Category Archives: October 2012

Review: Mehta, Yuja Wang and the Israel Philharmonic, Walt Disney Hall, Oct 30, 2012

Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

By Mark Swed
L.A. Times

There was no mention of Sandy at the Israel Philharmonic’s concert in Walt Disney Concert Hall Tuesday night. It wouldn’t have hurt to play a little something in solidarity of the millions dealing with the storm’s devastation, the Israelis having just appeared at Carnegie Hall last week. Then again, there was something comforting in an uncompromisingly traditional concert at which READ MORE…

Review: ‘Seminar,’ with Jeff Goldblum, Ahmanson Theatre (Not to be Missed) and ‘A Bolt from the Blue’ (No Recommendation)

Jeff Goldblum.

by Steven Leigh Morris
LA Weekly

The essay “A Bolt From the Blue,” which opens neurologist Oliver Sacks’ 2007 book Musicophilia, is the story of Tony Cicoria, an orthopedic surgeon in upstate New York who was struck by lightning in 1994. This would seem to be the story that inspired Kathryn Walat’s new play Creation, commissioned by Yale Rep and developed at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and at Pasadena’s Theatre @ Boston Court, where it’s now playing.

Explains Sacks in a 2007 interview in Harper’s: READ MORE

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Review: Harding, Capuçon and the LA Phil Perform Korngold and Mahler, Disney Hall, Oct 26-28

Conductor Daniel Harding.

By Mark Swed
LA Times

You can never have too much Mahler, most Mahler freaks believe. We trust our faith but seldom test it. The massive symphonies and disquieting song cycles are musically and emotionally bold statements that remain special-occasion music, even with the composer having entered the standard READ MORE…

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

John Hurt with his tape machine.

by Steven Leigh Morris

LA Weekly

Let’s not mince words, because Samuel Beckett doesn’t. In the Irish dramatist’s monodrama Krapp’s Last Tape, at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, John Hurt is READ MORE…

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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…

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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

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Review: ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,’ National Ballet of Canada, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Oct 19-21, 2012

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

By Lewis Segal
L.A. Times

The search for a warm-weather “Nutcracker” continues with “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Christopher Wheeldon’s three-act dance fantasy, which the National Ballet of Canada brought to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Friday in its U.S. premiere, beginning a five-performance run. Like the Russian Christmas classic, the new work (co-commissioned by Britain’s Royal Ballet) begins at a party for adults, involves its child-heroine in dreamlike changes of scale and battles with bizarre READ MORE…

Review: Ticciati Conducts Vogt and LA Phil, Sibelius, Rachmaninoff, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Oct 19-21, 2012

Conductor Robin Ticciati.

By Mark Swed
L.A. Times

In March 2010, Robin Ticciati, a 26-year-old British wonder, made his debut conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A Simon Rattle protégé, Ticciati was at the time a newly appointed music director of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and was said, perhaps, to be the next Dudamel. Since then his career has continued to rocket, as every year he adds more prestigious READ MORE…

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…

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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….

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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…

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Hot Tip: Los Angeles Master Chorale Opens With ‘Organ Extravaganza,’ Disney Hall, Sunday, 7pm, Oct 21, 2012 (Highly Recommended)

The Los Angeles Master Chorale

by Thomas May
Program annotator for the L.A. Master Chorale

There was a time when the mere phrase “modern music” could, Pavlov style, instantly trigger a reaction of fear and foreboding. It seemed that for composers to be suitably au courant, they had to descend deep into the angst-filled abyss. Yet in a program consisting entirely of pieces written in the 20th and 21st centuries — all except for three of them by living composers — the Master Chorale reaffirms music’s unique capacity to travel in “the other direction.” Hardly limited to the dark side of the human condition, music can just as potently voice our aspirations to rise up to something higher, to be borne aloft by feelings of joy and awe. READ MORE…

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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….

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Review: L.A. Chamber Orchestra Play Ravel, Beethoven, Norman and Matheson, Alex Theater, Oct 6, 2012

Jeffrey Kahane, musical director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

by Rosemary McGuinness
L.A. Opening Nights

The underlying connection between the work of Ravel, Beethoven, and rising composers Andrew Norman and James Matheson may not have been immediately apparent to those attending the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Saturday evening concert at the Alex. And afterwards, Concert-goers might be forgiven for thinking they had attended three different concerts, each conjuring an entirely different emotional response.

Jeffrey Kahane offered a spirited, utterly endearing rendition of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major; and Augustin Hadelich gave us a sublimely effortless outpouring of beauty in the Beethoven Violin Concerto. Unfortunately, the perfectly good silence between these works were instead filled by two unimpressive contemporary offerings: Norman’s “The Great Swiftness” and Matheson’s “True South.”

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