Ana Tijoux November 9, 2023 with Gustavo Dudamel, Canto en Resistencia, California Festival (Photo LA Philharmonic)

California Festival

  • By J. Cook

The California Festival is upon us at the LA Phil. What is the California Festival? A statewide musical showcase that many music venues are taking part in to find the most compelling and forward-looking voices in performances written in the past five years. Your correspondent was surprised to find such a polished website covering the scope of the program at

What does that mean at the Phil? Gustavo Dudamel will be leading many world premieres, ranging from Latin American artists to new works from cutting-edge composers. For example, on the 9th, Dudamel will be backing up iconic protest songs, or cantos en resistencia with Lila Downs, Catalina García, Goyo, Ely Guerra, and Ana Tijoux. This will continue for the next two nights, featuring Silvana Estrada, to complete the cycle of cantos. That Sunday, the 12th, the music will retreat to the organ and piano recital by James McVinnie. After opening with music by Smith, Monk and Muhly, he will conclude with Bach and Glass, which somehow still feels modern after four hundred years and sixty years (respectively, duh).

Just prior to that, on the 7th, there will be a collection of three new works by Washington, Pereira and Day, followed by the only trio Mozart ever wrote, aka a fun diversion. 

Finally, from then 16th-19th, Dudamel will take the stage with Tango and Ballet, Featuring the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (hot, muggy, rainy, nice?) by Piazzolla, then Ortiz’s Revolución diamantina. Lots of new vibrations await… Get your tickets now!

For tickets and line up, click here.

Untold Stories of Monumental Pastel October 3-Oct 2024 at Getty (Photo Getty Center)

Untold Stories of a Monumental Pastel

  • By Cynthia Lum

Murice Quentin de La Tour’s commanding Portrait of Gabriel Bernard de Rieux is the largest pastel made in eighteenth-century France. Commissioned by de Rieux himself, the portrait marks a turning point in the lives of both sitter and artist. Pushing pastel to new heights, La Tour employed sixteen sheets of paper and exacting techniques to capture de Rieux’s likeness and convincingly render luxurious objects on a monumental scale. His work in pastel outshone oil painting, which was considered more prestigious at the time. This focused exhibition highlights La Tour’s technical achievement and the historical global realities that financed and furnished de Rieux’s world.

La Tour challenged ideas of what could be achieved with pastel by producing a technically demanding work of extraordinary size. The artist created light, color, and texture through the complementary and overlapping application of prefabricated hues. To attain an exceptional level of detail, La Tour used both opaque watercolor and pastel. He arranged twelve sheets of paper in a grid and added four more in areas of particular detail—the sitter’s face, his hands, and the table drapery. If you look closely, you can see the cutouts pasted over these sections, though La Tour did his best to mask the seams. The result is a masterful display of skill that solidified La Tour’s position as the leading pastelist of his day. On view at the Getty Center until October 20, 2024.

For more, click here.

Joseph Calleja November 11, 2023 at BroadStage in Santa Monica (Photo Courtesy of artist and BroadStage)

Joseph Calleja

  • By Cynthia Lum

Described by NPR as “arguably today’s finest lyric tenor” Maltese-born Joseph Calleja returns to BroadStage as part of the Celebrity Opera recital Series on Saturday November 11, 23 at 7:30 pm

Blessed with a, nostalgic golden age voice that has been compared to the greats of an earlier age, Calleja has become one of the most acclaimed and sought after tenors of today. Recent operatic seasons have included appearances at notable opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Paris Opera, the Gran Theatre del Liceu, the Deutsche Opera Berlin, and the Royal Opera House in London. Calleja received a GRAMMY® nomination for his recording of La Traviata from the Royal Opera House, and in 2012, he was named Gramophone Magazine’s Artist of the Year.

Joseph Calleja began singing at the age of 16, first in his church choir and then in formal training with Maltese tenor Paul Asciak. At age 19 Calleja made his operatic debut in at the Astra Theatre in Malta shortly before winning an award in the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition that launched his international career. He went on to win the 1998 Caruso Competition in Milan and made his U.S. debut at the Spoleto Festival in 1999.

Calleja will be accompanied by Indian-American conductor and pianist Kamal Khan who has performed with many opera companies around the world while combining a passionate commitment to the globalization of operatic training.

For tickets, click here.

A Raisin in the Sun through November 12, 2023 at South Coast Repertory

A Raisin in the Sun

  • By Arlene Winnick

Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is the groundbreaking drama that changed the American theater forever by breaking down barriers on and off the stage when it debuted in 1959 (she was the first African American female writer to have a play performed on Broadway). It is so fitting that this powerful story is the first play in South Coast Repertory’s American Icon series honoring those “who contributed something of power or impact to our country” as SCR Artistic Director David Ivers described it.

Each of the Youngers, a Black family, has a different view of how to spend their father’s $10,000 life insurance settlement to better the family.  The three female actors at the heart of this production – Tiffany Yvonne Cox (Ruth Younger), Ashembaga Ashe Jaafarau (Beneatha Younger) and Veralyn Jones (Lena Younger/Mama) embody three Black women at different stages of their lives living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950’s and we see them struggling with the play’s main themes:  The Value and Purpose of Dreams; The Plague of Racial Discrimination; and The Importance of Family.  As the play progresses, the Youngers clash over their competing dreams.  Who will prevail and for what reasons? Per Director Khanisha Foster” you can see who they are and how different they are and how connected they are all at the same time.” 

Don’t miss this timeless masterpiece.

For tickets and more, click here.