Essential Arts & Culture: The future of the L.A. Phil, Getty news and more

I'm Kelly Scott, the arts and culture editor for The Times. Here's this week's look at the stories you shouldn't miss:

Musicians, old and young, and the future of the L.A. Phil

“Getting onto the Disney Hall stage is tougher than winning admission to Harvard,” writes Jeffrey Fleishman in his story about the musicians of the L.A. Philharmonic.

In another piece in the “Inside the L.A. Philharmonic” series, conductor Gustavo Dudamel explains the goals of the Phil's Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles: “When you give an instrument to a young boy or a young girl, they are building their world with that instrument. It is amazing how their lives can change.”

And finally, Sunday’s story examines the daunting challenges the Phil faces in trying to expand its audience beyond its wealthy, and aging, season-ticket holders.

Timothy Potts, two years in

Getty museum director Timothy Potts stopped by The Times last week shortly after getting back from a trip to Lima, Peru. Potts, who arrived in L.A. a little more than two years ago, went to Lima to look at possible works for "Luxury Art in the Ancient Americas,” one of the two shows the Getty will mount for Pacific Standard Time LA/LA in 2017. On more immediate matters, closer to home, he talked about the Getty’s attendance (it’s up) and those who attend (more and more Chinese visitors among them), and reported that these days, even the Getty museum director has to woo art collectors, hoping for donations.

Come on in, take a look

This week Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne toured the Broad museum, which is still under construction but will open its third-floor gallery space to the public in a one-day preview Sunday. He walked the space with architect Elizabeth Diller and Broad director and chief curator Joan Heyler. Was the lukewarm reaction to the museum’s distinctive exterior the reason for the preview? Was Diller giving an architectural tour, doing damage control or trying to retake the reins of the building's narrative? A little of all three, Hawthorne decided.

High-culture Coachella?

Not exactly. A large gathering of creative people in the desert east of L.A. in the spring usually means one thing. This year, it means another. David Ng reported on the creation of the March 18 Festival of the Desert, with soprano Renee Fleming, dancer David Hallberg and the music director of the Paris National Opera.

He always classes up the joint

There is perhaps no one who makes a better case for Los Angeles theater than actor Alan Mandell. His work speaks to its high quality, its ambition, its seriousness, its history and its heart. Any dedicated L.A. theatergoer has a Mandell highlight reel: For Times critic Charles McNulty, it includes his Estragon in the Taper's "Waiting for Godot" and his octogenarian judge in "Trying" at the Colony. Now the 87-year-old is taking on Arthur Miller's "The Price" at the Taper.

"The challenge is giving your whole self over to a character," Mandell said. "I've been doing that for so long now. I can say it was easier when I was 85."


Valery Gergiev and soprano Anna Netrebko are two hot-button artists in the classical world at the moment, and last week, Mark Swed saw Gergiev conduct “Iolanta/Bluebeard’s Castle” at the Metropolitan Opera, with Netrebko singing the title role of “Iolanta.” Protesters dog the two, but it's not about their performances. “Two of Russia’s most celebrated artists, they generate demonstrations in the U.S. for siding with their country in the conflict in Ukraine,” Swed wrote. A protester at a different performance climbed onstage during the curtail call, rattling Netrebko.

What we're reading

Kelly Crow of the Wall Street Journal reports that one of Hollywood’s major talent agencies, UTA, is moving into the art world. --Kelly Scott

The New Yorker's Rebecca Mead looks at a musical by Lin Manuel-Miranda ("In the Heights") that combines hip-hop and founding father Alexander Hamilton.-- Charles McNulty

A quadriplegic man is using a robot to visit art museums. -- Christopher Knight