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PBS: The Verdi Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl

Music Director Gustavo Dudamel conducts at Hollywood Bowl
Music Director Gustavo Dudamel conducts at Hollywood Bowl
GP/PBS

Dudamel will conduct the Verdi Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl, on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, Friday, August 1 at 9 p.m. on PBS.

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PBS/THIRTEEN

The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s acclaimed performance under the stars in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth interspersed with archival footage

In commemoration of the 2013 Giuseppe Verdi bicentennial, Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform a stirring concert of Verdi’s towering Requiem Mass at the Hollywood Bowl. Before the performance, the maestro shares his enthusiasm for the iconic venue, the largest natural amphitheater in the country, and for Verdi’s passionate and highly theatrical work: a mass, yes, but “in an opera way,” as Dudamel explains.

The concert presentation features soloists Julianna Di Giacomo (soprano), Michelle DeYoung (mezzo-soprano), Vittorio Grigolo (tenor) and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (bass). Dudamel Conducts the Verdi Requiem at The Hollywood Bowl on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, airs Friday, August 1 at 9 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)

The performance was recorded live last summer, and features the Los Angeles Master Chorale, currently in its 50th season, under the direction of Grant Gershon,

“Dudamel emphasized intimate, personal expression, this time defying the Bowl’s immensity,” said the Los Angeles Times about the Hollywood Bowl performance. “It was an important and exceptional evening. A page was turned and a new chapter begun in the maturation of a music director.”

Dudamel’s cast is internationally renowned: D´Arcangelo regularly performs at La Scala, the Wiener Staatsoper, London’s Royal Opera and the Salzburg Festival; Grigolo regularly guests at La Scala, Covent Garden and The Metropolitan Opera; DeYoung is known for performances with leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and Chicago Symphony; and Di Giacomo regularly guests at The Metropolitan Opera and LA Opera, among other international opera houses.

On the site of what was always a local favorite picnicking spot, the Hollywood Bowl opened with a series of makeshift stages in 1922 – the permanent structure and its fabled shell not completed till 1929 – and has been referenced in numerous films, as clips of Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, “I Love Lucy” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” amusingly illustrate. And all the greats from the classical and pop worlds have played here, as archival photos of The Beatles, Leonard Bernstein, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Placido Domingo, and Otto Klemperer, among many others, demonstrate.

Dudamel – who first conducted at the Bowl in 2005 — extols the “magic atmosphere of this place,” and asserts that “to play here as an artist in very special…I feel honored, I feel proud, I feel happy.”

“I always conduct with a baton,” he explains. “But with a chorus, I prefer to have connection with the hand,” so on this occasion, he eschews his stick, so his fingers can bring out the full expressiveness of his forces.

Dudamel is in his fifth season as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where his contract has already been extended through 2018-19, the orchestra’s 100th season. He led this concert during his fourth summer season at the Hollywood Bowl.