“One year into the conductor’s tenure as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, Gary Ginstling, the orchestra’s executive director, announced a four-year contract extension, through 2024-2025. Also announced was “an in-house digital media initiative, meaning that the NSO will record its own performances for streaming and for physical CD and DVD.”
So “none of this old tired stuff done in the same way” could really be the festival’s motto. But this year’s installment, O18, which began on Thursday and runs through Sunday, is most successful when it’s most traditional. Two of the four shows I saw over the weekend were proscenium productions with orchestras in the pit: opera as you imagine it. These were far more satisfying than the pair of out-of-the-box entries.
How the LA Phil became the envy of classical music may be what everyone wants to know. It’s maybe even more useful, though, to ask why as well. The story of the LA Phil feat is ultimately about a reason for being. Every great orchestra has had its heydays when it has been uniquely true to its place and population and purpose and art and era.
Is it good for indie musicians? Maybe. It’s probably going to be great for Spotify: “This might be a way to lure more influential users away from competitor platforms, something that’s been a difficult task until now since once a user has made a decision on a platform it’s hard to get them to change. With content that’s more or less exclusive to Spotify, fans of the artist will have to subscribe to listen as well.”
Yay? Yes, good: “The company has asked Missy Mazzoli to write an opera based on George Saunders’s ghostly novel Lincoln in the Bardo, and is planning to stage Jeanine Tesori’s opera Grounded, based on the George Brant play about a fighter pilot sidelined by pregnancy who goes into drone warfare. They are the first two women commissioned to write operas for the Met, which has only performed two operas by female composers in its history.”