Mahler's 8th Symphony performed by the Bolivar and LA Phil symhonies, soloists, and a chorus of
1000 from Venezuela's La Sistema was an historical, primarily enjoyable event.
The chorus sang gloriously, sometimes overpoweringly. In Part One the chorus often outsang the orchestra. In Part Two there was a better balance of sound. The female soloists, unlike the males, used the microphones in front of them, so could be heard much more clearly.
The cameramen in LA Phil concerts need better direction to focus on orchestral musicians who are soloing; they sometimes miss their target.
But, first, I did not expect an hour of introductory conversation and a twenty minute intermission before the concert began. Next time I view the LA Phil I won't be in a hurry to be in my seat on time!
Overall, a positive experience that could have been better.
The Metropolitan Opera's production of Philip Glass' Satyagraha was an exercise in tedious
repetition. The vocal line is sung entirely in vowel-heavy Sanskrit, with moralistic phrases from the Bhagavad Gita repeated over and over endlessly. As such the libretto presents no plot, there is no dialogue between principals and no relationships are developed. Instrumen-tation presents repetitive scales in Glass' minimalist mode. Movement by both principals and chorus is done e-v-e-r s-o s-l-o-w-l-y. I do not fault the singing, and praise the effort that the chorus and principals made to memorize this lengthy work.
The "Ha Ha Ha" chorus could give one a headache. Croft as Gandhi had little solo singing outside Act I and the final scene which consisted of endlessly repeating the same 8 note ascending scale.
The Skills Ensemble's contribution was excellent, tho even they moved in slow motion, and their stage crossing unrolling wrapping tape and later bundling it was a puzzle.
The Met orchestra under Fabio Luisi played Wagner's glorious music wonderfully. The singer/actors
sang radiantly or dramatically as appropriate. Special mention must be made for the stand-in tenor, a young Texan, who sang remarkably well!
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