Just a reminder to everyone that Gustavo Dudamel quietly started his new job as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic last week. Watching the Venezuelan wunderkind exuberantly twitch and bop through Mahler’s Symphony no. 1 and a world-premiere piece by John Adams, I couldn’t tell whether Dudamel’s every muscle was overtaken by the power of the music or if he was doing the funky chicken. This guy is going to be entertaining.
With his deep dimples and wild curls, he certainly is adorable, an observation I overheard from every doyenne sipping Mumm’s at intermission on opening night. Phil lovers do adore their rock star conductors. Almost ten years ago I was fascinated with the marketing of Esa-Pekka Salonen. At the time there were banners all over town showcasing the hunky Finn in a short-sleeved black T-shirt with his eyes all aflutter and his arms outstretched in ecstasy. The banners about town celebrating Dudamel are equally suggestive.
Now the Phil has as flashy a home as it could hope for: Disney Hall, which is down the street from a flashy new cathedral, a flashy new Caltrans headquarters, and as of a couple of weeks ago, a flashy new police headquarters. That’s a lot of flash in a corridor that has long needed some sparkle. Dudamel will undoubtedly draw many to downtown who rarely venture there. Here’s hoping they don’t limit their sightseeing to the Disney Hall garage.
Mary Melton writes Editor’s Buzz for our newsletter subscribers. Sign up now to receive the weekly email on what’s new at LAmag.com.