As a 20-season concertgoer to the Hollywood Bowl I've experienced the full impact of the Ernest Fleischmann era and I am not one of his fans. Under his stewardship as artistic director, the delightful character of an evening of Music Under the Stars has steadily eroded.
The beautifully lighted pond and fountains have been replaced with revenue-generating box seats. Frank Lloyd Wright's elegant shell was visually destroyed twice: first with giant cylinders; now with a grotesque overstructure of speakers and spheres.
The musical carillon which once signalled the end of intermission has been replaced with rude blinking of the lights and the raucous voice announcements. This year mindless "please-hold-the-handrail" recording drone patrons on and off the moving ramps and vendors hawk shirts and souvenirs. As to the concert sound, the money and effort spent on high-tech electronics has produced an artificial amplified quality which ranges from annoying to very unpleasant.
It is true that attendance has grown, particularly on nights when fireworks are offered, but must Hollywood Bowl, like so much else in our society, be reduced to the lowest denominator in pursuit of the almighty dollar?
It is not too late to restore the natural and artistic beauty that made Hollywood Bowl the country's premier outdoor concert setting. What is needed is either a change of management attitude or a change in management.