IF YOU’VE NEVER DONE OPERA
This would be a grand place to start. You just might love it.
BLUES DUO — that’s not their name, I guess they don’t have one (each also plays in other bands), but that shouldn’t matter to you because this slide guitar-harmonica vocal duo are stone cold blues masters in every way, with as full a sound as you could wish for, and ain’t that enough? Every Sun 3-5 p.m., parking lot adjacent to Ashland Hill restaurant on Main Street, free.
EM THE MASTER — why would you put skepticism in people’s minds before they even get to the door, by proclaiming yourself “The Master”? Maybe, it’s worth it if you know you can back it up, and that becomes part of the image, the legend. EM does back it up and does it all, like no one you’ve seen in years or maybe ever, up close in a local bar not an arena and for 10 bucks. She sings, she dances, she has dancers, they all jump up on the bar (watch those drinks!), practically spilling out the door onto Fourth Street, she crawls across the stage and the floor gripping the mic, she doesn’t play the piano she attacks it, she uses her voice as an instrument in creative ways to transform each number, she aggressively leads a killer band, her energy is nonstop and seemingly limitless, she can sell a song, rockers and ballads, vocally and with her smart, seductive arrangements, she writes terrific songs perfect for her act, and she may remind you some of a more energetic LadyGaga. In her spare time she co-authored a book with Gaga that made the NY Times best-seller list. Every Tues 9 p.m., Harvelle’s, DTSM, $10; also every Mon
TONIGHT! HAMILTON — No, I haven’t seen it, dammit, but I think I can only go wrong by not recommending it, from what I’ve heard and read. Tonight, Fri, Sat, Tues, Wed, next Thurs 8 p.m., Sun 1 p.m., 6:30 p.m., also Sat 2 p.m., all performances at Pantages Theater, Hollywood, $49-3000+, depending on date/time.
TONIGHT! GETTY VILLA presents LIZASTRATA —Aristophanes’ famous tale of sexual politics, “Lysistrata,” becomes “Lizastrata” in the hands of the Troubadour Theater company powered by Ms. Minelli’s well-known songbook. seems like a hoot worth howling at, at the transcendent museum just up the road. Tonight, Fri, Sat, next Thurs, 8 p.m., Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades, $36-48 (the website says “sold out” for every performance, but sometimes…)..
LA OPERA presents VERDI’S “IL TROVATORE” — LA Opera is back! And kicking out the jams for the long-delayed new season with a lineup of some of the best-known operas, by a composers’ hall of fame. LA Opera is known for innovation and taking chances, but they need to have healthy sales, especially with COVID restrictions, so they’ve got Verdi bookended (“Aida” next May), with Wagner’s “Tannhäuser,” Rossini’s “Cinderella,” and “St. Matthew Passion” by Johann Sebastian Bach. When you can see spectacle like this, some of the world’s greatest voices and exquisite music, for around 20 bucks a pop, well, I just can’t understand why you wouldn’t hit all five.
Only three more performances for Verdi’s esteemed “Il Trovatore,” so don’t delay. Mark Swed of the LA Times, a classical music critic I’ve come to trust, heaped praise on it. (I’ll be going Sunday after next.) With all involved in relaunching the company after 18 months, they had to build the sets from scratch in 10 days because the ones coming from Europe are still held up outside LA Harbor (last count: 71 ships waiting to dock and unload). Music director James Conlon must be as happy as a pig in slop — with over 500 Verdi opera performances under his belt, it should be a treat to hear him squeezing every last note for all Verdi intended. How many times have you heard”The Anvil Chorus”? Now see where it came from. Big chorus on stage. Oh yeah. Sat 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, DTLA, $23-292.
THEATRICUM BOTANICUM presents “THE LAST, BEST SMALL TOWN” — this moving, timely original with themes of racism, small town life, youthful rebellion, tradition — the full range of the human condition set in a small town that both nurtures and stultifies. Sat 7:30 p.m.
SHAKESPEARE’S “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” — one of the best “AMND” I can recall. Loved the inventive physical comedy, and these TB fairies were show stealers; who could not be charmed by their little chirping sounds? Sun 4 p.m.
SHAKESPEARE’S “JULIUS CAESAR” — historically informative, makes ancient political drama seem contemporary. All politics are local politics, right? Every word shimmers, due to the delivery and acting of the TB thespians. Christopher W. Jones stood out as conflicted bad guy Brutus, as did Willow Geer as Portia, with special linguistic laurels to Melora Marshall as Cassius, who was just made for this role, even though it is a man’s part. She pulls you straight in, to the moment. Sun 7:30 p.m.
All performances TB, Topanga Canyon, $10-60.
HERBIE HANCOCK, ESPERANZA SPALDING — how can you pass this up? Old Guard colossus meets the now and future giant of jazz bass. They could play nursery rhymes and it would be brilliant. Sun 7 p.m. Hollywood Bowl, $29-127.
DUDAMEL conducts MOZART Under the Stars — last chance this season to let the magnificent Dude bowl you over outdoors, under the stars, with the timeless genius of Mozart. Tues 8 p.m., Hollywood Bowl, $20-122.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: VAN MORRISON, Hollywood Bowl, 10/2; LA PHIL returns to Disney Hall! – Homecoming Gala and Benefit with DUDAMEL, varied program, 10/9; DUDAMEL conducts STRAUSS, 10/14-17; DUDAMEL conducts MAHLER’S 4TH, 10/21-24, all performances at Disney Hall, DTLA.
Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org