February 2, 2018: Los Angeles, California
Raise your hand if you have NOT ever dreamed of being hugged by Gustavo Dudamel. Anyone?
I thought not.
Well, dream on, friends: Because last night I got a Dudamel hug — PLUS a kiss.
Okay, so did Alexander. But, mine was extra, I could tell.
Maestro Dudamel (may I call him Gustavo?) was in Bernstein bliss, just having brilliantly wrangled MASS at Disney Hall.
I say “wrangled” because the piece features a staggering abundance of moving parts that proves a challenge to even the most rigorous maestro: three choruses, a marching band, a blues/rock band, dancers, a Celebrant, and (not incidentally) the Los Angeles Philharmonic. (Did I miss anyone?)
Thanks to Dudamel’s avid precision and his clear love of the piece, all those disparate elements coalesced into one beautiful performance.
Again, an LA maestro was on fire: James Conlon whipped that orchestra and company into a delicious froth. All the performances were terrific, notably Dr. Crane’s – uh, Kelsey Grammer’s, Jack Swanson’s, and Erin Morley’s.
A word about life in LA in January: Unless you live hereabouts, yes, you should be envious. In what universe is it sunny and 70’s every day? I’m really wrestling with this because I have to go home tomorrow.
But, it’s been almost three weeks on the road and I could use a hug from my family.
Sorry, Gustavo. They win.
About this author
Nina Bernstein Simmons is Leonard Bernstein’s youngest daughter. After working as an actress, initially at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, she turned her attention to tending her late father’s legacy. In the earliest days of the internet, she worked with the Library of Congress on making the Bernstein Archives digitally available to the public. From 2000 to 2005, Nina worked on “Leonard Bernstein: A Total Embrace,” a film about her sister, Jamie, and her remarkable journeys around the world bringing Bernstein’s music and teaching legacy to new audiences. Since 2008, Nina has been working as a food educator in underserved communities.