Article updated July 7, 2018 by Dave Read
Andris Nelsons led the Boston Symphony Orchestra in their 2018 Tanglewood season opener, featuring pianist Lang Lang in Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24. Since the middle of June, the Popular Artist series has had the run of the place, through good weather and bad. Tonight felt nothing like any of our recent visits; the nearly week long heat wave broke yesterday, leaving today feeling almost autumnal!
Our seat in the Koussevitsky Music Shed afforded a view over Lang Lang’s right shoulder and while his entrance in the concerto neared, his left hand appeared to float above the piano keys, moving slowly as if suspended in some unseen solution. Then his right hand played his first notes of the composition, and we watched intently as something like a pantomime transpired in the midst of a musical performance that brought the audience to its feet in rapturous applause.
The pianist, among the world’s most celebrated, in his third Tanglewood appearance since 2003, conveys an image of weightlessness, as if he seeks to free his hands from the gravity of the body for the accomplishment of his incorporeal mission.
Lang Lang has played Tanglewood thrice
While the eye is diverted, the ear is delighted by Lang Lang’s artistry, which can include runs of notes that rush right up to and around each other. A single one can seem to linger; dozens dazzle in the span of a couple seconds, too. They are flawless, even if they do not present themselves for inspection.
Following an ovation and curtain-call, Lang Lang returned to play CHOPIN Nocturne in C-sharp minor, B. 49. He left the stage slowly, basking in the applause and acknowledging the audience as he departed; then he pulled an Elvis, tossing his handkerchief in the direction of an adoring fan!
Rounding out tonight’s program was Tchaikowsky’s Symphony No. 5, chosen because it was played on Leonard Bernstein’s storied seventieth birthday concert at Tanglewood thirty years ago. With melody after memorable melody created by way of every colorful nuance available, delivered with energetic drama, the orchestra has settled in to the summer of Bernstein.
2018 Tanglewood schedule
The 2018 Tanglewood schedulefeatures a season-long celebration of the centennial of Leonard’s Bernstein’s birth, culminating in the Aug. 25 Bernstein Centennial Celebration hosted by Audra McDonald, with Maestro Andris Nelsons, four guest conductors and soloists Yo-Yo Ma, Midori, and others.
Hotels near Tanglewood
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Tanglewood tickets and box office information
Tickets for the 2018 Tanglewood season available through Tanglewood’s website, www.tanglewood.org, SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200, and at the Symphony Hall Box Office at 301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston MA.
Getting around the Tanglewood campus
The Tanglewood campus, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center comprises several hundred acres in the towns of Lenox and Stockbridge. It is the location of the Koussevitsky Music Shed and Ozawa Hall, where hundreds of thousands attend concerts and a variety of events, including picnics. We always advise new visitors to arrive early and take their daily walking exercise wandering the beautiful Tanglewood grounds. This dynamic map of the Tanglewood grounds includes photos and information for such points of interest as Aaron Copland Library, Highwood Manor House, The Glass House, and The Lion’s Gate.