My review in the Chronicle:
“You’re fortunate to see a contemporary classic on the scale of Mark Morris’ “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato” once, blessed to see it twice. As of Friday, I have seen “L’Allegro” three times – not as many as some dance lovers, and not as many as the four times the Mark Morris Dance Group has visited UC Berkeley’s Cal Performances with “L’Allegro” since its creation 20 years ago.
At Zellerbach Hall, with Jane Glover conducting the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus through Handel’s score, and a quartet of fine singers delivering Milton’s poetry, it was again a feast for the senses.
Books could be written on Morris’ treatment of this pastoral ode to dark and light (and one has, a coffee table volume of photographs accompanied by insightful essays). But what struck me Friday was how meditative an experience “L’Allegro” is. Morris is vaunted for his “musicality,” which can sound as though he does something more complicated, technical or otherwise mystified in response to the score. In fact, “L’Allegro,” even more so than most Morris works, is built upon a simplicity that can only be won through deep thoughtfulness. It breathes.”
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Fantastic review! Your insights into the affect L’allegro has on the viewer were eloquently expressed. I feel as you do about the cathedral section. It uplifts me deep within. The flocks of birds and solitary birds are also quite moving. I especially enjoyed your statement about there being a certain happiness in being sad, and a sadness in being happy. How delightful to read a review from a reviewer who comes to her writing with the experience of life.