Category Archives: Musical America

TAN DUN

Suddenly Tan Dun is everywhere you look, everywhere you listen. In just the past few months audiences in Lisbon and Singapore have flocked to his large-scale orchestral works. His Water Passion After St. Matthew  reached its first American audiences last July,  at the Oregon Bach Festival in Eugene; it’s listed for a Brooklyn Academy of […]

Reich

“it is a principle of music to repeat the theme. Repeat and repeat again, as the pace mounts. The theme is difficult but no more difficult than the fact to be resolved.” William Carlos Williams, “The Orchestra” in Steve Reich’s “The Desert Music.” A Harlem teenager testifies on police brutality, and one phrase on tape […]

REVISE

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, […]

LOHENGRIN REVIEW

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 […]

L.A. STRAVINSKY FESTIVAL

Operating on the brave but often-challenged principle that an audience still exists for, and cares about, the music of the recent past, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s current “Focus on Igor Stravinsky” festival focusses broadly. Over four weeks ending March 12, there have been orchestral concerts, chamber-music events, discussions, symposiums and art shows; following the final […]

“GIULIO CESARE” AT THE L.A. OPERA

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 […]

An Energetic, Electric, Eclectic Orange

COSTA MESA, Calif. — When last we visited California’s Orange County, that high-property-value enclave just to the south (and far to the right) of Los Angeles, the Orange County Philharmonic Society’s first “Eclectic Orange” Festival had run its course. Local audiences may have seemed surprised at their having survived (and even derived a certain prickly […]

Eclectic Orange

When last we visited California’s Orange County, that high-property-value enclave just to the south – and far to the right – of Los Angeles, the OC Philharmonic Society’s first “Eclectic Orange” Festival had run its course. Local audiences may have seemed surprised at their having survived (and even derived a certain prickly pleasure) from a […]