One of the perks of being a donor to the Los Angeles Philharmonic is an invitation to a rehearsal. So Gordon and I put on our hats and other protective gear to attend a rehearsal of the concert to be presented tonight at the Hollywood Bowl. I knew the Phil was performing Wagner’s Greatest Hits (it’s summer; you expect the program to be dumbed down) but I didn’t think I’d like the show so much–especially since it was 98 degrees in the shade and there was no shade. Dudamel conducted the Phil and the Los Angeles Master Chorale (must have been almost 200 people on stage) as they performed excerpts from Tannheuser (is that spelled right? I can’t find the program), The Flying Dutchman, and Der Meistersingers of Nuremberg. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any of these pieces live before and the sound was stunning. I snickered through the Tannheuser piece because I first heard it performed by Bugs and Elmer in a cartoon. Gordon and I sang that version at a break, to the amusement of the people next to us. The men’s section of the chorus thundered out the Flying Dutchman thing. What I know as the Wedding March from Meistersingers was absolutely glorious–loved the women’s voices in particular. My God, Wagner wrote some amazing music. It’s hard to reconcile the fact that the all this wonderful music came from the same sort of people who produced the Holocaust. I’m tempted to go back tonight to hear an uninterrupted version when I’m not trying to hear through heat stroke but no, this morning was enough. I hope they tape it and put it on PBS or something. Everybody should have a chance to hear this.