In Los Angeles, classical music and dance don't take a summer vacation, as happens in some other major cities. In fact, summer provides some of the best opportunities to catch world-class musicians and dancers at settings as big as the Hollywood Bowl and as intimate as REDCAT.
Of course, there's the annual Ojai Music Festival (see story above) as well as the numerous outdoor concerts throughout the South- land.
The abundance is daunting, but it can also be rewarding if you map your approach in advance and keep an open mind to challenging and oddball musical experiences.
Expect weird and wacky things when the Wooster Group applies its signature multimedia style to "La Didone," a 17th century Baroque piece by Francesco Cavalli. This is the first time the New York experimental troupe has tackled opera, and it's safe to say that there won't be much in the way of standard park-and-bark delivery. June 11-21, REDCAT.
For classical music fans, summer doesn't officially start until fireworks go off above the Hollywood Bowl. This season's opener features the induction of opera diva Kiri Te Kanawa and singer Josh Groban into the Bowl's Hall of Fame, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. June 19, Hollywood Bowl.
The avant-garde choreographer Yvonne Rainer revisits Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" in the West Coast premiere of "RoS Indexical," set to the BBC's reenactment of the ballet's riotous 1913 opening in Paris. The performance also includes "Spiraling Down," a new work that synthesizes diverse influences from traditional ballet to soccer. June 25-28, REDCAT.
Returning for its seventh season at the Ford, the dance group Viver Brasil will perform "Feet on the Ground/Aiye," a series of new works mixing samba, traditional moves and multimedia projections to illuminate ancient Afro-Bahian stories. July 3, Ford Amphitheater.
Oldie but goody
American Ballet Theatre returns to the Music Center with its production of Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet," a time-tested crowd-pleaser featuring choreography by Kenneth MacMillan. The five pairs of rotating leads include Paloma Herrera and Marcelo Gomes, and Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg. July 16-19, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
If you still haven't seen the L.A. Philharmonic's 22-year-old assistant conductor Lionel Bringuier in action, here's an excellent opportunity to catch the young maestro leading some pretty challenging music. Bringuier will conduct the orchestra in Esa-Pekka Salonen's fiendishly difficult Piano Concerto, with young soloist Juho Pohjonen. Also on tap is Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" and Dukas' "Sorcerer's Apprentice." July 21, Hollywood Bowl.
Call it a power trio. The Philip Glass Ensemble will join the L.A. Master Chorale and the L.A. Philharmonic in a new orchestral arrangement of Glass' score to "Koyannisqatsi," commissioned by the Phil. The concert also features Glass' "Openings," "Facades" and a selection from "Einstein on the Beach." July 23, Hollywood Bowl.
Pianist Andreas Haeflinger, violinist Mark O'Connor and the Calder Quartet are some of the featured performers of the La Jolla Music Society's annual SummerFest, which will feature close to 70 musicians coming together for a three-week celebration of chamber music. July 31-Aug. 23, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla.
Hail the champion
One of the winners of the international Van Cliburn piano competition, to be announced today, will appear with the Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale in a concert that will feature a piano concerto (to be determined) and Orff's "Carmina Burana." Aug. 8, Verizon Amphitheater.