Monday, April 13, 2015

concert reviews

1. San Francisco Ballet. I don't often go to the ballet, but I was intrigued by the return engagement of Alexei Ratmansky's Shostakovich Trilogy, both wildly praised and highly popular on its previous visit. And I certainly like the music.

I've been to ballets I thought beautiful and moving, mostly with the name Balanchine on them. This one didn't cut it for me. The first act seemed full of each male dancer picking up his ballerina by the waist and setting her down in some other part of the stage, as if she were unable to get there by herself. The third act featured groups of people hunched over and jogging in place while wearing ugly unisex track suits. This is what struck me about the dancing. I don't think I'm a sophisticated connoisseur.

In the part of the art that I am capable of judging, I thought the Ballet Orchestra - which I don't always rate highly - did an entirely creditable job under David LaMarche with the Ninth Symphony, and an even better one with the Chamber Symphony, but lacked tension and drive in the First Piano Concerto.

2. Australian Chamber Orchestra. The man seated next to me considered this a near-flawless performance. He'll be disappointed when he reads my more critical review.

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