What the 48-year-old Mälkki does bring is, first and probably foremost, the ability to create viscerally arresting performances.
She ended Friday’s program with a rousing performance of Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.” There was a sharp-edged, crystalline clarity to the sound of the orchestra — every solo instrument and every section — making a striking effect. There was, equally, exceptional vitality. Imagine a Pierre Boulez who could dance. The orchestra was as thrilled as the audience, and it showed.