Best classical of 2022: Gustavo Dudamel, Mark Morris and more

Here we go again. At this time last year we looked back on our buoyancy and cautiously recovered from COVID-19. But 2022 turned into a boomerang year with new swings. Somehow the performing arts come through.

Many institutions, particularly new music groups, were expected not to survive, but Monday Evening Concerts, Brightwork Newmusic and its Tuesdays @ Monk Space series, Wild Up and Jacaranda all produced impressive and progressive seasons. The basically wonderful Wende Cold War Museum was the outlier, disappointingly dropping its fascinating new music program.

Musicians who have failed to play in front of live audiences during the pandemic have continued, and many are thriving. Gustavo Dudamel was a model. He’s been in the news every year since his Hollywood debut in 2005 and is easy to take for granted. But his accomplishments in a compromised 2022 warrant a column of his own.

You’d never know that as music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dudamel led an orchestra that lost about $100 million in projected earnings during the shutdown. He oversaw and conducted the LA Phil in two of the year’s most amazingly original opera productions: Beethoven’s Fidelio with the Deaf West Theater at the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Yuval Sharon’s revolutionary sci-fi Valkyries, the third act of Wagner’s opera , with video magic at the Hollywood Bowl. Dudamel directed monumental performances of Stravinsky ballets paired with Latin American ballet scores. He won a Grammy for his LA Phil Ives symphony cycle and just received a nomination for his new LA Phil Dvorák symphony set. He was the subject of a major documentary, “¡Viva Maestro!”

Conducting a Schumann symphony cycle with the New York Philharmonic, Dudamel left locals confident he’ll be taking a bite out of the Big Apple when Jaap van Zweden departs in 2024. (We’ll see.) He was so impressed in his first full year as music director of the Paris Opera that French President Emmanuel Macron made him an officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters. Dudamel combined his two posts and brought the Paris Opera Ballet to the Hollywood Bowl, making it one of the highlights of the amphitheater’s centenary celebrations. And with his dancing cap on, he conducted the first concert performance at Disney of Thomas Adès’ full-length ballet music “Dante,” which is almost certain to become a classic. Next up is Dudamel, who will be taking on Disney’s acclaimed Bill Viola/Peter Sellars “Tristan Project” in December.

That’s not all, but it’s time to move on to some of the other achievements of the year. Best classical of 2022: Gustavo Dudamel, Mark Morris and more

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