New technology came to the Dallas Symphony at this excellent concert — but who knew?

Giancarlo Guerrero, Leonidas Kavakos
The Dallas Morning News

Unless you read the news online last week, you wouldn't have known about it Saturday. No announcement was made, and nothing was mentioned in the program book.

But the weekend's Dallas Symphony Orchestra concerts included a soft rollout of a new technology to transmit program notes and images to smartphones and tablets in the audience. I gave it a try Saturday night.

Developed by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Drexel University, the system is being used for illustrative works on five concerts this season. This time it was for the Ravel orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, the second half of an all-Russian program led by guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, music director of the Nashville Symphony.

I've long advocated at least projected supertitles for works like Pictures, a suite of musical impressions of paintings and drawings by the Russian artist Victor Hartmann. I've also seen supertitles projected —  effectively, with illustrations — with ballet scores by Ravel and Stravinsky. Why not try a new technology? 

The interactive LiveNote system, accessible from the DSO mobile app, uses white type on a black screen, to minimize distraction. With Pictures, one could swipe from one paragraph to another, and from one musical section to another. Many of the Hartmann images that inspired the sections have been lost, but others were offered as substitutes. ... »

Guerrero brings insight (and showmanship) to DSO’s Russian program

Giancarlo Guerrero, Leonidas Kavakos
Texas Classical Review

Two reliable crowd-pleasers bookend a dark 20th-century masterpiece in this weekend’s all-Russian program by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. All parties involved—guest conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, violin soloist Leonidas Kavakos, and the orchestra—turned in solid performances at Meyerson Symphony Center, including some surprising new insights into an overly-familiar work.

Giancarlo Guerrero, who is currently music director of the Nashville Symphony, began his professional musical career in the U.S. a few miles down the freeway as an undergraduate percussion major at Baylor University. The Costa Rican-born conductor opened the concert with Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain (orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov), a work familiar to a broad audience through its presence in the 1940 version of Fantasia. Guerrero immediately threw in a strong dose of showmanship, searchingly surveying the orchestra before lifting his arm for the downbeat (and, incidentally, conducting without baton or score).  ... »

d’Oustrac’s brilliant Carmen provides the highlights at Dallas Opera

Emmanuel Villaume
Texas Classical Review

Dallas Opera’s Carmen proved to be a winning marriage of visual drama, the human voice, and the orchestra—a nearly perfect presentation of Bizet’s timeless tale of erotic obsession. ... »