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Plácido Domingo Announces LA Opera’s 2015/2016 Season!

15-16 season grid

Plácido Domingo has announced LA Opera's 2015/16 season, which is dedicated to you, the audience, and our community!  This exciting 30th Anniversary Season is filled with audience favorites, with plenty of LA Opera flair thrown in for good measure. The season will open on September 12, 2015, and will run through June 19, 2016.

A season-opening double bill provides a unique opportunity to see Plácido Domingo star in Woody Allen's riotus staging of Puccini's comic masterpiece Gianni Schicchi, and also conduct Franco Zeffirelli's grandly scaled production of Pagliacci starring Marco Berti and Ana María Martínez.  The season continues with the epic Moby-Dick, starring the sensational Jay Hunter Morris who returns to LA Opera as Captain Ahab, followed by the greatest of all bel canto dramas, Norma, featuring a superlative quartet of soloists led by Angela Meade.

The second half of the season begins with the eagerly anticipated revival of a production that created a sensation in 2013, Mozart's The Magic Flute! Then Ana María Martínez returns for her second leading role of the season in a stunning, new-to-Los Angeles production of Madame Butterfly. And the season concludes with the return of Nino Machaidze in her role debut as Mimi in the beloved, timeless classic, La Boheme!

We're also pleased to announce two very special events! Two of the greatest voices of our time, Plácido Domingo and Renée Fleming, combine forces in an unforgettable, one-night-only 30th Anniversary Concert conducted by James Conlon leading the LA Opera Orchestra. And superstar bass Erwin Schrott explores the passion, melancholy and erotic power of tango in Rojotango In Concert.

Concerts

This season at the REDCAT, LA Opera Off Grand presents the West Coast premiere of Song from the Uproar, a multimedia opera that combines live musical performance  and original film inspired by the journals of adventuress Isabelle Ernhardt (1877-1904), one of the most remarkable women of her era. Based on actual 18th-century texts, the World Premiere of Anatomy Theater follows the progression of an English murderess: from confession to execution and ultimately public dissection before a paying audience of fascinated onlookers. 

REDCAT

This Halloween, Hollywood's most alluring vampire gets an evocative contemporary soundtrack. Philip Glass' hypnotic score for Tod Browning's 1931 Dracula blows the cobwebs off the horror classic, adding new depth to the emotional layers of the drama. Glass himself will share the stage with the celebrated Kronos Quartet, their live performances providing an eerie counterpart to the suspensful classic projected on the big screen. Performances will take place at the Ace Hotel in the heart of Downtown LA!

Dracula

Free performances of a community opera for families, The Festival Play of Daniel, will be conducted by James Conlon and performed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in March 2016. For more information about the Off Grand initiative, visit LAOpera.org/OffGrand.

Subscription packages for the 2015/2016 Season are now available. Subscribe online or call 213.972.8001 to order by phone!

Box Office opens to the public for individual tickets on June 28, 2015

All programs, artists and dates are subject to change.

Tea and Contemplation

It’s 6:30am on our company day off, tea is brewed and here I sit, cup in hand, reviewing my week. Many words come to mind: chaos, naps, communication, education, friends, comedy, concentration and, most of all, collaboration. In a world which can be so divisive, I think about actions which join people together for a richer community. I suppose early morning ponderings are like this—contemplative.

And what a week it was! Let’s explore that word collaboration. Thoreau may have said “nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” but let me tell you—great productions are only achieved with enthusiasm, sweat, energy and collaborationGhosts is a beast of an opera. It’s huge with over 30 principals, plus chorus and dancers. But it has met its match in Darko Tresnjak, our inventive, outrageously prepared director. He’s supported by Peggy Hickey (choreographer) who moves and shakes us into beautiful shapes and precise story lines, and by Erik Friedman (assistant director) who worked his socks off as our Figaro stand-in over the weekend. Then there’s Lyla Forlani and her estimable stage management team—you try keeping notes on where over 40 people are at every moment in a scene while trying to maintain a quiet, safe, organised rehearsal room. Chaos doesn’t begin to cut it! Yet, somehow, it all pulls together. It’s a mystery.

Meanwhile, over at the piano we have at least two pianists playing each rehearsal because of the layered musical structure. Then there’s Christopher Allen (assistant conductor) and Miah Im (prompter) who need several more arms not only to conduct the beat but to cue everyone to come in—and when there are possibly five different conversations overlapping, it’s a multitasker’s nirvana. 

And when not in rehearsal, pianist Jeremy Frank and Peggy Hickey were part of LA Opera’s Professional Development for Teachers, along with several other superlative educators, spending a day guiding and lecturing our school teachers not only to enhance their perspectives but to relay this information to their students so they are prepared for the images and sounds they will encounter when they come to our open rehearsals. That’s community creation.

Also on the agenda was James Conlon’s Opera Guild lecture discussing Ghosts, its music and story. Pianist Nino Sanikidze and I joined him to perform, too. I ran upstairs for this on my lunch break after a morning rehearsing the Act 1 finale. I had just enough time to throw on some lipstick and a smile.

Thoreau was right: it does take enthusiasm. Enthusiasm in laughter and lecture, connection and collaboration, and thus we are enriched. I’ve always maintained that we can change the world one note, one word at a time, and I still believe it.

Michael Gallup — In Memoriam

LA Opera mourns the loss of a beloved family member, Michael Gallup, who had the distinction of being the first solo artist heard at LA Opera. In our inaugural production of Otello in 1986, he performed the role of Montano (who sings the first solo lines in that opera). He appeared with LA Opera more than any other bass, with over 270 performances of 65 different roles. These include 25 performances as the Sacristan in Tosca, 29 performances as the Bonze in Madame Butterfly and 33 performances as Doctor Bartolo in The Marriage of Figaro. His LAO repertoire also included the title role in Don Pasquale, Jud Fry in Oklahoma!, the Father (Peter) in Hansel and Gretel, many performances as Benoit/Alcindoro in La Boheme and Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream. His final appearance with the company was, fittingly, as Montano, in a 2006 gala performance of Act IV from Otello. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time.

Placido Domingo & Friends Gala (2006)Michael Gallup (far right) at the 2006 Placido Domingo & Friends Gala


Michael Gallup as Bartolo in "The Marriage of Figaro"
Michael Gallup as Doctor Bartolo in
The Marriage of Figaro

Tea and Pencils

Lucy Schaufer
Figaro Unbound has begun and it marks my return to LAO since Hansel and Gretel for three different roles in the three productions in this Beaumarchais cycle of The Ghosts of Versailles, The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro. It’s an adventurously inventive project for the Opera, and for me too, not only due to tackling the challenge of balancing life, health and work during these next months, but because Figaro Unbound represents the essence of where I believe music making should be today:  producing work by a living composer while linking the quality of theatrical writing of the past with the cutting edge artistry of today.
Colored pencils
That said - how do I begin to organise myself in all these rehearsals, fittings, notes and stagings? Well, it is fairly well known that I’m a coloured pencil freak. Therefore, everything gets colour-coded so at a glance I know exactly where I am, from musical structure to diction notes to vocal technique to which production is which. I love my phone/laptop/tablet, but I print out a week by week calendar so I can make instant changes (with my pencils!) and frankly, I like touching a piece of paper, just like holding a musical score. So Ghosts is blue (of course, the ethereal nature of ghosts, right?), Barber is red, Figaro is lime green.  And each score is colour-coded too.  Please don’t call the men in white coats. This is just the way I roll!
color code key

Join me as I blog my way through Susanna, Berta and Marcellina - I’m off to take advantage of the January massage specials and then to a music call for the Quintet in Ghosts where I get to meet new colleagues and catch up with old pals. But first another cup of tea. Didn’t I mention tea? Oh, I will...
This is the first in a series of blog posts from acclaimed mezzo-soprano Lucy Schaufer. In this series, she reflects on her involvement in all three operas of the Figaro Trilogy at LA Opera. To read more of her writings, visit www.LucySchaufer.com or Twitter.