A fireworks finale at the Bowl
The fireworks over the Hollywood Bowl spelled "¡Bienvenido Gustavo!" as the new music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic led his orchestra in the evening's third and final rendition of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.
Over and over the crowd stood and applauded Dudamel as he took his bow with the Philharmonic.
The only words the conductor spoke to the capacity crowd this evening were a brief speech after the performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and before the concluding fireworks.
"So, this is a very special moment for my life," he said. "It's great to have all these people here. I cannot see ... "
At this point he looked out to the audience and gestured to it, inspiring a deafening cheer.
Dudamel spoke of the importance of unity in the Western Hemisphere, which he described as "our complete continent together, not north and south."
He continued in a mix of English and Spanish: "I am very proud to be Latino, Venezuelan. I am proud to be South American. But I'm very proud to be American."
He then led the Phil in a performance of the Ode to Joy, accompanied by dazzling fireworks so loud that they caused soloists Michelle DeYoung and Measha Brueggergosman to jump from being startled.
The crowd gave him another standing ovation, with chants of "Gustavo, Gustavo" heard as the conductor waved goodnight.
-- David Ng
Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times