Yesterday I went to Cinearts at Santana Row to see and hear the LA Phil play Mendelssohn, thanks to Fathom Events, who contacted me and offered me a media pass. Or at least that’s what the email said. I arrived at the theater and the house manager said she knew nothing about a media pass for anyone. This happened to me the last time I went to a Fathom Events broadcast. Hmmm. What’s up with that? Fortunately the house manager let me in anyway, for which I’m quite grateful.

Prior to the start of the event we heard about the value of orchestras in cities, and the short clip encouraged everyone to “support your local orchestra.” That same message was relayed during intermission as well. I approve! We also heard an orchestra warming up, but I’m not sure that was live, as they were playing excerpts from other works, including Beethoven 7th. It was fun to hear the oboes practicing some things together in any case.

When things started up we heard first from Maestro Dudamel. He is one charismatic man! He’s also quite witty. Everyone in the theater (the number was quite small, however) was cracking up at times. We were shown clips from a rehearsal, which was great fun to see and hear … sometimes I’m more interested in those than the actual concert (bad me?).

On the all Mendelssohn program was The Hebrides Overture, Violin Concert in E minor with Janine Jansen, and Symphony No. 3 in A minor “Scottish”.

I don’t do reviews, as you all know, but there are things I noted in this concert.

  • The way the trumpets are sitting, the back legs of their chair are short and the front long, due to the risers. I’ve never seen that before. No big deal … just one of my wacky observations!
  • When we make a small little bloop we know not to shake our heads or react in a way a live audience can see. But with the big screen, we can even see a musician make a slight face when he or she makes a mistake. In this case it was merely a little squint, but yes, I saw it, and no, I’m not going to tell you who it was that did that.
  • The women sure wear a lot of sparkly clothes. At one point in San Jose Symphony we weren’t allowed to. I didn’t find it a distraction at all with the LA Phil.
  • Gee, do those folks get professional make up before the concert? They all looked blemish free. Very different than I would look, that’s for sure. (Sigh.)
  • You can see when someone fingers are shaking even slightly. Nerves hit everyone, yes?
  • The trumpets … were those rotary trumpets? (Yeah, I am an idiot when it comes to brass instruments!)
  • During intermission I saw a woman pulling her top away from her to let some air in and commenting to the person next to her. I’m pretty sure she was saying it was very hot. I wonder if it’s warmer when they are doing a live broadcast.
  • I love the principal bassoonist‘s glasses. (Yes, I look at those things, being a glasses wearer.) The temples are black and white checkerboard. Very fun.
  • I loved that the musicians and Maestro Dudamel turned around to acknowledge the people in the “orchestra view” section behind them at the end of the concert.
  • Twice the screen froze and the theater audience reacted with a bit of a gasp. The first was during the violin concerto and the second toward the end of the symphony. Yikes!

I loved Dudamel’s comment to Janine Jansen before they went out, “Maybe we try something crazy today. I play and you conduct!”

Oh … and for you oboists, Marion Arthur Kuszyk played principal on the first half while Ariana Ghez played principal for the Symphony, and Anne Marie Gabriele played second for the entire concert (if I was seeing correctly).

Is going to a movie theater the same as going to a live concert? Not at all. I enjoy it, but it’s not the same. You are “told” what to see. You are even told what to hear, really, both by the camera and by the way it is miked (mic’d?). I used to say the camera should just be in the audience and remain stagnant, but I no longer feel that way; a broadcast in the movie theater is just a different beast than a live concert.

And no, I didn’t take any photos, text or tweet during the performance. I did pull the camera out for bows, though!


  1. Dear Patty,

    I enjoyed your re-cap of the LA Phil Broadcast. I saw one back in May and really enjoyed it. Interestingly we heard the same “warm up” – Beethoven 7 – as you did!

    All best,
    Amy Miller
    Philadelphia, PA

  2. Ah-hah! So that WAS a pre-recorded warm up. I suppose that makes sense; they probably choose something that sounds decent. And that explains why I even thought perhaps it was on a loop.

    Thanks for commenting, Amy! Is this the first time I’ve heard from you here? (Sorry, OldBoeBrain … if I’ve forgotten a comment from before I blame the reeds!)

  3. I’m a long-time reader but I think my only other comment was when you wrote about “Flash Mobs” and I wrote to tell you something about the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Although my memory is getting bad too…definitely the reeds!

  4. So maybe we both can agree that that’s the ONE good thing about reed?! We can blame them for nearly everything! 🙂

  5. patti with an i

    I suspect that lighting has to be different for a broadcast concert, different as in brighter for the cameras and therefore hotter onstage? Just a guess.

  6. Yep, that’s what I was assuming too, patti with an i.