Monthly Archives: February 2001

Cleopatra Takes a Bath

In 48 B.C. or thereabouts, some kind of hanky-panky may or may not have occurred between Julius Caesar, conqueror of Egypt, and Cleopatra, claimant to that country‘s throne. Caesar was 52 at the time; Cleopatra was 20. Several centuries later, George Bernard Shaw, and after him Cecil B. De Mille, dealt with that liaison in […]


Handel has earned his place —  a century late, perhaps, but decisively. The most convincing of the old arguments, that a world enlightened by more benign attitudes toward surgery had therefore cut itself off from the requisite singers for this repertory, has been laid to rest. Promotion for the Los Angeles Opera’s “Giulio Cesare” made […]

Brain Waves

When Marino Formenti gave his first piano recital at LACMA’s Bing Theater last April, there were something like 50 people scattered through the 600-seat hall — the usual turnout, in other words, for a new-music program at the Museum. Two weeks ago, for the first of Formenti‘s three concerts this year, the hall was nearly […]

Loving Ludwig

On a rainy night last week I fell in love with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Really, I mean, in love. I heard the first drumbeats as if they came from my own throbbing temples; the opening music for winds was smooth, elegant, angelic. (Has anyone written a book about Beethoven‘s use of the bassoon? Someone should.) […]

Adams the Accessible

Threaded like a litany though the recent writing about John Adams — of which there has been considerable, local and national — is the proclamation of him as the most “accessible” of contemporary composers. Surely the term has the ring of truth, along with an undertone of danger. “Accessibility” is often confused with “easy listening,” […]