Stories » What if someone tried to take the HB: Tchaikovsky spectacular seriously? / LA Times

Top 10 for Aug

What if someone tried to take the HB: Tchaikovsky spectacular seriously? / LA Times

Bookmark and Share

More than any other Los Angeles Philharmonic music director, maybe more than any other conductor before, Gustavo Dudamel loves the Hollywood Bowl. And he probably loves Tchaikovsky - the favorite composer of his late mentor, José Antonio Abreu - the most, as well. Even so, the Bowl's annual Tchaikovsky Spectacular, which Dudamel led in an incomparably spectacular fashion Friday night (and repeated Saturday), is no time for such sergeants. It's the fireworks that have made this an annual sellout sensation. The formula remains unchanged since Zubin Mehta led the first Tchaikovsky Spectacular in 1969. Stick to the most popular Tchaikovsky, then let loose the fireworks for the "1812 Overture," replete with marching band.

I, on the other hand, as Karen Monson wrote in these pages, reviewing the 1969 Spectacular: "Five airplanes … babies crying; people screaming somewhere in the hills … and one unidentified hooting object." The best way to deal with all that has been to play up the cheesy factor. At this late date, camp works best. Conductor and soloist aren't what fill the seats, and this is one occasion where it is legal for the orchestra to use autopilot. But what if - just a hypothetical - someone tried to take it seriously?

READ THE FULL LA Times ARTICLE