sábado, 31 de diciembre de 2016


En el capítulo V de la Tercera Temporada de Mozart in the jungle, Plácido Domingo acompaña a una Bellucci con perfume a María Callas, en Mozart, mientras la ciudad se agiganta como un decorado extraordinario y los secundarios de lujo como Malcom MacDowell (La naranja mecánica) disfrutan y siguen el momento entre la alucinación y el goce.

Amazon Studios' pilot about a hyped young maestro and - as the poster has it - 'sex drugs and classical music', bears almost no relation to reality. It clearly will be must-see viewing
News that Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle pilot is to be turned into a fully-fledged series (one of four shows that Amazon Studios has chosen for its incarnation as a producer as well as streaming channel) should have classical music fans all over the world a-flutter. Haven't seen it yet? Then do so immediately, to have a world of classical cliche, comedy sex, bad musician-mimes, and not very good gags brought thrillingly to life, and look forward to the frabjous day when you can watch the whole series online. Malcolm McDowell as a wild-eyed, still-randy, just-demoted maestro? Check. Gael Garcia Bernal as "Rodrigo", his sultry, Dudamelalike usurper to the throne of the New York Symphony? Check. Saffron Burrows as a worldly-wise, wearily horny cellist? You bet. Joshua Bell playing Tchaikovsky? Of course!

That last bit really is true, as Bell manfully plays through McDowell's magnificently unconvincing (but not quite as bad as Bernal's) podium gestures in Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. But Bell - and the music - are really the sideshow in Mozart in the Jungle. Based on Blair Tindall's 2005 memoir that shocked the world with its startling revelation that classical musicians have sex and take drugs just like the rest of humanity, Mozart in the Jungle centres on Hailey, an oboist, played by Lola Kirke, whose misadventures will be the main spine of the series. At the end of the pilot (spoiler alert) Rodrigo looks up from his latest liaison in a corridor to be enchanted by Hailey's oboe playing, presumably the prelude to who knows what single-entendre gags about instruments, batons, and circular breathing.
On its own terms, Mozart in the Jungle is a slightly awkward comedy-drama that may or may not have audiences hooked when it becomes a full-scale show. But as a revelation of what producers, directors, and studios think that classical music is, it's fascinating (one of the first violinists played sharp "17 times", Rodrigo complains - now that's what I call listening!). And as a caricature and parody of hype around Dudamel and the all-too prevalent myths of the maestros, it's both hilarious and depressing, sharing only the hair and the intense stare with anything approaching the reality of what life's like as a hard-working conductor or orchestral musician. But forget the veracity, and enjoy - or try to - Mozart in the Jungle for its lazy dramatic caricatures and its lessons in how not to mime in classical music.


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