Monthly Archives: February 2004

The Gang of Four Invades Orange County

There was a time in China, Chen Yi remembers, when playing Paganini on your violin – or Mozart or Beethoven – could land you in a labor prison, with your instrument confiscated or burned. “I was about 13,” she says, “and I remember that I had to play with heavy blankets over the windows, and […]

Angel Wings

In Orange County last November, a production of Madama Butterfly opened on a stageful of bustle: a consular office in old Nagasaki with secretaries at typewriters, young Japanese clerks pushing papers around, girls singing “Quanti fiori!” with nary a flower in sight, Lieutenant Pinkerton and marriage broker Goro hot and heavy in negotiations – all […]

Maestro Gatti Takes the Fifth

Tchaikovsky at Royce Hall, Schumann at Disney: After three weeks of Berlioz’s hectoring, perhaps it was time to ride the warhorses for a couple of nights. Last week they ran sleek and handsome. It’s easy enough, in my line of work, to face an evening’s gig with an inevitable “oh no, not the Tchaikovsky Fifth […]

If This Be Madness

Photo courtesy of L.A. Philharmonic The sounds of Hector Berlioz and the shape of Walt Disney Concert Hall are a perfect match. It was fitting, therefore, that the Philharmonic’s three wondrous weeks celebrating this most certifiably mad of certifiably sane composers should thunder to their close last weekend with a dizzying photomontage: a 90 or […]