All stories by Mark Swed on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Review: Disney Hall breathes back to life, courtesy of Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra by Mark Swed

The first notes heard again in the long-quieted Disney Hall were a slow, soft upward harp arpeggio, each pitch a haunting, crystalline moment.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 12:00PM
Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Review: L.A. Opera is first in the U.S. to return to its home stage. Emotions flow by Mark Swed

Tremendous singing propels L.A. Opera's return to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Stravinsky's tough, timely "Oedipus Rex."

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 05:47AM
Friday, June 4, 2021

How Philip Glass turns the circus into opera that's magical and profound by Mark Swed

Philip Glass' new 'Circus Days and Nights' is the latest example of the composer's operas proving to be a prime source of experimentation during the pandemic.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 10:23PM
Sunday, May 30, 2021

Gustavo Dudamel and Frank Gehry give YOLA's new Inglewood concert hall a sound check by Mark Swed

We listen in on the first acoustical test of the new Beckmen YOLA Center in Inglewood, which promises to be revolutionary.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 04:44PM
Monday, May 17, 2021

Review: 'Like a resurrection,' Gustavo Dudamel brings the Hollywood Bowl back to life by Mark Swed

With a wrenching tribute to "all the beautiful souls" killed by COVID-19, the L.A. Phil performs a stirring free concert for frontline workers.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 09:35AM
Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Review: L.A. gets its live opera back. What POP proved on an outdoor stage near Highland Park by Mark Swed

Pacific Opera Project's production of Leonard Bernstein's "Trouble in Tahiti" is the city's first major live opera show that's not a drive-in event.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 12:57PM
Friday, April 16, 2021

Gustavo Dudamel is Paris Opera's next music director. What does this mean for L.A.? by Mark Swed

The L.A. Phil's artistic leader has been appointed music director in Paris, where he will join one of the most celebrated opera companies in the world.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 07:36PM
Friday, January 29, 2021

Commentary: Why it's time to revive Leonard Bernstein's long-dismissed, race-conscious White House musical by Mark Swed

Bernstein had friendly and fraught relationships with U.S. presidents. But his White House musical flopped. Missed was its exploration of race and slavery that's more timely than ever.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 09:39PM
Monday, January 18, 2021

Commentary: How about some culture in the Biden Cabinet? My nominees for Mr. or Madame Secretary by Mark Swed

The overdue creation of a Cabinet-level Secretary of Culture would give the country a lift we all crave. Here's who I think would rise to the challenge.

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 01:23PM
Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Review: Government shutdown hits the Long Beach Opera stage, but 'The Black Cat' goes on by Mark Swed

Writing in his cell as he awaits the gallows, the narrator of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat” curiously figures that what was to him “little but Horror” will to many appear “a …

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 10:52PM

Review: David Lang’s ‘the loser’ brought to brilliant life through the hypnotic Rod Gilfry by Mark Swed

David Lang’s “the loser,” given its West Coast premiere Friday night by Los Angeles Opera at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, is sort of, but not really, about Glenn Gould. Gould’s the winn…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 10:52PM
Monday, May 6, 2019

Review: In his 151st role, Plácido Domingo plays the ‘wild cat’ as old lion by Mark Swed

Plácido Domingo added role No. 151 to his legacy Saturday night. Was this celebrated tenor-baritone-conductor-impresario and all-around operaholic counting all 65 years he has been on the s…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 06:43PM
Sunday, May 5, 2019

Review: Why this woman fed hay and water to a baby grand piano outside Disney Hall by Mark Swed

As the sun was going down Thursday night, the steel of Walt Disney Concert Hall reflected the colors of twilight and an oncoming chill in the air added a sense of expectancy. A baby grand pi…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 09:48AM
Friday, April 19, 2019

Want the West Coast’s best in opera? You have to go to Europe by Mark Swed

How would have Yuval Sharon’s bewildering new production of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” gone over in Los Angeles? That was the first thing that crossed my mind as I walked out of the …

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 09:30AM
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Review: For Merce Cunningham’s 100th birthday, an exceptional ‘Night of 100 Solos’ by Mark Swed

Merce Cunningham died 10 years ago at 90. He was easily the greatest choreographer of the second half of the 20th century and a teeny bit into the 21st. He left behind an enormous body of wo…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 04:40PM
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Review: It's all Stravinsky all the time, but let's not forget Schoenberg by Mark Swed

It’s going to be a Stravinsky spring, right? The Los Angeles Philharmonic is about to kick off a two-week Stravinsky festival, Esa-Pekka Salonen celebrating Stravinsky’s association with…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 05:15PM
Monday, March 18, 2019

Review: At 'Dreamers' premiere in Berkeley, neo-Romantic oratorio is the sound of hope by Mark Swed

As political pawns in a long-running congressional chess game, Dreamers, those children of immigrants with aspirations for a promising life in the United States, make dispassion very difficu…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 09:20PM
Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: ‘(M)iyamoto Is Black Enough’ and then some at the Wallis by Mark Swed

Well, that was a surprise! “(M)iyamoto Is Black Enough” — the first in what will be an ongoing collaboration between the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hill…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 04:30PM
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Operas in Berlin and Hamburg go Babylonian, with Trump and an immigration crisis by Mark Swed

For whatever reason — a worry about looming dystopia, perhaps — Germany is having its Babylonian moment. Major new opera productions here in Hamburg and in Berlin last weekend proved med…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 02:00PM
Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Review: A day of fringe ritualistic opera and jazz orchestra quirkiness by Mark Swed

Hollywood has its under the radar, whatever-the-cat-drags-in Fringe Festival. Los Angeles has its fill of venturesome large institutions — notably the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Roy and Edn…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:00AM
Monday, July 16, 2018

With pomp and power, Dudamel fits Verdi's 'Otello' into the Hollywood Bowl by Mark Swed

From its earliest days, the Hollywood Bowl has thought of itself as a Hollywood-size opera house. And why not? Opera likes all things outsize. Full summer opera seasons in the amphitheater o…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 07:15PM
Friday, June 29, 2018

Before ‘Hamilton,’ 100 years of American music theater and how it’s told the story of who we are by Mark Swed

“Hamilton” didn’t come out of nowhere. For the past century, American music theater has been struggling with how exactly to represent our national character on stage and who we are. It…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:00AM
Thursday, April 5, 2018

Kathleen Battle, Julia Bullock and the saga of opera singers of color by Mark Swed

A year from now we will celebrate the 80th anniversary of one of the most important concerts in American history. Richard Powers set the scene in his epic novel, “The Time of Our Singing,�…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:00AM
Monday, March 26, 2018

I survived 24 hours of Taylor Mac: a necessary 246-song attack on the heteronormative narrative by Mark Swed

Taylor Mac’s “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” is a necessary and great American epic for our time. It is, on the surface, like nothing else, a queering of American history with t…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:00AM
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

In praise of musical tourism: Huayin Shadow Puppet Band and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre by Mark Swed

If it’s Tuesday, this must be Huayin, a scenic village in Northern China on a tributary of the Yellow River at the foot of Hua Mountain. OK, it was a Thursday. And it was Santa Barbara. Bu…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 08:00AM
Monday, March 12, 2018

Joffrey Ballet dazzles in L.A. Opera's 'Orpheus and Eurydice' by Mark Swed

Gluck’s “Orpheus and Eurydice” may be based on the Greek myth of a singer capable of beguiling even hell’s furies, but the opera has long been catnip to choreographers. One of the de…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 09:40PM
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The musical view from Mexico and Bali (by way of Northridge and Santa Monica) by Mark Swed

How do cultures on opposite sides of the planet interpret the Earth and its mythology? A notebook comparing the mariachi opera "To Cross the Face of the Moon" and the elaborate gamelan/dance…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 09:00AM
Sunday, January 28, 2018

L.A. Opera and a 'Candide' for all by Mark Swed

In his Los Angeles Opera program note for Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide,” which opened at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Saturday night, music director James Conlon points out that th…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 05:35PM
Monday, January 22, 2018

'Candide' on the coast, Part 1: San Francisco finds a spiritual glow in Bernstein's music by Mark Swed

In the annals of Leonard Bernstein, it is common to dismiss the West Coast. The composer was a native Bostonian and a New York icon who didn’t have all that much to do with us. Though a me…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 07:25PM
Sunday, January 21, 2018

Three L.A. cellists save the day with last-minute musical theatrics for the Phil by Mark Swed

New principal guest conductor Susanna Mälkki led the L.A. Phil through a program centered on a extremely difficult 1968 cello concerto by the German composer Berndt Alois Zimmermann, whose …

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 03:55PM
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Schubert's lonely hearts club band and a heart throb tenor by Mark Swed

A mill. A brook. A body. A pretty, fickle daughter. A blithe wanderer. A hunter. Nixies. A broken heart. An atmosphere of underlying weirdness. A strophic soundtrack underscoring all that is…

SOURCE: Los Angeles Times at 05:15PM

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