Barry Gold, LA Phil cellist, stands in front of the Arc de Triomphe in a city he knows well thanks in part to his tenure with the orchestra.
An American in Paris is, of course, an iconic and oh-so-familiar composition by Gershwin. But this magnificent city of lights and romance is currently being seduced by the magnificent musicians of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the LA Master Chorale in what surely will be a overpowering performance of John Adams' new masterpiece: The Gospel According to the Other Mary.
| Posted by Nathan Medley, countertenor in "The Gospel According to the Other Mary" in Lucerne
Nathan Medley (far right) consoles Mary Magdalene (Kelley O'Connor) with his fellow countertenors (Daniel Bubeck and Brian Cummings) in a scene from John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary
Who knew John Adams could sound so good with a little extra cheese in the belly?
That's a random observation about performing The Gospel According to the Other Mary in Switzerland, sure. But, after our Lucerne experience, I can honestly say that "those hills were alive with the sound of music."
As we round the half way point of our tour and head onward to the discerning French it is a perfect moment for this kind of reflection. Two wonderful observations come to mind:
Samantha: Today was tiring! We had breakfast and headed toward Guildhall to have an improv session. It was really fun. We did a weird circle where we passed around noises then we composed a song together. It was from a Japanese fisherman folk song.
Isaac: Improv is something we could do at YOLA. Making small riffs as we go along. Eventually, we could make a great piece. We could make an official YOLA anthem for our orchestra.
Gustav Mahler used cowbells to depict bucolic life in the rural villages dotting the Alps and Richard Wagner finished the third act of his opera Tristan und Isolde in 1859 living in the very hotel I write this from, the Hotel Schweizerhof. He was so inspired by the incredible view from our hotel of Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus rising above Lake Luzern that in 1866 he bought a house down the street which is now a museum.
The KKL, seen from across Lake Lucerne.The hall was designed by architect Jean Nouvel, who is also designing installations for the LA Phil's production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in May.
The temptation to take the occasional personal day must be pretty fierce in Lucerne, what with the concert hall standing in the shadow of the Alps and all. Luckily, the hard-working members of the LA Phil's production team were nowhere near where they could see such natural beauty; rather, they were all toiling away inside the hall getting ready for tonight's performance of The Gospel According to the Other Mary.
The LA Times' Mark Swed sits down to speak with several YOLA musicians while on tour in London.
LA Times classical music critic and friend of the Phil Mark Swed traveled to London to take in all the happenings during the orchestra's International Residency at the Barbican Centre. But he, like many a hometown critic that travels with his local orchestra on tour, had seen all three of the programs that the orchestra was playing. If that's the case, what's a critic to do? What does he write about?
Well, if you're Swed, you write about the 10 YOLA students that traveled to London to take part in the Future Play Symposium. And, if you're Swed, you do a pretty amazing job of capturing the spirit of not only the event, but also the thoughts, words and feelings of its most important participants.
It isn't only our own young musicans of YOLA or those in London-based El Sistema-inspired programs that get to "Discover Dudamel" - it's a Swiss thing too! Our Music Director took time out from preparing for tonight's Lucerne performance of The Gospel According to the Other Mary to pose with 150 young musicians from the Lucerne nucleo this morning.
The stage at the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern (KKL) in Lucerne as the LA Phil crew prepares for today's performance of The Gospel According to the Other Mary.
The orchestra and some of the LA Phil staff had a much-needed free day in Lucerne yesterday, but, as you can see by the work being done onstage, that free day didn't quite extend all the way across the operation. After arriving in Lucerne on Monday, the crew had to unload the three trucks it took to move the equipment from London to Lucerne and get started straightaway with setup. No rest for the weary - but, in all honesty, that's why they're the best.