Thursday, May 27, 2010

Marvelous Macabre

Was lucky enough to get a ticket for the New York Philharmonic's "fully staged" production of György Ligeti's opera "The Grand Macabre" tonight. Although most of the Philharmonic's subscribers decided not to come, all three performances are sold out. As well they should be! The opera itself is weird but mesmerizing, the performances were stellar, and the production turned Avery Fisher Hall into an avant garde space. It felt like - well - it felt like an old European opera house taken over by insanely gifted young upstarts. Which, in a sense, is what was happening. "The Grand Macabre" was the culmination of young Alan Gilbert's first season as Music Director, and augurs well for the future. Perhaps he'll do for the New York Philharmonic what Esa-Pekka Salonen did for the Los Angeles Philharmonic: tackling the daunting classics of 20th century classical music, and in the process building a 21st century audience. (Pictures)

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