Author Archives: Editor

Preview: ‘Le Salon de Musiques’ presents chamber music by Widor and Caplet, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Nov 11, 2012 (Highly Recommended)

Flutist Pamela Vliek Martchev.

At its most quintessentially French, Le Salon de Musiques pairs two rarities from late-19th-century Paris in what promises to be an afternoon of charming salon music. On the program are Charles-Marie Widor’s Suite for Flute and Piano, Op. 34, and André Caplet’s Quintet for Piano and Winds. Both pieces are representative of Le Salon’s theme this season of reviving beautiful Romantic and Neo-Romantic works that have fallen into obscurity. Read the rest of this entry


Creating Your Own Best Season

‘In the Red and Brown Water’ currently at the Fountain Theatre, is “Not To Be Missed”

How do you choose among the very best? L.A. Opening Nights offers a special service for a special audience. Here you will find bold and expert suggestions on the most promising of world-class L.A. classical music, opera, dance, and theatre events. This brutally short list of recommendations has been painstakingly created by our contributors so you can cut through the myriad of local options and book your own finest evenings well in advance.

Preview: ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ L.A. Theatre Works, Nov 15-18, 2012 (Highly Recommended)

Christina Calvit.

In honor of the classic novel’s 200th anniversary, LA Theatre Works presents Christina Calvit’s beloved adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It’s difficult to imagine a more influential novel than Jane Austen’s romantic masterpiece. It’s spawned countless adaptations, imitators, and of course, a worldwide network of devoted fans. A new rendition is ambitious at best – but then, Theatre Works isn’t known for shrinking from a challenge. This particular production, currently on tour, returns to L.A. on November 15. Read the rest of this entry

Preview: Hélène Grimaud in Recital, Disney Hall, Nov. 7, 2012 (No Recommendation)

Hélène Grimaud.

by James C. Taylor
L.A. Times

Hélène Grimaud does not back down. This has always been the case for the French pianist, who returns to Walt Disney Concert Hall for a solo recital on Wednesday, ever since she was the youngest student in her class at the Paris Conservatory and refused to perform pieces that didn’t interest her. (This rebelliousness may have rankled students and faculty, but it also landed her a recording contract during her second year, at age 15.) READ MORE…


Review: L.A. Master Chorale, ‘Organ Extravaganza,’ Oct. 21, 2012

By Michelle Green Willner
L.A. Opening Nights

Conductor Grant Gershon and the LA Master Chorale promised an “Organ Extravaganza” for its 49th season opener—a title which might put any audience in fear of a loud, obvious and “churchy” evening. Those, like this reviewer, who are always wary of organs, might have hesitated.

The music we heard, however, was as cerebral and challenging as it was big and exuberant. And while the selections were all religious, they were far from churchy. The organ added to the efforts of the Master Chorale—surely one of the world’s finest vocal institutions—without drowning it in “extravaganza.” Read the rest of this entry

‘Build,’ at The Geffen, Oct. 9-Nov. 18, 2012 (No Recommendation)

Thomas Sadoski and Peter Katona in Michael Golamco’s world premiere, ‘Build’ at the Geffen Playhouse. Directed by Will Frears.

by Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times

Gather round, 21st century dramatists. Here’s a little addendum to your playwriting handbook: Protagonists in bathrobes are not your friend. This insight, hereby given the status of a dramatic verity, was born out of seeing “Build,” Michael Golamco’s new indie-spirited play at the Geffen Playhouse’s Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater. Set in the not-too-distant future, the work revolves around a depressed video game designer holed up in his Palo Alto home in his bedclothes. READ MORE…


Review: ‘In the Red and Brown Water,” Fountain Theatre, Thru Dec. 16, 2012 (Not To Be Missed)

From the production.

By Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times

Beyond the fact that it is sensational, the Fountain Theatre’s production of “In the Red and Brown Water” by Tarell Alvin McCraney is important for two reasons: It introduces Los Angeles audiences to a dramatic poet in the process of discovering his singular voice and it shows how magnificently one of L.A.’s better small theaters can serve bold new talent. READ MORE…

Also read BackStage Review


Review: ‘Seminar’, Ahmanson, Oct 10 – Nov 18 (Not To Be Missed)

Jeff Goldblum.

By Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times

Masochism is the chief prerequisite for a private writing seminar with Leonard, the fearsome teacher, writer and editor conducting a mini reign of terror in Theresa Rebeck’s Broadway comedy “Seminar,” now at the Ahmanson Theatre. Played by Jeff Goldblum as a snarling narcissist in designer sportswear better suited to someone half his age, this pedagogical terrorist has READ MORE…


Review: ‘The Rivals,’ Actor’s Gang, Thru Nov. 17, 2012 (Worth the Risk)

From the production.

By Charles McNulty
L.A. Times

Let’s congratulate the Actors’ Gang for at least bringing some novelty to our classical repertory. When American theater companies feel an itch to revive a work by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, they inevitably reach for “The School for Scandal,” which has come to epitomize that post-Restoration genre known as 18th century comedy. “The Rivals,” Sheridan’s first play, is a more unwieldy affair, but READ MORE….



Review: ‘Krapp’s Last Tape,’ Kirk Douglas Theatre, thru Nov 4, 2012 (Not To Be Missed)

John Hurt with tape machine.

By Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times 

With his shock of silver-gray hair, his face etched by time with the lean expressiveness of a Giacometti sculpture and his soulful eyes registering every fleeting hurt and happiness, John Hurt bears a striking resemblance to Samuel Beckett in the distinguished British actor’s magnificent rendition of “Krapp’s Last Tape” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. READ MORE…


Preview: ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’ The National Ballet of Canada, Oct 19-Oct 21, 2012 The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Highly Recommended)

Sonia Rodriguez in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” with the National Ballet of Canada.

By Joseph Carman
Los Angeles Times

The Mad Hatter executes demonic time steps, his tap dancing signifying his mindless chatter. An enormous dismembered Cheshire Cat floats through space like a Japanese bunraku puppet. The Queen of Hearts glides threateningly around the stage in a bulbous, hard-framed, heart-shaped gown. Playing cards projected onto a scrim shuffle in concert with a full corps de ballet. And then there’s Alice, READ MORE….


Preview: L.A. Chamber Orchestra, Dvořák, Copland, Adams, and Gershwin, Alex Theatre & Royce Hall, Dec 8-9, 2012 (Highly Recommended)

Aaron Copland.

by Yu Tang
L.A. Opening Nights

This looks to be a terrific program combining jazz and dance-inspired classics. Jeffrey Kahane conducts the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra from the piano in Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue. Also on the diverse program are three further works: in contrast to the Rhapsody’s jazzy roots in the Roaring Twenties, Dvořák’s Serenade for Winds, Op. 44, draws on Czech folk music for inspiration; while Copland’s Appalachian Spring evokes the American frontier. John Adams’ Son of Chamber Symphony, which had its premiere in 2007, is musically, as well as nominally, similar to Read the rest of this entry

Review: ‘November’ by Mamet at the Taper, Sept 26-Nov 4, 2012 (No Recommendation)

Ed Begley, Jr. is President Charles Smith and Felicity Huffman plays his speechwriter.

Editor’s Note: Based on initial reviews, we have removed ‘November’ from our recommendations.

By Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times

Charles Smith is just your average, bumbling occupant of the Oval Office. Up for reelection, he doesn’t stand much of a chance of gaining a second term. His wife is already asking whether she can take one of the White House couches she had reupholstered when they leave. Even those seeking favors are apt to remind him that his poll numbers are “lower than Gandhi’s cholesterol.” Read more…



Review: Andsnes and Dudamel Play Beethoven, L.A. Phil, Disney Hall, Oct 4-7 (Highly Recommended)

Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.

By Mark Swed
Los Angeles Times

With Obama and Romney on the brain, it becomes next to impossible a day after the presidential debates not to perceive the candidates in all walks of life. The Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes — who participated in an all-Beethoven concert with Los Angeles Philharmonic Thursday night in Walt Disney Concert Hall — are not exactly stand-ins for American politicians. Read more….

BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 1 (10/4 and 10/5)
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 3 (10/6 and 10/7)
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”

Review: ‘Cymbeline’ at A Noise Within, through Nov. 18, 2012 (No Recommendation)

By George Downing
L.A. Opening Nights

It’s not uncommon in the theatre, film and television worlds of today to view projects where the actors appear to not trust their material. To be sure, there’s plenty of writing out there is untrustworthy, substandard and just plain atrocious. There are instances as well where performers and directors, for whatever reason, run roughshod over good writing. In many cases of the latter, it’s also a lack of faith in the audience’s capability to understand text written before they (performers and audience) were born.

Once you realize you are watching an example of stage actors not trusting their material, you know it’s likely to be a long evening. When the untrusted author’s name is Shakespeare, it seems downright criminal. Read the rest of this entry