Hollywood Bowl in August, Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 and Verdi: Aida and Requiem 8/15/13

August 15, 2013

First, please forgive me to write those 3 amazing programs all together in one blog. LA Summer tradition is to attend Hollywood Bowl to experience “Music under Stars” with beautiful cool breeze, possible with wine too.

I attended Tuesday August 6 for Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1. Helene Grimaud is one of the leading pianists in her generation, and she showed her superb musicianship last week with LA Phil conducted by James Gaffigan. The program was Beethoven: Coriolan Overture, Strauss: Don Juan, and Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1. I really loved this programing. Each piece is so different from others, but is individual and crafted well in each way. Of course LA Phil sounded great on each piece, and Grimaud was so musical, powerful, beautiful, and confident. This concerto is pretty demanding, and her pianistic skill was above it. Brahms wrote to Clara Schumann about the tender slow movement of Concerto no. 1, “I am painting a gentle portrait of you,”. Yes, it was so beautiful.

This week is Verdi/Dudamel/LA Phil, Aida on Sunday 11th, and Requiem on Tuesday and Thursday 13th and 15th. First of all the casts in Aida were amazing, Liudmyla Monastyska as Aida, Jorge de Leon as Radames, Michelle DeYoung as Amneris, Eric Owen as Amonastro,  and Los Angeles Master Chorale. Monastyska is very skillful mastered all of vocal difficulty, high to low. Her voice is rich and vervetty, and emotionally she was really Aida. Her rival, Amneris, was sang by DeYoung, and she portoraied Amneris with amazing musicianship. Her vocal skill is also fantastic. Under Dudamel Verdi’s famous story of ill-fated lovers in ancient Egypy was brought to Hollywood Bowl in 2013. The opera was in a concert version so there was no actual acting or background, but I almost felt those were not needed because of their strong performance. I was captured from the beginning to the end. Bravo!!

Verdi Festival continued to “Requiem” at Hollywood Bowl. I attended on Tuesday 13th. Again soloists were fabulous, Julianna Di Giacomo, soprano, Michelle DeYoung, mezzo, Vittorio Grigolo, tenor, Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, bass, and Los Angeles Master Chorale as Chorus. Verdi wrote this monumental work to honor Alessandro Manzoni for his artistic talent and his moral force. Verdi’s Requiem is very dramatic,  expressive, powerful, and lyrical, and Tuesday night’s performance was so perfect, Dudamel, LA Phil, soloists, LA Master Chorale!! Except….. you may have already heard that there was major problem in recording/video tech. “Requiem” will be on PBS in future and possible DVD release so there were many equipment brought in Hollywood Bowl. I understand they were not using their usual Hollywood Bowl sound/video system.  Unfortunately we experienced unsophisticated screen pictures/sub titles, and noticeable noise when the camera broke at the beginning of the concert. Before the concert Dudamel told the audience to be a part of music making for silence so the audience was really quiet! I hope they can fix those problems from Thursday’s concert. But again the music making was something very special. Dudamel was conducting without the score. How can someone remember orchestra, chorus, solos for 3 hours?? Because he is Dudamel! Bravo to everybody!


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