At Ojai there was an answer: “Yes, something can,” which the birds and frogs and soft breezes confirmed.
I heard my first Ojai Festival in 1981, and haven’t missed one since. This was the best. I may have written that of others, but never with more assurance. Ernest Fleischmann, who has guided its destiny in recent years, steps down now; if he needs a further monument than the one of him we already cherish in our estimation, let it be this extraordinary weekend, its triumphant proclamation of the mingled roles of music and the human spirit. The Cleveland Orchestra’s Tom Morris takes over as artistic director; next year’s musical star will be Kent Nagano. I don’t envy them the shoes they now must fill.
Obiter dictum: There’s no space this week for the L.A. Opera’s Don Giovanni. If you need my yes/no vote, let it be the former. It is, to cite the critic’s favorite cop-out word, interesting. Erwin Schrott, the Giovanni himself, is worth the trip from anywhere.