Best of 2013: Mark Swed picks ‘The Perfect American,’ Kronos Quartet

In this time when news is disseminated ever more quickly, we asked our critics to list the best of culture in 2013 in tweet form:

The coolest string quartet on the planet, Kronos, turned 40 and partied nonstop, Bogota, Vegas & a sublime Berkeley birthday bash included.

The coolest concert hall on the planet, Walt Disney Concert Hall, turned 10 and partied nonstop, its wonders never ceasing.

Forget a Walt Disney scandal with Philip Glass’ new opera “The Perfect American.” Instead, it artfully humanized the legend in his last days.


Kent Nagano finished 7 years as head of Bavarian Opera with a sunny “Ring” cycle, miraculously humanizing, without whitewashing, Wagner.

GRAPHIC: Best of 2013 | Entertainment and culture

The LA Phil took YOLA to London, causing stiff upper lips to quiver as Brits witnessed Dudamel inspire teens to shine in Tchaikovsky.

Exuberant over his return to L.A., Esa-Pekka Salonen led irresistible performances of his Violin Concerto and Sibelius Fifth Symphony.

When George Benjamin’s exquisitely ghoulish new opera, “Written on Skin,” reached London and Tanglewood. Everyone raved. Everyone was right.

Samoan choreographer Lemi Ponifasio’s ceremonial, shrieking, startling “Stones in Her Mouth” was the under-the-radar sensation of Radar L.A.

Opera at Union Station went from anomaly to sensation with the premiere of Christopher Cerrone’s mysteriously evocative “Invisible Cities.”

Santa Monica series Jacaranda moved into the big time thanks to a guest appearance by Peter Eötvös and a Grammy nomination for a Cage CD.


CD of the year: magnificently penetrating German baritone Christian Gerhaher singing Mahler songs with Nagano and the Montreal Symphony.

Twitter: @markswed