Monthly Archives: September 2001

Answering Back

Large events demand large gestures. At the Hollywood Bowl, where Wynton Marsalis’ “joyous, affirmative” All Rise was already on the schedule, some oratory by Marsalis and Esa-Pekka Salonen refocused the work as a response to the horrible tragedies of two days before. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra rushed the Beethoven “Eroica” onto its opening program. […]


In the summer of 1979, in a madcap decision that I still don’t regret, I succumbed to the urge to go bicoastal. (The term, I think, had just been invented.) New York Magazine, whose music critic I had been from its founding, had just cloned itself on the West Coast, and I thought it might […]

BILLY BUDD REVIEW (aka This Budd’s for You)

“Billy Budd” was the appropriate finale for the Los Angeles Opera’s 14th season, a reminder that of all repertories sampled by departing founder and general director Peter Hemmings during his tenure, the operas of Benjamin Britten have consistently earned highest acclaim. This was the fourth work to be heard; “Peter Grimes,” scheduled for next October, […]


Nobody has ever suggested that running an opera company – let alone two companies the width of  a continent apart – might be for Plácido Domingo an easygoing diversion. Nobody need be all that startled, therefore, at the few dark rumblings around the edges of the glory at the start of the Domingo era at […]

Off and Running, Maybe

Photo by Ken Howard Nobody said it would be easy. Barely into its season of reincarnation, the L.A. Opera has already found its path strewn with boulders. The New York tragedy contributed; the Lohengrin opening, on the Wednesday after the Tuesday, had to be postponed. (A makeup performance is scheduled for October 1.) The opera’s […]


If anyone ever advised Plácido Domingo that running an opera company might be an easy and well-oiled undertaking, last week’s events around his West Coast branch – also known as Los Angeles Opera – were surely enough to set him straight. His new season, his first actually as the company’s head and decision-maker, began smoothly […]

Pick Dam

The Placido Domingo era at the Los Angeles Opera got off to a sensational start this week, and how! In press conference after press conference, the incoming artistic director/tenorissimo had promised that attention would be paid in areas where scant attention formerly existed. The opening-night “Pique Dame” marked the start of the fulfillment of those […]

The Annual Mozart Love Letter

Mozart’s music didn‘t merely fill the Hollywood Bowl last week; it fulfilled it. The vast space, in which the banalities of Rachmaninoff, etc., rattled around (to the delight of some) on other weeks this summer, seemed exactly the right size for the two programs of profuse small miracles conducted by Peter Oundjian. The Philharmonic itself […]