It’s the second Grammy in which the Phil has been involved. In 1986, the orchestra’s recording of Lutoslawski’s Symphony No. 3 (led by Esa-Pekka Salonen) won the award for “Best Contemporary Composition.” As a Phil spokesperson noted, “The awardee was Lutoslawski as it was a composition award, but the recording was done by the LA Phil.”

 

Dudamel and the Phil beat out Andrew Davis and the BBC
Philharmonic’s recording of English composer York Bowen’s Symphony Nos. 1 &
2; Nicholas McGegan and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra playing Haydn’s
Symphonies 104, 88 and 101; Marek Janowskiu and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester
Berlin playing Hans Werner Henze’s Symphony Nos. 3-5; and Jir Belohlvek and
the BBC Symphony Orchestra playing the six symphonies of Bohuslav Martinu.

 

The Phil’s Brahms Symphony No. 4 is available download from iTunes but not (at this point) on a CD.

The 2012 Grammy for “Best Opera Performance” went to the
Metropolitan Opera for its Sony Classical recording of Dr. Atomic by John Adams, who is the L.A. Phil’s Creative Chair.
Adams wrote the opera in 2005 and the Met first presented it last year.

 

Information: www.grammy.com

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

OVERNIGHT REVIEW: LA Opera opens Verdi’s “Simon Boccanegra” last night at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

______________________

 

Los Angeles Opera:
Verd’s Simon Boccanegra

February 11, 2012 Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Next performances: Feb. 15, 21 and March 1 at 7:30 p.m.;
Feb. 19, 26 and March 4 at 2 p.m.

Information: www.losangelesopera.com

58450-Domingo-Martinez.jpg

Plcido Domingo and Ana Maria Martinez star in Los Angeles
Opera’s production of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra,
which opened last night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Photo for LAO by
Robert Millard.

______________________

 

Simon Boccanegra
isn’t the least performed of Verdi’s operas but it’s not at the top of the list
of the Italian composer’s favorites, either. It was given, to quote Thomas
May’s article in the printed program, “a lukewarm premiere” when it debuted in
Venice in 1857 and, again according to May, subsequent performances in Florence
and Milan were “outright fiascos.” In 1881, Verdi — who had by then ostensibly
retired from the writing opera — revised the work, and the success of that
revival led him to write his final two — and greatest — operas: Otello and Falstaff.

 

What Verdi created in Boccanegra
was somewhat formulaic; even though the two plots are different, I had the
feeling I was reliving last season’s Rigoletto
all over again. Part of the reason for the familiarity may be that Michael
Yeargan designed both productions, Rigoletto
originally for San Francisco and Simon
Boccanegra
for Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

 

Nonetheless, wonderful music pours out of every page of Boccanegra and the ensembles he wrote –
trios, quartets and, in particular, a marvelous sextet to conclude the first
Act — the famous “Council Chamber” scene — are quite special.

 

For Los Angeles Opera, the major reason for mounting Simon Boccanegra is that Plcido Domingo
wanted to undertake the title role. After a century as one of the world’s great
tenors, Domingo (who turned 71 on Jan. 21) has discovered the joys of once
again being a baritone (he actually began that way as a young adult). Actually,
it’s quite a rare feat; normally a tenor voice doesn’t have the heft necessary
for baritone roles but Domingo has always been unique.

 

Last night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Domingo’s lower
register wasn’t as deep as many who have been baritones all of their adult
lives, but the glorious ring that has characterized his more than 130 tenor
roles remains very much in evidence. Moreover, he brought an anguished pathos to
the role of an elder statesman struggling to unite his country while wrestling
with personal demons, as well.

 

So, if you’re hesitating whether to attend one of the six
remaining performances, hearing and seeing Domingo’s riveting performance in
his “new life” is worth the price of a ticket. Besides, there’s no guarantee
that he can keep going; Domingo has already announced that he’ll perform in
Verdi’s even more rarely heard I Due
Foscari
to open LAO’s 2012-2013 season in September (yet another baritone role),
but the clock is, regrettably, ticking.

 

Fortunately, Domingo is not the only reason for making the
trip to downtown Los Angeles; the balance of the cast is uniformly strong and,
in a couple of cases, better than that. For me, the highlight of the evening
was soprano Ana Maria Martinez, who in her fourth appearance with LAO sang the
role of Amelia with a rich, lustrous tone and tossed off a spiffy trill at the
end of the sextet to boot. She also brought deep emotion to her acting.

 

Vatalij Kowalijow’s portrayal of Jacpo Fiesco echoed the
nobility that the Ukranian bass brought to his portrayal of Wotan in LAO’s Ring cycle three years ago, Stefano
Secco made an impressive LAO debut as Gabriele Adorno a gleaming top tenor
range. The balance of the cast included Paolo Gavanelli as Paolo Albiani (and
didn’t have to worry about remembering his first name), Robert Pomakov as
Pietro, Sara Campbell as Amelia’s maid, and Todd Strange as a captain. The LA Opera Chorus was effective in the crowd scenes.

 

To no one’s great surprise — he has conducted 25
performances of three productions of Boccanegra
before last night — James Conlon conducted with assurance and sensitivity and
the LA Opera Orchestra played beautifully; it would be a shock if either were
otherwise but such skill is not to be taken lightly or for granted. David Washburn sparkled as a one-man banda.

 

The production features a simple unit set with columns to
symbolize Italy and a moveable back wall alternating two different styles of
graffiti with Trajan-style letters, each trying to figure out clever ways to
slip Simon Boccanegra’s name among the other words. The costumes, originally by
Peter J. Hall, ranged from colorful to nondescript and the lighting design by
Duane Schuler was suitably atmospheric for the most part. Elijah Moshinsky
directed the six scenes skillfully.

_______________________

 

Hemidemisemiquavers:

The opera ran just under three hours including one
intermission.

Conlon revealed in his printed-program article that Simon Boccanegra was among the first
operas he saw, at age 13 from the standing-room area of the old Metropolitan
Opera House in New York City.

The large banners of Domingo and Conlon that used to hang
from atop the Pavilion are no longer present. They were destroyed in big
windstorms in December.

In addition to the remaining Simon Boccanegra performances, LAO’s production of Britten’s Albert Herring opens Feb. 25 for six
performances through March 17. Information: www.losangelesopera.com

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

STORY AND LINK: Pasadena Symphony announces 2012-2013 season

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

 

As the Pasadena Symphony heads into its third season
following the 25-year-tenure of former Music Director Jorge Mester, the
orchestra continues to find a new rhythm as evidenced by its 85th
season that was announced yesterday.

 

Although there still seems to be no successor to Mester on
the horizon, three of the six guest conductors for the 2012-2013 season will
have led the PSO during the past and current seasons. James DePreist continues
in his role as music advisor but is not on next season’s maestro list after
leading a concert last season and conducting the final programs on this year’s
schedule. Russian repertoire will be very much in evidence throughout next
season, and newly named Composer-in-Residence Peter Boyer will have not one but
three of his works performed during the season.

 

As has been the case during the past couple of years, the
upcoming season will have five classical concerts with two performances each at
Ambassador Auditorium (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.). Next year will also see a reprise on
Dec. 1 of last year’s sold-out holiday candlelight concert at All Saints
Church, Pasadena. Grant Cooper will again conduct and soprano Lisa Vroman will
return as soloist.

 

The classical season will open on Oct. 6 when Mei-Ann Chen, who was a dynamo leading
the PSO in this season’s opening concerts, returns to open next season, as
well. Now music director of the Chicago Sinfionetta and the Memphis Symphony,
Chen’s PSO program will be Beethoven’s Egmont
Overture,
Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9, and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto
No. 2, with 16-ytear-old George Li, recipient of the 2012 Gilmore Young Artist
Award, as soloist.

 

Other programs on the schedule are:

 

Nov. 3 — Edwin
Outwater, conductor; Rueibin Chin, piano

A native of Santa Monica, Outwater has been music director
of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in Ontario, Canada for five years. Now 41,
Outwater was resident conductor of the San Francisco Symphony for four years
and recently made his professional opera debut conducting Verdi’s La Traviata at San Francisco Opera.

 

His PSO program will include Huang Li’s Spring Festival Overture, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and
Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,
with Chin as soloist.

 

Jan. 12 — Tito
Muoz, conductor; Carolyn Goulding, violin

Muoz — music director of the Opra National de Lorraine and
the Orchestre symphonique et lyrique de Nancy in France — made an impressive
PSO debut last season. He returns to lead Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 and Sibelius’
Violin Concerto, with Carolyn Goulding as soloist. The program will open with
Boyer’s “Apollo” from Three Olympians.

 

Feb. 9 — Nicholas
McGegan, conductor; Yulia Van Doren, soprano; Donald Foster, clarinet

McGegan is known primarily as a Baroque music specialist but
his program next month concludes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (Eroica) and his concerts next season
will finish with Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. For contrast, the PSO’s principal
clarinet, Donald Foster, will step out from the ranks as soloist in Mozart’s
Clarinet Concerto.

 

April 27, 2013 –
Jose Luis Gomez, conductor; Peter Boyer, conductor; Chee-Yun, violin

Gomez is another of the young conductors to come out of
Venezuela’s “El Sistema” music program, following in the footsteps of Los
Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel. In 2010, Gomez won the
fifth International Georg Solti Conductor’s Competition in Frankfurt by
unanimous decision of the jury. Gomez will conclude the PSO season by leading
Borodin’s In the Steppes of Central Asia and
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Meanwhile, Boyer’s composition Festivities is on the agenda and the
composer will conduct the inaugural performance of his Symphony No. 1 to
conclude the season.

 

Read the complete media release HERE.

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

STORY AND LINKS: LA Opera announced 2012-2013 season

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

 

With three big anniversaries occurring in 2013 — the
bicentennials of the births of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner and the
centennial of Benjamin Britten — hopes were high that Los Angeles Opera’s
2012-2013 season might move beyond the current one, which continues with
Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, opening
Saturday night in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

 

No such luck. The upcoming season will have 37 performances
of six operas, the same as 2011-2012 and down considerably from the 2006-07
high of 10 productions and 75 performances. Unlike the previous two seasons,
there will be no Britten operas next season and LAO’s “Recovered Voices”
project of music and composers suppressed and/or murdered by the Nazis remains
on hiatus (although a version of the latter surfaced at The Colburn School
earlier this year). The company also added some details to its new “dynamic
pricing policy.

 

LAO continues to cite the economic downturn and the
financial effects of its production of Wagner’s Ring cycle in 2009 as reasons
for its cautious stance “Our mission to present world-class performances is
matched by our need to be fiscally sound,” says CEO Stephen D. Rountree in the
media release. “We have been conscientious about maintaining our artistic
standards while adhering strictly to our budgets. We have even been able to
repay–a year ahead of schedule–half of the Bank of America loan, guaranteed by
the County of Los Angeles, that helped to stabilize the Company during the
worst part of the economic downturn.”

 

Also continuing a recent trend, five of the six 2012-2013 productions
will be imported from other companies — Lyric Opera, Chicago, San Francisco
Opera, Houston Grand Opera figure heavily into the mix. The one “new”
production is the opening opera, Verdi’s rarely heard The Two Foscari (l Due Foscari), which
is a coproduction between LAO and companies in Valencia (Spain, not Calif.),
Vienna and London. The opera offers Plcido Domingo another baritone role
suited to his age (the character is described as “an aging head of state).
James Conlon will conduct, one of four productions he will lead next season.
Thaddeus Strassberger makes his company debut directing.

 

The Two Foscari (which
will be sung in Italian with English supertitles) will open on Sept. 15 in the
first of six performances. It will run in tandem with Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which will open Sept. 22
and run for seven performances. Conlon will conduct the first five performances
and Domingo will conduct the last two. The production is from Lyric Opera,
Chicago, first seen in 2004.

 

Other offerings are:

Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, beginning Nov. 17 for six performances.
Soprano Oksana Dyka (Tatiana in this season’s production of Eugene Onegin) sings the title role. The
other notable cast name is Eric Owens (Grendel in 2006) as Sharpless. Grant
Gershon, who was recently promoted to LAO’s resident conductor, will lead the
LAO orchestra for six performances beginning Nov. 17. Ron Daniels directs a
production he created originally for San Francisco Opera.

 

Wagner’s Der Flieglende Hollnder (The Flying
Dutchman)
opens March 9,
2013, for six performances. Conlon conducts and, rather than exhume its own
Julie Taymor-created production, LAO is importing one from San Francisco Opera.
Icelandic baritone Tmas Tmasson makes his company in the title role,
Elisabete Matos (also in her LAO debut) will portray Senta and, most
interestingly, Jay Hunter Morris, who has sung the role of Siegfried in the
Met’s current Ring cycle to great
acclaim, returns as Erik.

 

Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella), which begins
March 23, 2013 and runs for six performances. Conlon conducts and, again,
rather than use its own previous production (which, unlike Taymor’s Flying Dutchman, was very well received
when it appeared in 2000) will import one, this time a co-production of Houston
Grand Opera and Gran Teatro de Liceu of Barcelona directed by Joan Font.
Perhaps it’s cheaper to rent than renovate.

 

Puccini’s Tosca opens May 18 and plays
(somewhat surprisingly for such a warhorse) for just six dates. Sondra
Radvanovsky will perform the title role and Domingo conducts. Again bypassing
its own production, this one will come from Houston Grand Opera, first seen in
2007.

 

The company will also present soprano Rene Fleming and
mezzo-soprano Susan Graham in recital on Jan. 19 but at Walt Disney Concert
Hall rather than the Pavilion, which will host all of the operas.

 

LAO also formally announced several new pricing initiatives.
The company is remapping the Pavilion’s seating plan to make more seats
available at “affordable” prices (described in the release as $99 or less). The
statement also said that the number of tickets priced at $50 or less has been
increased by 10 percent, although it did not give an actual number. LAO is also
instituting a program where seats are allocated for every performance for
students, seniors and “underserved groups” so they can attend at “minimal
cost.”

 

On the other side of the coin (literally and figuratively),
the company will institute a “demand-based pricing” system whereby when ticket
sales reach certain unspecified levels, prices will be reset upward (the
release used as an example popular Sunday matinee performances). However,
prices will not be lowered if a particular performance tanks in ticket sales
(although venues such as Gold Star often offer discounted ticket prices).
“Season subscribers will always pay the lowest ticket prices,” the release
emphasized, “at a discount from the base price.”

 

Subscriptions are now sale; single tickets will go on sale
later in the year. Information: www.laopera.com

_______________________

 

(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

Five-Spot: What caught my eye on February 9, 2012

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

______________________

 

Each Thursday, I list five events that pique my interest,
including (ideally) at least one with free admission (or, at a minimum, inexpensive
tickets). Here’s today’s grouping:

 

Tonight at 8 p.m.,
Zipper Hall, Los Angeles

Tuesday at 8 p.m. at
Huntington Library, San Marino

Camerata Pacifica

This traveling group (each concert plays in venues in four
different cities) brings its latest program to Zipper Hall at The Colburn
School in downtown Los Angeles tonight and to the Huntington Tuesday night. The
program is a mixture of old and new: John Harbison’s Variations for Clarinet, Violin and Piano; Sheng’s Seven Tunes Heard in China for Cello; Schuman’s
 Mrchenbilder (Fairy Tale Pictures), for Viola and Piano, Op. 113;
and Beethoven’s Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op.
11, Gassenhauer. Information: www.cameratapacifica.org

 

Saturday at 9:00
a.m. in local movie theatres

Metropolitan Opera in
HD: Wagner’s Gotterdamerung

If you’ve wondered what has caused all the kvetching
vis–vis the Met’s new Ring cycle,
here’s your chance to see the last part of the cycle: Gotterdamerung. The reviews have been generally negative not only
of this production but also pretty much of all four productions, although
there’s been lots of praise for Fabio Luisi’s work in the pit leading the Met
Orchestra. However, as we learned from Siegfried,
what comes across on the big screen may be quite different from the
experience in the Met. Personally, I’d vote for L.A. Opera’s production of
Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra (see below)
but if you’re a glutton for punishment, you have time to do both with dinner in
between. Also, take note that Gotterdamerung
runs six hours. An “Encore” date has not been announced. Information: www.metoperafamily.org

 

Saturday at 7:30
p.m. at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Los Angeles Opera:
Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra

Plcido Domingo performs the title role, which was written
for a baritone and fits Domingo’s voice at this stage of his career. James
Conlon conducts and gives a pre-concert lecture one hour before the
performance. Elijah Moshinsky directs this production from Royal Opera, Covent
Garden (Brian in Out West Arts has
one of his informative “10 Questions” features on Moshinsky HERE). There are
six other performances, beginning Wednesday. Information: www.laopera.com

 

Sunday at 7:00 p.m.
at Walt Disney Concert Hall

Los Angeles Master
Chorale: Bruckner and Stravinsky

Music Director Grant Gershon leads 115 members of his
Chorale and a wind orchestra in Anton Bruckner Mass in E Minor and the motet Os Justi, along with Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. Should be a real
treat in the Disney Hall acoustics.  Information: www.lamc.org

And the weekend’s
“free admission” program …

 

Sunday at 6 at St.
James Episcopal Church, Los Angeles

Edward Tipton, who from 1989-2010 was Canon of Music at the
American Cathedral in Paris and is now Minister of Music for St. John’s
Pro-Cathedral in Los Angeles, appears on St. James International Organ Laureate
Series. The recital will follow an Evensong service at 4:30 p.m. and will be
played on a historically important instrument (read about it HERE). The church
is located on Wilshire Blvd., two blocks west of Western Ave. and is reachable
via a short walk from the Metro Purple Line’s Wilshire/Western station. Information: www.saintjamesla.org

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(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.

STORY AND LINKS: Tim Mangan on Riccardo Muti — a definite “worth read”

By Robert D. Thomas

Music Critic

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

 

Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra are coming
to Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa next Friday (Feb. 17). Tim Mangan, the
Orange County Register’s classical music critic (when he’s not covering the
celebrity beat) has just posted an excellent article based on a phone interview
with Muti, the CSO’s music director, who will conduct the concert. Conductors
like Muti aren’t easy to corral for interviews but Tim really made the most of
his opportunity — I learned more about Muti from this article than almost any
I’ve read. Here’s a LINK.

 

Friday’s CSO program (sponsored by the Orange County
Philharmonic Society) is quite out of the ordinary for a tour concert: Pacific 231 by Swiss composer Arthur
Honegger (a piece based on trains); Alternative
Energy,
a new work by CSO Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates; and Franck’s
Symphony in D minor, once a repertory staple but now mostly languishing in obscurity.
Information: www.philharmonicsociety.org

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(c) Copyright 2012, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved.
Portions may be quoted with attribution.