Though L.A. is better known for its rock than its classical music offerings, you can still find plenty of high cultural concerts as well.
If you love the grandiose, get a ticket for a show at the Los Angeles Opera (135 N. Grand Ave., 213/972-7219, www.losangelesopera.com, $20–238). The L.A. Opera has only existed since 1986, but in that time it has grown to be one of the largest opera companies in the United States, gaining national recognition for the quality of its work.
The dazzling performances held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the Music Center of L.A. County have included such masterworks of the genre as Don Giovanni, La Bohème, and Tristan and Isolde. If you’re in town in 2009, you might catch The Magic Flute or La Traviata. Each season includes about 10 different operas.
The company gets recognition for its amazing production values, which include at least a couple of shows with truly fantastical costumes that in themselves are worth the price of the ticket.
If you prefer your musicians in black and white, take in a show by the Los Angeles Philharmonic (323/850-2000, www.laphil.com, $35–150), better known to its friends as the L.A. Phil. The philharmonic performs primarily at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S. Grand Ave., 323/850-2000, www.disneyconcerthall.com). Concerts can range from classics by famed composers like Tchaikovsky, Bach, and Beethoven to the world music of Asha Bhosle to jazz by Bobby McFerrin. Guest performers can be the modern virtuosi of classical music—Midori plays here on occasion. Whatever style of music you choose to listen to, conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen or one of his guests will lead you on a wonderful aural journey.
With its art deco band shell set against canyon chaparral, the Hollywood Bowl (2301 N. Highland Ave., 323/436-2827 or 323/850-2000, www.hollywoodbowl.com) has long been a romantic setting for outdoor summer concerts by the L.A. Philharmonic and other artists.
If you’re interested in supporting the work of amateur musician or just seeing a chamber concert in a more intimate setting, consider getting tickets to the Los Angeles Doctors Symphony (www.ladso.org, $10). This lovely community orchestra has been performing regularly since its inception in 1953. Many, though by no means all, of the musicians you’ll hear are members of the medical community.
They play everything from Mozart and Schubert to traditional music of various cultures, depending on the concert venue and the event. Check the website for the annual schedule, programs, and ticket information. If they’re playing when you’re in town, it’s definitely worth your time to support the musical culture of the Los Angeles community!
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition