Review: Lina González-Granados makes a splash in her Bowl debut

Thursday evening, Lina González-Granados grew to become the second of the 4 younger conductors making their harrowing Los Angeles Philharmonic debuts on the Hollywood Bowl this month. They’re harrowing in no small half due to the mere single rehearsal that very same morning. With no hope for coaxing finesse, most debutants go in for making a giant splash within the huge outdoor with huge results. González-Granados proved no exception, though she additionally occurred to be excellent at that.

Then once more, a morning rehearsal could have felt like a small luxurious to the 36-year-old conductor from Cali, Colombia, who has been an assistant conductor to Riccardo Muti on the Chicago Symphony since February 2020. Throughout a CSO gown rehearsal in June, Muti examined optimistic for COVID-19, which required González-Granados to right away take over and run by Beethoven’s Violin Concerto for the night live performance, leaving her to additionally conduct Brahms’ First Symphony chilly that evening. An impressed orchestra prolonged her place, which was supposed to finish that month, for an additional season.

Then once more, González-Granados could have already got her foot out the CSO door. Her Bowl live performance shall be adopted by an much more decisive debut subsequent month, as she begins her new put up as Los Angeles Opera’s resident conductor by main “Lucia di Lammermoor” for the corporate’s opening evening. In November, González-Granados will make her third native debut, this time with the Pasadena Symphony, which is presently making an attempt out conductors to fill the orchestra’s music director emptiness.

González-Granados, actually, appeared already proper at house on the Bowl. She opened with Nina Shekhar’s “Lumina,” a brief sunburst of a chunk, which was written whereas the composer was a pupil at USC. The varsity’s Thornton Symphony gave the premiere in 2020 (a truth curiously disregarded of the Bowl program notes, for many who took the difficulty to hunt them down on their cellphones). That was adopted by Paganini’s “Sonata per la Grand Viola,” a small concerto that featured L.A. Phil principal violist Teng Li as soloist. Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” after intermission, served to showcase the L.A. Phil’s first affiliate concertmaster, Nathan Cole.

Shekhar’s “Lumina” has been getting numerous consideration. The Minnesota Orchestra carried out it in Might. Per week later the New York Philharmonic music director Jaap van Zweden added “Lumina” to a program of Beethoven and Mozart and included the piece on the orchestra’s excursions to Germany and Vail, Colo.

The 11-minute rating, impressed by traditional Indian music, begins like a raga discovering its tones and shortly explodes like an orchestral supernova in a wash of microtones earlier than returning to its quiet origins. Shekhar says in a video she made for the New York Philharmonic that she feels the necessity to focus our consideration, to assist us hearken to our surroundings and honor silence. But regardless of a fairly simple efficiency, little of that proved appropriate for the Bowl.

Opening silences have been crammed by picnickers packing up and aircrafts flying overhead. The nice outburst, loudly amplified, one way or the other got here out as a Hollywood-ish climax. The YouTube and Soundcloud recordings Shekhar hyperlinks to on her web site fill within the nuances misplaced outdoor.

The Paganini piece, nonetheless, is Bowl catnip. Formed kind of like an aria from an Italian opera from 1834 (Paganini occurred to jot down this the identical 12 months because the “Lucia” González-Granados will conduct in September), it begins with a recitative-like introduction adopted by a song-like central part that results in a propulsive theme and variations. At 12 minutes, the rating is aria size. The orchestra has little to do. The viola half explores not solely the instrument’s wealthy low register, however within the variations goes dazzlingly excessive with stratospheric harmonics.

Teng Li is the soloist in Paganini’s “Sonata per la Grand Viola” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Hollywood Bowl on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022.

(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Instances)

Li made a meal of it. Her viola — starkly expressive within the recitative, wealthy and resonant within the music and dazzlingly virtuosic within the variations — may need been a superhuman mezzo-soprano. The Sonata was written close to the top of Paganini’s life, when, sick, he had to surrender concertizing because the world’s most good violinist, and is modest compared together with his violin concertos and solo violin items. It’s little heard or recorded. This was the L.A. Phil’s first efficiency of it. I don’t think about all that many different main orchestras have bothered with it. They need to. That’s if they’ll discover their very own Li.

González-Granados’ official title in Chicago is the considerably demeaning Sir Georg Solti Conducting Apprentice. Her “Scheherazade” was not the work of an apprentice, nevertheless it was Solti-like. She went in for making stentorian statements. The Russians are likely to deal with the Sultan’s brassy theme because the mysteriously ominous presence of the ruler, Shahryar, in “One Thousand and One Nights,” the inspiration for Rimsky-Korsakov’s rating. González-Granados made it merely a present of uncooked energy, an aural power to attach you to your seat (or bench).

Nonetheless, the various solo instrumental passages, notably Cole’s fanciful realization of Scheherazade’s seductive violin interjections and Burt Hara’s superb clarinet ruminations, have been particular person triumphs. A number of principal gamers are on trip, and that excitingly allowed different gamers their moments to shine. Nonetheless, this “Scheherazade” got here on robust and just about stayed that means.

A well-rehearsed “Lucia,” which can have six performances, ought to current a far fuller image of González-Granados’ artistry. And whereas she’s at it, if she feels this strongly about Rimsky-Korsakov, how about pitching certainly one of his wondrous but uncared for operas to L.A. Opera?