Critic: in praise of smaller concert halls

Posted on: August 5, 2016

“Most concert halls and opera houses are just too big,” writes Anthony Tommasini in Thursday’s (8/4) New York Times. “More intimate performance spaces have, with reason, become the rage. Maybe things were different in an earlier, quieter era, before the days of pervasive amplification … Today, it may be asking a lot of people to sit far removed from a performance, even a great one, and succumb to its allure. The smaller-is-better template comes through with particular power each summer with the series A Little Night Music, one of the most popular innovations of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. … The [Kaplan Penthouse] space, with capacity for some 230 people, offers enticing city views through floor-to-ceiling windows. … The artists often speak at these informal programs, which never last more than an hour. …  Orchestras and opera companies must somehow try to replicate this intimate atmosphere in bigger halls. … Less imposing halls need to be found for the symphonic repertory. I remain convinced that even newcomers to classical music would be excited to hear, say, the brilliant Cleveland Orchestra play almost anything in an acoustically miraculous place like Carnegie Hall. Still, more orchestra programs should be presented in smaller, alternative spaces.”

Posted August 5, 2016