LA Opera restarts in-person performances with Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex”

Posted on: July 2, 2021

Caedit nos pestis: ‘The plague falls upon us.’ The dire opening of Stravinsky’s ‘Oedipus Rex’ should have had a chilling effect when L.A. Opera presented the work at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, on June 6th,” writes Alex Ross in the June 28 issue of The New Yorker. “The chorus sings of the Plague of Thebes over five darkly screaming chords in the key of B-flat minor… This is the sound of an inescapable catastrophe.… Stravinsky wrote ‘Oedipus’ … in the wake of … the First World War and the flu pandemic of 1918. It sounds no less fearsome a century on. My immediate reaction, though, was one of joy…. To hear such big sound after long silence brought me back to my first encounters with full orchestras in childhood: the National Symphony playing Mahler, the New York Philharmonic playing Richard Strauss. This loudness is also fullness: Niagara indoors. James Conlon, L.A. Opera’s longtime music director … highlighted … haunting resonances…. The chorus and the orchestra delivered unremitting intensity from the first bars to the last. An audience of six hundred and seventy-five people relished the sound of their own exuberant applause.”