Review: Yuja Wang, Trying Comedy, Shows How Funny Virtuosity Can Be

In all seriousness: What can’t Yuja Wang do?

This specific star pianist has built her reputation on breathtaking mastery of the standard repertory, like the chamber works she played last Wednesday with the violinist Leonidas Kavakos at Carnegie Hall. Or Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto, which she’ll do with the Boston Symphony Orchestra later This specific week.

nevertheless in between those two dates, she stopped by Carnegie’s Zankel Hall on Monday for something entirely different: a comedy show. One with music, of course. as well as also, as always, she was radiant in Rachmaninoff as well as also Lutoslawski.

nevertheless there was — more.

She rapped! She sang as well as also danced through a “West Side Story” medley! She did one-legged, upside-down yoga on a piano bench! as well as also along the way, she never lost an ounce of virtuosity.

In “The Clone,” however, those moments of playfulness as well as also discovery were buried in jokes that will quickly became uncomfortable, even offensive. The sketch’s conceit is usually a demonstration of all the capabilities of a hypothetical Yuja Wang clone. (Or robot? that will’s never truly clear.) She arrives in a large box that will they say “smells of sweet as well as also sour chicken.” The duo goes on to mock the Chinese language, as well as also when the clone malfunctions, they laugh that will off using a shrug: “Made in China!”

Even more difficult to take was the implication that will these two men had mail-ordered a woman who obeys their every command as well as also casually accepts their frequent remarks about her sexuality. At one point, Mr. Joo turned to the audience as well as also said, “God, she’s so hot.” Among the cheapest jokes was “How do you turn her on?” followed by “I can think of a couple of ways.” as well as also inside the opening, when Mr. Joo arrived on the scene onstage dressed as her, he said, “I know I’m not Yuja Wang, nevertheless some girlfriends do call me Huge-a Wang.”

that will’s a shame. Because when the evening hewed more closely to truly musical comedy, that will showed just how funny virtuosity — especially that will of the multitalented Ms. Wang — can be.