Movie Star-Crossed Lovers at LA Phil Presentation of Tchaikovsky Classics

Events, Walt Disney Hall — By on March 29, 2011 at 12:06 am

L-R Gustavo Dudamel, Matthew Rhys, Malcolm McDowell, Orlando Bloom, Anika Noni Rose. Photo by Mathew Imaging.

Movie Star-Crossed Lovers at LA Phil Presentation of Tchaikovsky Classics

By Gina Hall

Last weekend, the star power at Walt Disney Concert Hall shined on stage and in movie theaters as Gustavo Dudamel conducted the LA Philharmonic�������s presentation of Tchaikovsky’s Hamlet, The Tempest and Romeo and Juliet.

This time around, Dudamel wasn���t the only high-profile name on the bill. Film actors Orlando Bloom, Malcolm McDowell, Matthew Rhys and Anika Noni Rose joined the show for accompanying readings from the Shakespeare plays, giving each of the pieces context prior to being played. The concert was simulcast in movie theaters in the United States and Canada as part of LA Phil LIVE’s effort to bring classical music to a wider audience.

The show proved to be a popular attraction, with a long line of would-be patrons waiting until moments before the performance for a chance at no-show tickets. When the lights went down on what appeared to be a sold out show, the audience was treated to an intense interpretation of Hamlet’s “To Be, Or Not to Be” soliloquy by Matthew Rhys, which set the tone for the moody Hamlet, Op. 67. Malcolm McDowell then stole the show with his dramatic reading as Prospero introducing romantic piece, The Tempest, Op. 18. Orlando Bloom and Aniki Noni Rose helped draw a close to the performance with their energetic impressions of Romeo and Juliet, which was followed by the iconic fantasy-overture.

Dudamel was as animated and engaging as advertised and his sheer presence, alone, connected the audience to the passion that emanated from the Tchaikovsky pieces. It took only milliseconds after the final notes of Romeo and Juliet for all of Walt Disney Concert Hall to be on its feet applauding the players and director Kim Burton, who was responsible for staging the actor’s scenes creatively around the concert hall.

As the program notes suggest, Tchaikovsky initially resisted writing “program music,” music that tells or suggests a story without employing words. Evidently he was persuaded otherwise and produced eight such pieces. The enthusiastic responses suggest that audiences are thrilled by these stories still.


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