My review of Philip Glass’ and Robert Wilson’s the CIVIL warS is up on the L.A. RECORD site.
When talking about classical music, and a composer of Glass’ caliber, of course I wanted to keep the focus on the positive. People should support music like this. And though the house was relatively packed, the trend on the horizon, around the country, is one of slumping sales even for Mozart!
But that’s why I couldn’t help but notice some of the problems with this particular production. In general, the singing and playing was great, but certain parts of the staging left something to be desired…
LA PHIL, if you must mic an operatic performance, can you at least test that the microphones and cords aren’t static-y, or have a backup, or just… just don’t fuck it up? We’re paying dozens of dollars here—which is clearly more than you paid your temps to type out the translations onto the big opera scoreboard, where “lose” was spelled “loose” throughout the evening, and other snippets of text and capitalization and punctuation seemed strangely wrong, even for a piece where everything’s up for grabs. I know this was supposed to be a “cantata-like concert performance lacking the hallucinatory visuals that originally accompanied the full staged version,” as the program so honestly described it, but doesn’t that mean it’s even more important that the few remaining moving parts stay in sync?
Still, the overall effect was rather amazing, and my brain left the hall far later than my body did.
-D. M. Collins