Looking for a Miracle

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 05:11 PM

Just like I expected Lebron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers to knock off the Boston Celtics, I was hopeful that Gustavo Dudamel and his Los Angeles Philharmonic would knock Bernstein out of the park during their East Coast tour last week. Over consecutive weeks, both superstars appeared mortal.

For Lebron, the league’s MVP, most fans and experts predicted a trip to the NBA finals if not the championship itself; for Gustavo, music lovers and the conductor's devoted fans sold out East Coast concert halls to hear him make magic or a miracle. Instead, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s East Coast tour and the Cleveland Cavaliers East Coast run came up short.

Despite subpar performances I'm certain that both Lebron James and Gustavo Dudamel will perform in front of New York audiences for years to come. 

Do you think audiences and critics have realistic expectations of these performers, and performers in general or were we justly disappointed?

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Comments [6]

Adina from NY

My husband and I brought our teenage son, who loves Gustaveo Dudamel on Thursday. We were not so excited by the Bernstein piece, but really loved the Tchaikovsky!

Jun. 02 2010 12:01 AM

I was surprised when I read the reviews of Dudamel's performance with the LA Phil, but then again I am not surprised. Dudamel is living into some mighty big expectations, and more importantly, because of them critics are looking for an excuse to bring him down a notch, as are some classical music purists who see him as some sort of threat to their ideal.

I have seen the LA Philharmonic, and what people are leaving out is that it is an orchestra that needs work, some of which is not easy to turn around. At least half the orchestra when they play appears dead,a not uncommon thing unfortunately in orchestras I have seen, and despite his enthusiasm it is not easy to get them fired up (as opposed to when, during the Maazel era,Dudamel conducted the Phil in NY and they caught fire, a start contrast to the way they played under Maazel). Until they can hopefully see some of the dead wood leave, and hire some more exciting performers, Dudamel is going to be limited.

It will be interesting to see when he conducts live orchestras like the Vienna Philharmonic and the like, to see what happens then. I suspect the reviews are going to be much better, because a conductor can only do so much.

Jun. 01 2010 07:47 PM

Kathleen, my comments about Gustavo Dudamel summarize the reviews hyperlinked in my post. Both nights that he conducted at Lincoln Center, I was on air spinning his records. thanks for talking

May. 27 2010 11:42 PM
Kathleen from NYC

Terrence, did you see last Saturday's concert at Avery Fisher? I'm not sure what you mean about Dudamel coming up short on his East Coast tour. I won't comment on Adams' "City Noir" because I have mixed feelings about it, but the Mahler was tight, focused and transporting. Why would you expect him to knock Bernstein out of the park? Both vibrant, both rock stars, but completely different personalities.

May. 27 2010 12:35 PM
Natasha from New Jersey

Gustavo Dudamel is one of the most incredible orchestra director's/conductors I have ever seen in my whole entire life and I have seen a few as I am a professional dancer and have performed with a live orchestra several times.
I am not sure what audiences and critics expect. I have seen Mr. Dudamel's TV interviews and what I see is a dedicated, passionate, professional, honest man that happens to love and live music, not only for him, but for others as well.

May. 27 2010 11:54 AM

"The Dude" is the best thing to happen to Classical music performance in this country since his predecessor at the L.A. Phil, Esa-Pekka Salonen.

When Great Performances did the Premier with the Adams and the Mahler for PBS, my "friend' the critic Alan Rich asked me for two DVD's, one for him and one for his housekeeper who has (had) a crush on Dudamel.

The American critics should show a little intelligence and patience. Dudamel fills seats, and people come back.

May. 26 2010 06:07 PM

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