Gustavo Dudamel Gets Vienna Philharmonic Jumping in Dance Music

Monday, September 03, 2012

Just as New Yorkers flock to outdoor concerts in the city's parks each summer, the Viennese have an emerging tradition of their own: a free open-air show in the baroque gardens of the Schönbrunn Palace. In June, the Vienna Philharmonic presented its tenth annual summer concert there, with a program that revolved around two themes: “dance at the opera” and Claude Debussy, whose 150th birthday is being celebrated this year.

The performance, which is just out on both CD and a DVD, captures the unlikely chemistry between a conductor and orchestra that would seem incompatible on first glance. On one hand, there’s the Vienna Philharmonic, a 170-year-old institution known for its staunchly traditional sound, staid audiences and steep membership requirements (its hiring practices towards women members remain a point of contention – more on that shortly). Then there’s Gustavo Dudamel, the world's hottest young maestro, a 32-year-old Venezuelan who is now making a splash in glitzy Los Angeles.

The two somehow find common ground here, particularly in several Russian chestnuts: Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Mussorgsky’s Dance of the Persian Slaves from Khovanschchina and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor. Dudamel particularly turns up the heat in the Dance of the Seven Veils from Strauss’s Salome and gets the orchestra to dance (figuratively) in an encore by Spanish zarzuela composer Jerónimo Giménez.

Of the two formats, the DVD is the far more revealing concert snapshot: For one, it features ballet students from the Vienna State Opera Ballet School dancing to several selections (including an elegant romp through the palace's fountains in Debussy’s La Mer). The sweeping tracking shots flatter the dramatically lit palace grounds and special focus seems to be placed on several women orchestra members. A P.R. strategy on the orchestra’s part? Hard to say, but it’s a visual feast nonetheless, which is not something you can say about many orchestral DVDs.

"Dances and Waves"
Vienna Philharmonic
Gustavo Dudamel
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Comments [1]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

THE VIENNA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA BRAVOED GUSTAVO DUDAMEL !!! He is the most exciting maestro on the world stages today. His Carnegie Hall concert of Latin American music was exhjiarating and joyous and memorable, REALLY HISTORIC !! MERRY XMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR !!! HANDEL'S ORATORIOS ARE THE MOST REVERED OF HIS COMPOSITIONS. ONE THAT IS NOT AS OFTEN PERFORMED AS IT DESERVES TO BE IS HIS "JUDAS MACCABAEUS." ITS "SOUND AN ALARM"' IS STIRRING. IT'S MY CLOSING SELECTION ON MY SOLO DEBUT IN THE ISAAC STERN AUDITORIUM OF CARNEGIE HALL CONCERT "{LIVE" ON MY VALHALLA RECORDS CD AND MAY BE DOWNLOADED,FREE, FROM MY THREE WEBSITES. My cousin MICHAEL BLANKFORT wrote both the books and screenplays for the 1953 film THE JUGGLER Hollywood film made in Israel starring KIRK DOUGLAS and the 1950 Hollywood film BROKEN ARROW starring JAMES STEWART and JEFF CHANDLER [Cochise]. The music for THE JUGGLER was composed by opera composer GEORGE ANTHEIL, in whose opera VOLPONE I sang the tenor leading role [Mosca] in its professional world premiere in NEW YORK in 1953. ANTHEIL, famous for his opera TRANSATLANTIC and BALLET MECHANIQUE looked exactly like Peter Lorre. I am a romantischer heldentenor. I have sung four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I opened my three hour concert with the Invocazione di Orfeo from Jacopo Peri's opera EURIDICE composed in 1600, the first opera, composed in the same year as Shakespeare wrote HAMLET. It can be heard from the live performance along with my performances of SIEGFRIED, GOTTERDAMMERUNG SIEGFRIED, OTELLO, ELEAZAR, SIEGMUND, LOHENGRIN, PARSIFAL, TRISTAN AND WALTHER VON STOLZING on my three websites,, ,, and It received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines. My voice teachers were the legendary MET OPERA singers Alexander Kipnis, Friedrich Schorr, Martial Singher, John Brownlee, Karin Branzell and Margarete Matzenauer. In another commentary on one commented about all operas that were once NEW but now not new and therefore should be relegated to museum status. As an opera composer myself ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"] I fully comprehend the assumed urgency of recognition of the still living. However, it's important to revere and enjoy the MASTERPIECES of art, music, literature, architecture and science in its multiple formats . I am the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute in Boonton, NJ where I train actors in all the Shakespeare roles and big-voiced singers in all the Wagner opera roles

Dec. 18 2012 06:13 PM

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