Review: Tchaikovski Spectacular with Fireworks Lives Up to Its Name at Hollywood Bowl

Seeing the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl is an ultimate L.A. experience.

Seeing the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl is an ultimate L.A. experience.

A funny typing happened Friday night at the Hollywood Bowl. Despite the infamous L.A. rush hour traffic, despite the 8 p.m. start time and despite every other excuse in the book of why Angelenos are late to every event, seemingly every one of the 17,500 in attendance for the Tchaikovsky Spectacular With Fireworks was in their seats, bottle of wine open and ready to take in a spectacular night. 

Helmed by Maestro Bramwell Tovey, the world-famous Los Angeles Philharmonic honored the work of legendary Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – whose visceral and emotional pieces include works such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker – in an impeccable set with a well-timed intermission. Tovey then brought on Thomas Mesa, a renowned Cuban-American cellist, to play Tchaikovsky’s “Variations on a Rococo Theme.”

Surely not everyone in attendance was thoroughly acquainted with the story and meaning behind all of Tchaikovsky’s brilliant work, which is why the the whimsically charismatic way that Tovey used to explain the stories behind each of the pieces was the perfect prologue to every beautiful story. And not only does Tovey possess a delightful English charm, he’s also straight-up hilarious, often playfully poking fun at the people in the expensive seats. 

If you’ve never seen the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, it’s quite a sight. There are no cell phones going off, none of the loud talkers you get sometimes at the movies or any other distractions that pull you away from these amazing musical stories (quite a feat, considering the bevy of wine flowing). Everyone in the sold-out crowd was focused on and gripped by every twist and turn.

The grand finale definitely lived up to the hype, as the USC Trojan Marching Band came out to play “1812 Overture” alongside a picturesque fireworks show that filled the evening sky with just enough light and color to highlight the nature that surrounds the historic Hollywood Bowl. It was the only way to end such a delightful evening.  

As a first-timer seeing the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, I’ll say summers at the Hollywood Bowl should be an annual tradition for any Angeleno. Whether it’s John Williams, a jazz show or even the Muppets Take the Bowl Fireworks Spectacular, the magic and splendor of the Hollywood Bowl provide the perfect backdrop to have the ultimate L.A. experience. 

Francisco Reyes is a Staff Reporter for Living Out Loud - LA, covering entertainment and sports. Follow him on Twitter: @fjr3487

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