Category Archives: Worth the Risk

No guarantees…but an intriguing possibility for your schedule.

Review: ‘The Bald Soprano,’ at the City Garage Theatre thru Dec 23, 2012 (Worth the Risk)

David E. Frank in “The Bald Soprano” at City Garage (Paul M. Rubenstein).

By Charlotte Stoudt
​L.A. Times

It looks like “Mad Men,” but you’d never catch Don Draper at this shindig. The City Garage staging of Eugene Ionesco’s midcentury absurdist farce “The Bald Soprano: A Christmas Anti-Play” has all the ingredients for intoxication but goes down like one of Sally’s Shirley Temples – it’s a classic but lacks a certain kick. This is the world of low-profile sofas, smoking jackets and the screeching charm of the bourgeoisie. Somewhere in the Parisian suburbs READ MORE…



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: 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: ‘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….



Preview: Salonen and the Philharmonia, ‘Wozzeck,’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, Nov 13, 2012 (Worth the Risk)

Esa-Pekka Salonen.

by Yu Tang
L.A. Opening Nights

Alban Berg’s Wozzeck is an opera based on true life.

Almost 200 years ago, a man killed his lover. His guilt was evident, but his sanity wasn’t. The court eventually determined that Johann Christian Woyzeck, an impoverished former soldier, was sane enough to be convicted of murder and sentenced him to a public beheading.

Woyzeck would inspire Georg Büchner’s 1837 play, which Alban Berg first saw in 1914 and immediately decided to adapt into an opera. But World War I intervened and Berg was called to military service. In a letter to his wife, he wrote: “There is a bit of me in his character, since I have been spending these war years just as dependent on people I hate, have been in chains Read the rest of this entry

Review: ‘The Two Foscari’ at L.A. Opera, Sept 15 – Oct 9, 2012 (Worth-The-Risk)

Placido Domingo as Francesco Foscari (Photo: Robert Millard)

By Marc Porter Zasada
L.A. Opening Nights

(Note a version of this review previously appeared in L.A. Downtown News)

We are heading toward the 2013 bicentennial of the birth of Giuseppi Verdi, the composer who did much to evolve opera into the intensely personal and emotional art form we know today. Around the world, productions are being readied and celebrations mounted.

Last week, local fans were excited by the chance of seeing The Two Foscari, a rarely-performed work from Verdi’s early period—number six of an astounding 29 operas. For the less-indoctrinated, it may have seemed an odd choice to open a season. While Foscari is full of rich and rewarding music, shot through with unmistakable Verdi genius, it has its evident weaknesses. Read the rest of this entry

Review: ‘Onassis’ at the Stella Adler Theatre, Through Oct. 21, 2012 (Worth The Risk)

Anthony Skordi in “Onassis” at the Stella Adler Theatre / photo by John Eder

By David Maurer
Culture Spot LA

Savvy Angelenos know that there better be a damn good reason to pilot themselves to Hollywood and Highland, that nexus of traffic, tourists and tackiness. Well, here’s one: go to the Stella Adler Theatre to witness Anthony Skordi as Aristotle Onassis. The world premiere “Onassis,” directed by Bruce Katzman, is as remarkable a one-man show as you are likely to see this year…READ MORE


Review: ‘Helen’ at the Getty Villa, Sept. 6-29, 2012 (Worth The Risk)

From the production at the Getty Villa

By Charles McNulty
Los Angeles Times

Just a few years after writing his antiwar masterpiece, “The Trojan Women,” Euripides was even more despondent about the reckless imperialist course of Athenian foreign policy. His response wasn’t a louder shriek of lament but a rollicking romantic melodrama — escapist fare, really, but with a radical Euripidean twist. Read more…

Hot Tip: Classical Revolution L.A. Happy Hour in Silver Lake, Sept 1 (Worth The Risk)

The casual/classical ambiance at a March performance sponsored by Classical Revolution L.A. in a local coffee house.

Why It’s Worth the Risk: How often does someone find a hip new way to present chamber music? Classical Revolution LA’s Happy Hour Series will bring exceptional musicians to a little bar in Silver Lake on the first Saturday of every month. On September 1st they kick off the season with the flute and percussion duo, FlusSion, and the Revolution Wind Quintet.  Coming up on October 6th is a concert of music by the Emmy Award-Winning composer, Stephen Cohn.


LA’s Happy Hour with FlusSion
When  Saturday, September 1st, 7-9pm
Where  Silverlake Lounge 2906 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Admission  Free, Donations Accepted
For more information


Review: John Adams ‘Gospel According to the Other Mary,’ May 31, June 1, 2, 3, L.A. Philharmonic (Worth The Risk)

John Adams.

Mark Swed
Los Angeles Times
June 2, 2012

Many of John Adams’ scores pursue the big ideas. His subjects have included the U.S. relationship with China, Middle Eastern terrorism, the L.A. earthquake and riots, caring for the dying, the Nativity, the bomb. On Thursday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall, he tackled perhaps the biggest of all when the Los Angeles Philharmonic premiered Adams’ “The Gospel According to the Other Mary. READ MORE


Review: ‘Cold Dream Colour’ at REDCAT, May 16-20, 2012 (Worth the Risk)

By Laura Bleiberg
Los Angeles Times

Visceral expressionism and a prodigious visual beauty coalesced in “Cold Dream Colour,” a dance-theater homage to seminal Irish artist Louis le Brocquy. It received its U.S. premiere at a sold-out performance Wednesday evening (continuing through Sunday). An international gathering of dance artists, designers and musicians calling themselves the Arcane Collective animated the REDCAT performance box through meditatively unreeling movement and a soundscape of plaintive guitar strumming, alternating with drums and bells (from U2’s The Edge and composer Paul Chavez).  READ MORE…



Review: ‘La Bohème’ at L.A. Opera, May 12-June 6 2012 (Worth the Risk)

Stephen Costello and Ailyn Perez. Photo: L.A. Opera.

By Marc Porter Zasada
Executive Editor, L.A. Opening Nights

A version of this review first appeared in L.A. Downtown News

Somehow, La Bohème always works.  It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s mangled by  regional opera, transformed into a  Broadway play, or mismanaged by a leading company.  It’s not just the music, but the balanced story that always clicks.  And then of course, there’s that memory of fickle young love, always ready to awaken in our souls.

Whatever the  reason,  Giacamo Puccini managed to perform his magic at L.A. Opera once again last week, despite a lackluster set of principals and some weak directing . Again we found ourselves in the garrets of Paris. Again we fell prey to the foolishness of youth. Read the rest of this entry

Review: ‘Crescent City’ a ‘Hyperopera,’ Atwater Crossing, May 10-27 2012 (Worth-The-Risk)

By Mark Swed
Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2012

At the world premiere Thursday night of Anne LeBaron’s darkly mysterious, troubling yet weirdly exuberant and wonderfully performed new opera “Crescent City,” a young Reveler in the production frolicked a few feet from where I was sitting on a folding chair along the perimeter of the experimental art space, Atwater Crossing. She wore a skirt fashioned out of the Arts & Books section of this newspaper, and she was close enough that I could read a few crumpled lines. READ MORE…

Review: ‘In Paris’ at the Broad with Baryshnikov, April 11-21 2012 (Worth the Risk)

Anna Sinyakina and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

By Marc Porter Zasada
with Sarah Spitz
L.A.  Opening Nights

In Paris, the  play now onstage at the Broad, does not star the great dancer, Mikhail Baryshnikov, though he is in front of our eyes almost every minute of the production. And it does not star the famous Anna Sinyakina, though she portrays the woman with whom he falls in love. And the plot itself does not, as advertised, concern a White Russian general and a Russian waitress in exile in Paris during the 1930s.  No, In Paris is about two entirely other people: director Dmitry Krymov and designer Maria Tregubova; and the star of the show is named ‘Stagecraft.’ It is a tale about lighting, projection, stage business, costumes, and big photographic cutouts Read the rest of this entry

Review: Ballet Preljocaj’s ‘Snow White’ at the Music Center, Mar 23 – 25, 2012 (Worth the Risk)

Ballet Preljocaj’s 'Snow White' at the Music Center.

By Laura Bleiberg
Los Angeles Times, March 25, 2012

Ballet Preljocaj’s “Snow White,” seen Friday at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, was Grimm indeed, with the ballet hewing to the fairy tale’s original ending of macabre justice for the evil Queen: Forcibly strapped into coal-fired iron shoes, she danced to her death.

Such retribution was to be expected from French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj, whose imagination is far more simpatico with the Brothers Grimm than with Walt Disney. His 25-member company from Aix-en-Provence has presented a diverse repertory at local theaters since 1998.  Read more….