Generating a buzz was pretty much the point of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall's gala opening Friday night. But not this kind of buzz.
Under the baton of conductor Carl St.Clair, music director of the hall's resident orchestra, the music poured forth as planned inside the $200-million maple and red-velvet showcase for classical music in Costa Mesa, from the opening rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" to Placido Domingo's singing of "Canciones de Lorca."
But something went amiss during the evening's home stretch, the final movement of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1, called "Titan." About 10 minutes from the end of the 54-minute piece, a sharp crack was heard in the hall, and when the music subsided to a soft passage, there it was: the kind of low, rumbling buzz you get when your stereo isn't properly grounded.
It lasted several minutes, until the orchestra, playing on unruffled, swept into the piece's crescendo ending.
Some thought maybe the timpanist had been creating that continuous sound, but Artec Consultants, the venue's acousticians, later confirmed that there had been a malfunction.