Gentle Giant

Yuri Temirkanov walked with the slow and deliberate pace of a dignified maestro as he went back and forth from the Disney Hall podium through several rounds of applause and two encores.

But after the concert the St. Petersburg Philharmonic leader, clad in a gray suit sans cravatte, was all warmth and smiles as the crowd at Kendall’s greeted him with yet another ovation and requests for his autograph, which he signed in the Roman alphabet.

“Disney Hall is brilliant,” Temirkanov told FineArtsLA as he sipped a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by Louis Martini and ordered sweet corn polenta ravioli with lamb chorizo, “one of the best in the world.” The audience was equally wonderful, he added.

By the concert’s second half, the visiting orchestra had recovered from the jet lag that plagued the first part of the program, which included Schubert’s “Rosamunde” entr’acte and Schumann’s Piano Concerto played by Nelson Freire, and Temirkanov drew from it an electrifying rendition of selections from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

“Prokofiev was a genius,” said the maestro, “and is still very much underestimated.”

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