LOS ANGELES -- Not too long ago, downtown Los Angeles was a place to avoid, but all that has changed.
The Music Center Complex, which includes the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theater and the Mark Taper Forum, is now dominated by the 2-year-old Walt Disney Concert Hall, a magnificent Frank Gehry building that gives the Los Angeles Philharmonic its own home and allows Los Angeles Opera proprietary use of the Chandler.
The Center offers full seasons of classical music, opera, dance and theater. Add to this the Museum of Contemporary Art just across Grand Street, luxury hotels and some of the city's best restaurants, and you have an ideal venue for the recent cross-disciplinary National Critics Conference. During this time, members of the Music Critics Association of North America had opportunities to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic under its music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, and at the Opera, Verdi's "Falstaff" and Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier."