Monthly Archives: April 1998

The Misery of Il Trovatore

Everything that’s right about romantic Italian opera, and everything that’s wrong, comes into focus in Verdi’s Il Trovatore. The plotline cries out for parody, and has been handsomely treated in that regard by the Brothers Marx in A Night at the Opera and by Gilbert and Sullivan with their theme of baby-switching in both HMS […]

Monstrous Disgrace

There was a tingle in the news. UCLA’s Royce Hall, shut for over four years of earthquake repairs and retrofitting, was to reopen its doors with a most newsworthy event: a major collaboration between those blithe, innovative spirits, director/designer/poet Robert Wilson and maximally renowned minimalist composer Philip Glass, together again but for the first time […]

The Gardiner Variety

Several weeks ago I wrote off the symphonies of Robert Schumann as some of music’s “most honorable failures.” Esa-Pekka Salonen had performed the “Rhenish” Symphony in an acceptable but hardly stirring manner – as he had the “Spring” Symphony a year before – and I came away convinced that, for all its melodic strengths, this […]

P.D.Q. on the Q.T.

Every year around this time, the excellent local ensemble called the Armadillo String Quartet puts on a concert of music by its anointed composer-in-nonresidence, Peter Schickele. Peter comes out from New York for the concert; sometimes – as a pretty good pianist – he mixes in with the string players, and he also delivers program […]


One thing is certain: Royce Hall, grand architectural landmark on the UCLA campus, 1,829-seat concert hall of matchless comfort, beauty and sonic amenities, reopens next Wednesday. After four years and three months of repair, reconstruction and retrofitting in the wake of the Northridge earthquake – four years in which ticket holders for the lavish offerings […]

Home of the Brave

“Now that’s music,” whispered the man behind me to his companion, as Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic launched into the merry A-major opening bars of Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony. After a stiff dose of forward-marching works from his own century to start off last week’s program, my neighbor had finally achieved heartsease in this […]