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Subject: A potted Magic Flute from the LA Philharmonic
From: James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:James Camner <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 8 Oct 2017 10:36:12 -0700

text/plain (58 lines)

Last night we saw a 'potted" Die Zauberflote from the LA Philharmonic.

The evening began with a performance of the Clarinet Concerto .K622 with
Martin Frost as the soloist. Frost played up a storm, but we couldn't hear
him that well from our balcony seats whereas we had no trouble hearing the
orchestra or the vocal soloists who followed.

After the intermission Gustavo Dudamel played extended excerpts from Die
Zauberflote. For some reason he omitted all of Sarastro's music as well as
other key selections including all of the choral music.

The performances by Julia Bullock (Pamina), Paul Appelby (Tamino), Elliot
Madore (Papageno), Vanessa Becerra)  and Jessica Pratt as The Queen of the
Night were excellent with Madore a standout as Papageno making a rich
character even though all dialogue and some of his music was omitted. I
hope I get to see him again. Jessica Pratt was one of a small handful of
Queens I've seen in person to sing the brutally difficult first aria "O
Zittre Nicht" cleanly and with expression.

Gustavo Dudamel conducted superbly, the orchestra was great as always and
so many wonderful details emerged including the Glockenspiel music which
sparkled in the amazing acoustics of  Walt Disney Concert Hall. The singers
cavorted on a well thought out platform behind the orchestra, the minimal
staging worked beautifully and the audience ate it up.

So why? Why go to all this trouble and just do a half-assed version of Die
Zauberflote? Why not do the whole opera, leave out the Clarinet concerto
and do it complete?

A friend of mine who is a top music critic (not many of those anymore!)
wrote to me that Dudamel has zero credibility in opera and if he's looking
for it, I don't think this helped. Even though what was there was was
splendid and even though the packed audience applauded long and loudly, we
felt cheated. We wanted more.

Here are two reviews:

Swed writes that Dudamel was "born" to conduct the Magic Flute and he may
be, so what is he waiting for?

James Camner

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