Christoph Waltz was as adorable as an Elf on a Shelf (it was his legs—bent and slightly askew) sitting on a chair onstage at the Walt Disney Concert Hall at last night’s Los Angeles Philharmonic Gala: The Brilliance of Beethoven. Waltz was waiting for his cue before narrating (in German) selections from Beethoven’s Egmont, Op. 84. Coloratura soprano Rachele Gilmore accompanied him. Waltz and Gilmore were off-the-charts sublime.
During Selections from The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43, guest principal dancer Beckanne Sisk joined The Barak Ballet and enchanted everyone in the audience (well, almost everyone—tsk, tsk Hilary Swank get off your phone! UPDATE: Swank responded via Twitter that she was checking in on her Dad – wishing him a speedy recovery!). The Los Angeles Master Chorale teamed up with the combined Los Angeles Philharmonic and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela for the iconic “Ode to Joy.” Some of the members of the SBSOV have been performing with LA Phil conductor Gustavo Dudamel since he began conducting at 12 years old.
It was appropriate that longtime LA Phil supporter Julie Andrews was on the dinner committee because schnitzel was on the menu. Living Beethoven statues greeted guests as they wandered into the tented dinner on Grand Avenue, then bewigged gents went from table to table chatting up guests like Herbie Hancock, Gael Garcia Bernal, Matthew Lillard (front and center as usual!), Bryce Dallas Howard, Mia Maestro, Frank Gehry, and Alejandro G. Inarritu. Dudamel got onstage with Los Angeles Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda and said more than he usually does at these affairs. “She was a stalker,” he said of the Prez/CEO, jokingly referencing her attempts to entice him to L.A. (he has signed on until 2022, by the way). “For many years I saw this lady traveling around the world at all my concerts and I said, ‘Oh my God, she’s in love with me!’ Now I know she’s in love with me and I’m in love with her.” Then he and Mayor Garcetti were two of the first partiers on the dance floor.