Maazel and Gustafson Take on Strauss. So Should You.

It’s easy to fall into one of two camps when it comes to classical music – some drop composer’s names and make incredibly nerdy jokes that only other classical fanatics would really get. (“Ha! That’s like confusing Bach with Mozart.  Imagine!”) Others will only be dragged kicking and screaming into Disney Hall checking the Lakers score every three minutes on their iPhone.  Whichever camp you fall into, this weekend, the classical world beckons.  The LA Philharmonic presents Strauss, as conducted by Lorin Maazel and sung by soprano Nancy Gustafson.  Why should you care? We’ll tell you.

Part of new Music Director Gustavo Dudamel’s celebrated season, this concert highlights some of Strauss’ most popular and most underplayed works – from his Rosenkavalier Suite to Salome’s Dance and Final Scene, with his Symphony No. 2 also making the bill.

Richard Strauss is remembered as one of the most vivacious classical composers to come from, well, any time before the 1960s.  Known for his opening of Also Sprach Zarathustra, Strauss’ collection of work also includes the widely popular, although originally very controversial, one act opera Salome based on Oscar Wilde’s play and for which Strauss wrote the Dance of the Seven Veils.

Fresh from his seventh and final season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, conductor Lorin Maazel has quite the reputation himself – he’s now in his fourth season as the first Music Director of the Palau de les Arts “Reina Sofia” opera house in Valencia, Spain.  He’s been dedicated to working with young artists, inspiring classical musicians from all walks of life, and his compositions are all widely acclaimed.  Singing Salome’s Dance and Final Scene, Nancy Gustafson has performed on every stage, domestic and international, worth mentioning – San Francisco, Chicago, Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and so on.

With performances on Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon, Maazel conducts Strauss should be immediately placed on your calendar – alert your assistant.

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