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Blog entries posted during November 2011

Happy Thanksgiving From LA Opera

LA Opera has so much to be grateful for. Since the beginning of the season we have been invited into the lives of people and organizations from all over Southern California, and welcomed even more of you into our “home” to experience the wonderful world of opera together:

  • the 12 elementary schools throughout LA County and beyond, whose students, teachers and principals worked with us to produce an original opera at their schools for their community;
  • the 156 teachers who selflessly spent their Saturdays with us here to learn more about opera (for no pay) to take back to their students;
  • the 6,003 folks who attended our first ever Open House filling the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with joy and laughter;
  • the more than 20 senior centers who journeyed across town for our annual senior center matinee;
  • the 20 college professors who connected over 500 of their students to an inside look at the behind the scenes magic of orchestra tech rehearsals;
  • the 30 high school students and their guardians who attended the first opera of their free “mini subscription” as winners of the LA Opera 90012 program;
  • the tireless volunteers and company members who gave selflessly of their time to welcome nearly 2,000 students to dress rehearsals this fall as part of opera prep… and the list continues to grow.

We look forward spending our holidays touring Cosi Light with our Domingo Thornton Young Artists and caroling with our friends at hospitals all over the city.
We have an embarrassment of riches and are thankful to have so many wonderful community partners. Thank you all for making LA Opera part of your world.

Castronovo as Roméo

Nino Machaidze and Charles Castronovo in "Roméo et Juliette" (photo by Robert Millard)

On Saturday, tenor Vittorio Grigolo warned us that he had a bad cold and might not be able to sing the role of Roméo at the next day’s performance of Roméo et Juliette. Saturday also happened to be the evening of the “Placido Domingo & Friends 25th Anniversary Gala.” One of the guest performers was tenor Charles Castronovo, a longtime LA Opera favorite who had created the title role in last season’s world premiere of Il Postino. We asked him if he would consider staying an extra day in Los Angeles, just in case, and he agreed. Sadly, Grigolo was indeed forced to cancel on his doctor’s orders, but we now had another world-class tenor, who had performed Roméo earlier this year in Dallas, ready to go on. With just two hours to learn the staging and the tricky fight scene, and with fantastic onstage assistance from Nino Machaidze as Juliette, Castronovo gave a beautiful, heroic performance that stunned our audience. We are grateful for his appearance and congratulate him on a job well done!

Machaidze/Grigolo CD signing on Nov. 26

Photo by Robert Millard

After the final performance of Romeo et Juliette on Saturday, November 26, soprano Nino Machaidze and tenor Vittorio Grigolo will participate in a 60-minute CD signing. Merchandise will be available for sale in the lobby Opera Shop. The signing will take place in the lobby of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, on the Grand Avenue side of the theater. (The signing will begin after the artists have had sufficient time to change after the performance.) For tickets to that performance, please click here . For tickets to any of the three remaining performances of Romeo et Juliette, please click here .

Domingo-Thornton Young Artists On Tour

LA Opera is delighted to continue its “Domingo-Thornton Young Artists On Tour” tradition this season, with a semi-staged abridged version of one of Mozart’s most popular comedies, Così fan tutte.

In this opera, two young men go undercover to test the fidelity of their ladies. What could possibly go wrong? Filled with ravishingly beautiful music and sparkling wit, Così fan tutte features a funny, clever plot that was bracingly politically incorrect, even in Mozart’s day. The music is performed in Italian with English narration, and running time is approximately 50 minutes.


Fiordiligi – Tracy Cox
Dorabella – Renée Rapier
Ferrando – Ben Bliss
Guglielmo – Museop Kim
Don Alfonso – Erik Anstine
Despina – Valentina Fleer
Piano – Douglas Sumi



Wednesday, November 30 at 1:30pm
Hollenbeck Palms Retirement Community, Historic Chapel
573 South Boyle Avenue, Los Angeles
Reservations required, call (323) 307-4522 for information.


Thursday, December 1 at 4:00pm
Pepperdine University, Raitt Recital Hall
24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu


Saturday, December 3 at 2:00pm
Brand Library & Art Center, Recital Hall
1601 West Mountain Street, Glendale


Tuesday, December 6 at 7:30pm
University of La Verne, Morgan Auditorium
1950 Third Street, La Verne


Wednesday, December 7 at 12:30pm
Occidental College, Booth Hall, Bird Studio
1600 Campus Rd., Los Angeles


Friday, December 9 at 7:00pm
Pasadena Conservatory of Music, Recital Hall
100 North Hill Avenue, Pasadena


Saturday, December 10 at 7pm
City of West Hollywood, Council Chambers
625 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood


Sunday, December 11 at 2pm
City of West Hollywood, Council Chambers
625 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood


Thursday, December 15 at 7:00pm
Santa Monica Public Library, Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium
601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica


Friday, December 16 at 12:15pm
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall
135 N Grand Avenue, Los Angeles


Saturday, December 17 at 4:00pm
First United Methodist Church of Pasadena
500 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena

Only three more performances of “Romeo et Juliette”!

Nino Machaidze as Juliette (photo: Robert Millard)

Sweet sorrow indeed…there are only three more chances to see the magical pairing of Nino Machaidze and Vittorio Grigolo in Gounod’s enchanting Romeo et Juliette…and one of those performances is nearly sold out! Click here for tickets. The next performance is Thursday, November 17 at 7:30pm. We’re ready for you!

"Romeo" Live On KUSC Tonight

Photo by Robert Millard

Tune in tonight (Wednesday, November 9) for a special live broadcast of Romeo et Juliette on Classical KUSC. “LA Opera on Air” begins at 7:30pm, hosted by Duff Murphy and Gail Eichenthal, along with special pre-show and intermission guests. You can listen live on 91.5fm or via online streaming on www.kusc.org.

The reviews are in!

Nino Machaidze as Juliette and Vittorio Grigolo as Romeo. (Photo: Robert Millard)

“Los Angeles Opera has done it again…a brand new dazzling dream couple for opera…[Vittorio Grigolo] was commanding vocally and theatrically…there is plenty of opportunity for passion, and Grigolo had a ready supply. He jumped up balconies, leaped around the stage and poured his heart out…[Nino Machaidze] was smoldering Sunday, and Grigolo never seemed to get enough of that either… She made her “Waltz Song,” the opera’s most famous number, sparkle. But a seductively dark poignancy suited her best.” Mark Swed, LA Times

“Vittorio Grigolo in his L.A. Opera debut is delivering an extravagant and yet utterly heartfelt Romeo that recalls the young John Barrymore…Machaidze’s steely soprano weaves nicely with Grigolo’s fine-grained tenor…she matches his emotionalism note for note.”
Robert Hofler, Variety

“Any performance of the opera rises or falls primarily on the qualities of the two lead singers. Both here are knockouts.” Lyle Zimskind, LAist
[Machaidze and Grigolo] “deliver two very exciting performances that alongside Judge’s tight, visually interesting production ensure that no one in the audience will be going home disappointed…an opportunity to see these two stars working together on a local stage should not be passed by.”

Brian Holt, Out West Arts

“It is perhaps several degrees more sensational than the first time…Vittorio Grigolo and Nino Machaidze, both of them – to put it mildly – [were] sensational in their parts. Machaidze sings gorgeously and makes a thoroughly believable heroine (and, yes, we all know Shakespeare’s Juliet was really 13 or something), while Grigolo seems born to play Roméo.” David Gregson, Opera West

“[Nino Machaidze's] talent is unsurpassed: charisma, beauty, comic ability, acting, gorgeous and memorable strong voice. She is the perfect Juliette…Vittorio Grigolo…has the vocal chops to keep up with Nino, as well as the looks and bravado on stage. This coupling is another compelling reason not to miss this production.” Georja Urmano & Gerald Everett Jones, LA Splash

“Vittorio Grigolo and Nino Machaidze [are] young novas who can galvanize stage action, sing to the heavens and look unspeakably gorgeous while they’re at it. Needless to say, these two wowed the opening night audience…For her part, the Georgian soprano’s cheek would shame the stars shining in the sky. Whether leaning down, yearningly, from her balcony or flying around the courtyard to rendez-vous with Romeo, this Juliette defined the smitten girl who would rather die than live without her lover…[Grigolo] is the real lyric-tenor thing, the possessor of a bright, full voice with rounded tone that can sound quite good in the French repertory.”
Donna Perlmutter, blogdowntown

“Romeo et Juliette” opens

Vittorio Grigolo and Nino Machaidze in "Romeo et Juliette." (Photo: Robert Millard)

One of our season’s most anticipated productions, Romeo et Juliette, has returned to our stage, running through November 26. Click here for tickets…they’re going quickly, so don’t miss out. Best availability is for Wednesday, November 9, at 7:30pm!

Open House Today!

From 9:30am to 5pm today (Saturday, November 5), we’re throwing open the doors of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a day full of fun, free activities and performances. Highlights include concerts with Placido Domingo and singers from our young artist program at 11am and 12:45pm, as well as numerous activities specially created for kids. Come on over and join us!

Handling Fees waived today!

Nino Machaidze as Juliette and Vittorio Grigolo as Romeo (Photo by Robert Millard)

Today only (Friday, November 4), we’ll waive your handling fees if you purchase tickets to the November 6 (Sunday) or the November 9 (Wednesday) performances of Roméo et Juliette. Just click here and enter PROMO CODE 18126, or call Audience Services at (213) 972-8001. This is a must-see production, and tickets are going fast. Don’t miss out!