“And so, Saturday, it came to pass,” writes Mark Swed late Saturday (10/3) on the Los Angeles Times blog Culture Monster. “After all the extraordinary buildup—the billboards and the bilingual media frenzy—18,000 people from every corner of the city came to the Hollywood Bowl to bear witness. … in his first return to the Hollywood Bowl since making his U.S. debut there in 2005, the Dude pulled it off. Joy reigned. On Saturday, Gustavo Dudamel concluded ‘¡Bienvenido Gustavo!’—the 28-year-old Venezuelan conductor’s first concert as the [Los Angeles] Philharmonic’s music director—with a Beethoven Ninth to be remembered. … But it wasn’t until the final movement, with its setting of Schiller’s "Ode to Joy," that Dudamel really began to demonstrate what all the fuss is about. … Here, Dudamel tested limits. He took the final measures faster than reasonable but just short of impossible. A full moon rose over the Bowl’s hedges, as if elevated by the energy on stage. The camera panned over a multicultural chorus for the Bowl’s large video screens. Schiller’s quaint text was translated in alternating English and Spanish.”

Posted October 5, 2009