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August 2013
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Orchestra on Steroids

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According to the New York Philharmonic, it pays to use some imagination—or even a lot. They’ve had a long history of televised concerts going back to Bernstein and beyond, so it would be logical to create some performances, à la The Metropolitan Opera, for the silver screen—except for one consideration: these days, audiences have entirely different expectations of video.

As a father of three, Music Director Alan Gilbert has likely peered at his world through children’s eyes: guys in white ties wouldn’t be as stimulating as today’s video games, or 3-D movies, or even the average public TV program. Clearly the Philharmonic needed to update their concept.

The most recent result has been A Dancer’s Dream, built off a concert of Stravinsky’s Petrushka and A Fairy’s Kiss. Under the guidance of director and designer Doug Fitch, bass-baritone Eric Owens (Lyric Opera veteran) becomes one of the famous puppets in Petrushka, performing alongside actual puppets, video effects, circus arts and, of course, the orchestra. The concept is so entirely visual, even the Philharmonic players are in costume.

Thankfully, it sounds good, too. The radio broadcast can be heard on WFMT Thursday at 8:00 PM. Check out these videos on the making of A Dancer’s Dream.

 

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