Review: New York Philharmonic’s Stravinsky ballets, with dancing musicians

Posted on: July 1, 2013

“For the New York Philharmonic’s production of ‘Petrushka’ that opened on Thursday night at Avery Fisher Hall … the director and designer Doug Fitch did not have a corps de ballet to enact the scene. Still, he had very willing substitutes: the Philharmonic players,” writes Anthony Tommasini in Saturday’s (6/29) New York Times. “In this ‘Petrushka’ the musicians, many wearing Russian hats and jackets, played the piece and also the rowdy crowd participating in the festivities, stomping their boots in unison with the downbeats and swaying to the swings of the music like the orchestral equivalent of a wave at a baseball stadium.… With every drum roll, the players stood up and switched seats: an ultimate musical chairs.… Then, suddenly, the conductor Alan Gilbert, wearing a long, satiny coat, leapt from the podium and turned to the audience, taking the role of the magician….  It was delightful to see the skilled members of the Philharmonic so eagerly embracing the chance to act, stomp and ham it up. At one point in ‘Petrushka,’ the violist Rebecca Young did a little Russian dance, juggling colored handkerchiefs and twirling about exuberantly. Is this the future of the American orchestra? Let’s hope so.” 

Posted July 1, 2013