Monday, October 11, 2010

Placido Domingo and Gustavo Dudamel speak

I don't know whether it was immense good luck or divine intervention that brought me to the Gustavo Dudamel and Placido Domingo roundtable -- moderated by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times -- at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. You see, I've been living in Mexico City for the last three days, thanks to The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver, in the house of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, so to find myself in an audience filled with elegant and artistic Hispanics, eyes glued to two of the most prominent Hispanic musicians in the world -- if not the most prominent -- was somewhat of a dream come true.

(The good luck came in the form of my stepmother-in-law, Sandy, who is a docent at the Music Center, and very kindly invited me to join her at the historic event.)

The overriding effect was to feel buoyantly, jubilantly proud of Los Angeles. What a magnificent city we live in, away from our tiny little Westside bubble.  What extraordinary diversity and culture and how tremendously fortunate we are to attract this world class talent.

The sun was just setting and pouring glorious golden light into the second floor lobby where 500 chairs had been arranged into a semi circle.  When the two maestros walked in, smiling, the audience stood up as one to clap. The excitement was palpable.  And they were as charming and warm as you would imagine.  Some salient quotes I scribbled down:

Domingo on Dudamel:
"When you see him [conducting the Simon Bolivar youth orchestra], you see him physically give his soul, his knowledge, all his love and passion to the music."

Domingo on Los Angeles:
"It is one of the most important cities in the world.  So much of our Hispanic world is here."

"Classical music has been [traditionally] for the elite...the challenge is to give to people [an ability to be] around music, culture, arts.

"Art is natural. It is part of the creativity and sensitivity of being a human being."

"Artists give people the chance to dream."

"Culturally, Los Angeles can be an example for the whole world."

"We need a more sensible world." **

"You don't need to be in front of an orchestra to think in music. Music is constant. It's my life."

Domingo on opera:
"Bring the opera to the people."

Dudamel's advice to children:
"If your dreams are big, you will have to work hard for them."

Domingo on Los Angeles:
"More and more this city fascinates me. [Think of] all the things you can do here."

**Dudamel used the word 'sensible' often.  I think that the translation would be akin to sensibility (ie. to notice or appreciate), not the common way we've come to use the word. The dictionary offers:
From the Latin, sensibilis ‘that can be perceived by the senses.'

Sandy, after the event

Miss W & Sandy caught in the mirrors of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Dudamel's opening concert of his second season leading the LA Phil, Celebracion, is here (via NPR)


legend in his own lunchtime said...

What an opportunity. I don't agree with Dudamel's perception of classical music being just for the Elite though. Maybe this is a modern construct, but it never used to be. My Grandfather had every clasical record (Opera included) that was ever produced. He used to sit and listen, wrapped up in a blanket by the fire (he died of Pneumoconiosis from years working in the coal mines) with the wind up gramophone turned up to the max. He instilled a love of music in my mother and subesquesntly me. This was not unusual for working class families in the North of England, and I suspect in many other places around the world.

LPC said...

Well hello Miss W.!

Louise said...

Thank you for writing about this event so beautifully! Great fun to see it vicariously. I love the pride in Los Angeles, too. So much history that most people ignore..