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Blog entries posted during May 2012

Announcing General Auditions for Education & Community Programs Department


LA Opera’s Education & Community Programs Department is holding general auditions Thursday, May 31, 2012 and Friday, June 1, 2012 each day from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

We are seeking soloists for our acclaimed outreach programs.  Programs include in-school opera residencies, touring community recitals/demonstration tours as-well-as school assemblies.

Artists should be prepared to sing at least two contrasting arias and one musical theater selection (in English). We are looking for personality so be sure to pick songs that showcase you best.

To request an appointment, please send a resume and headshot (Snail Mail) to:

Jennifer Babcock, Associate Director of Education & Community Programs
Los Angeles Opera
135 North Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

or by e-mail (Go Green!) to: mailto:http://laopera.adagetechnologies.com/news/blog/Admin/Dates/2012/5/The-story-of-Dulce-Rosa/

Those accepted will be called to schedule an audition appointment. Please note that artists must be current members of AGMA (American Guild of Musical Artists) or willing to join AGMA in order to accept a role, if offered.

This is an audition notice. Applicants must be 18 years of age. If employment is offered, the offer is contingent upon artists providing documents to demonstrate eligibility to work in the United States.

La Moda del Coro

Pruebas, pruebas …Y mas pruebas!

Durante las dos últimas semanas hemos estado probando el vestuario de los miembros del coro de Los Ángeles Ópera!  Ahora que las cosas se han  tranquilizado un poco, tengo tiempo de informarles todas las noticias por Blog.  Por lo tanto, estén atentos. No se pierdan nada.

El objetivo de dos semanas de pruebas es capturar la visión de la diseñadora y no cambiar nada. Y hasta el momento todo va bien ..
Acto 3, El Pueblo de Venecia, déjame decirte … FA.BU.LO.SO!

Laina Babb y Reina Alirez están construyendo trajes para el coro de hombres, Leslie Ann Smith y Jennifer Shaw para el coro de mujer. Ambos equipos están haciendo ver a todos tan moderno que podríamos confundirlos con modelos de pasarela!  Pero todos sabemos que los modelos no cantan …

En nuestro equipo de sasteria, Sharon McGunigle y Wing Cheung están construyendo trajes para el Consejo de los Diez y los miembros de la Giunta.  No se pierdan ver como están resueltas las estructuras para hacer que los personajes parezcan una obra de arte en movimiento.

Las monjas de esta producción son fantasmales. Gracias a Heather Bair y Allison Achauer, que han captado la visión de la diseñadora tan bien que el público podría asustarse un poco, pero eso es lo que se pretende.

Y, por supuesto, no nos olvidemos de nuestro equipo de artesanía, Hallie Dufresne y Camilla Hanson: Dónde estaríamos sin los accesorios? Incompleto!  Ahí es donde.  Estas dos chicas están construyendo todos los maravillosos sombreros, así como la capa  pintada a mano de Lucrecia que se vera en esta producción.

Mattie Ullrich, la diseñadora de vestuario ha venido desde Nueva York para las pruebas del coro y se ha emocionado con cada pieza del vestuario. Todos están contentos al ver que el esfuerzo valió la pena.  Naturalmente habrá pequeños cambios aquí y allá, como en todo proceso creativo. Todo se está desarrollando en la fechas previstas, hasta el momento todo en orden … Los Dos Foscari se estrena el 15 de agosto 2012.

Nos vemos en la Ópera!

Music Center or Bust

With the recent opening of the new portion of the Metro Expo Line, getting to Downtown LA is easier than ever. Writer Sarah Spitz found out how easy when she and a friend took the train to see the May 20 matinee of La Bohéme. In her first person report (originally published in the Santa Monica Daily Press, she shares how easy and convenient it was to take the train to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Read on…


by Sarah Spitz

My friend and I managed to avoid a zoo of a completely different sort on Sunday, as we made our way to downtown L.A. during a day of apocalyptic predictions about traffic. Three sports playoffs, a bike race and a parade were all scheduled for the same day, and rather than tempt fate and try to drive, let alone park downtown with all the street closures, we decided to take the Metro Rail to see “La Bohéme” at L.A. Opera.

Save these tips for future use, they’ll save you time and frustration. The Expo line runs every 12 minutes or so. Pick it up at Jefferson and La Cienega boulevards (parking is free) and ride to the end at Metro Center/Seventh Street. Then grab a Red or Purple line toward Union Station, hop off at the Civic Center exit, and walk two blocks — OK, I admit it, uphill — from First and Hill streets to Grand Avenue. Maybe they’ll put in a mini-funicular some day.

We bought day passes for only $5 (parking alone at the Music Center is $9), left the Westside at 11:12 a.m., arrived at around 11:40 a.m., took an eight-block walk to Cole’s for lunch (they still claim the mantle of the original French dip and I believe them since the restaurant’s been there since 1908), walked back to Metro Center and arrived at the Music Center at 1:20 p.m., with plenty of time for a leisurely drink on the plaza before the 2 p.m. matinee.

And here’s the best part: no hassle with the traffic getting out of the parking lot, and the walk to the Civic Center station is downhill from The Music Center!

Oh, how was the opera? Well, come on, it’s “La Bohéme!” One of the most recognizable, tragic romantic stories, popularized on film (Baz Luhrmannn’s spectacular “Moulin Rouge”) and in countless opera productions, and this one is sumptuous.

How can you go wrong when a real-life husband and wife play the lovers? Ailyn Perez and Stephen Costello are as lovely to look at as they are to hear, and the supporting cast is stellar.

As Musetta, Janai Brugger stole the show. In March, she competed against 1,500 other singers to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and is a member of L.A. Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist program. And Artur Rucinski, making his L.A. Opera debut, as Musetta’s hot-headed jealous lover, Marcello, sings and acts the role to perfection.

Although I agree with New York Times theatre critic Ben Brantley that standing ovations have become almost meaningless, this opera deserves the lengthy standing ovation it received. There are only three more performances through June 2; visit laopera.org

Sarah A. Spitz is a former freelance arts producer for NPR and former staff producer at public radio station KCRW-Santa Monica. She reviews theatre for L.A. Opening Nights.

La Boheme: New Props for an Enhanced Revival

1890 Peugeot Replica
For this remount of our signature production of La Boheme, there was a desire to bring the props and set dressing into the appropriate period of the 1890s. The car was built as a replica of an 1890 Peugeot two-seater. This would have been faithful to the vehicle available in Paris at that time. Months of research, design, engineering and hundreds of hours of fabrication were required for this prop to come to life.

Los Angeles Opera Technical Dept La Boheme

Replica of 1890 Peugeot two seat automobile

Los Angeles Opera La Boheme

Musetta (soprano Janai Brugger) and Alcindoro (bass-baritone Philip Cokorinos) on the Peugeot

Fake Fish
Although we do have a variety of fake fish in our prop inventory, a higher level of realism was required for the “Fish Seller’s” buckets. We experimented with different casting formulations and paint treatments to get a more realistic appearance.
Los Angeles Opera La Boheme props

Fake fish dry on racks after painting

Confetti Drop
A confetti drop was added to create a greater spectacle as the cast marches with French flags. One hundred and fifteen pounds of confetti was purchased for the run of the production. A “sling” is tied between two pipes above the stage and on cue the “sling” is rolled back and forth and the confetti spills though slits in the fabric.

Abundant confetti falls on the Banda (orchestral musicians who perform onstage or backstage), chorus and supers for the finale of Act II

In keeping with the attention to period, the production required bicycles that appear to be from the 1890s. For this reason and for ease of use with elaborate staging, we created “stylized” versions of 1890s bicycles.
La Boheme props

Two new stylized bicycles were added to La Boheme

For safety and staging purposes, coaster brakes were utilized that do not require the pedals to rotate while turning corners. The foot operation of the brakes leaves the performers hands free for props and actions.
La Boheme Los Angeles Opera

Schaunard (baritone Museop Kim) rides new bicycle in the last act of La Boheme

And The Winner Is… Janai Brugger and the National Council Finals

by Gail Eichenthal, KUSC

My name is Gail Eichenthal and I am a Metropolitan Opera Western Region auditions junkie.

Perhaps, given KUSC’s close involvement in broadcasting the finals concert each year, this was inevitable. My great late friend and former colleague Gene Parrish had forged a wonderful bond with the organization and its remarkably talented contestants going back more than 20 years.  Rich Capparela has effortlessly (well, it’s actually quite challenging work!) taken over for the past three years, and our association with the Western Region has only grown closer; they even honored KUSC at the 2011 Finals Concert in the fall. On top of that, I’m a lifelong choral singer and the proud (stage) mom of a fledgling baritone studying voice in college.

Still that warm Saturday afternoon of October 22 was more thrilling than usual, even for an admitted Western Region groupie.  I had previously heard some of the phenomenally gifted singers the year before; they had also made it to the 2010 Finals. One of them, a brilliant L.A. soprano and alumnus of the Merola program, had stolen the show at the USC Thornton School’s glittering Charles Dickens Dinner, its grand yearly Christmas benefit at the Biltmore’s Crystal Room: you know who you are, Marina Boudart Harris.

As always, all the singers were exquisitely polished and professional; none exhibited the slightest sign of the tremendous pressure they no doubt felt. It was beginning to seem an impossible task for the judges to eliminate even one of these gifted artists from contention. Then, as the invincible longtime Western Region leader Molly Siefert put it later that day, the contestants ran into “a buzzsaw”, a beautiful beaming buzzsaw named Janai Brugger. The soprano, originally from Illinois, broke hearts, pulled tears, provoked gasps, and, well— won.  Her sheer unmitigated joy in singing was infectious. Her pure, soaring tones, almost defied belief.

To none of our surprise, but to all of our delight, she went on to the National Metropolitan Opera Finals this past March. (Go Western Region! Baritone Joseph Lim, another Thornton alum, won the year before, as well!) The 2012 National Met Finals concert airs tomorrow at 10am on Classical KUSC.  Don’t miss it! As for me? I’ve been waiting by the radio for days.

P.S. Please cry no tears for Marina Harris, one of the buzzsaw-afflicted! The Thornton alum has landed a coveted spot in the San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Adler Fellows program. And if my stage mom instincts are right, hers is also a name you will soon come to know on the KUSC airwaves, as both her voice and her major career take flight.)

P.P.S.  Catch soprano Janai Brugger, an LA Opera Domingo-Thornton Young Artist, currently singing the role of Musetta at several performances of the company’s current production of Puccini’s La Boheme. She carried us away at the dress rehearsal, and will do the same tomorrow (May 12) evening and on Sunday, May 20 at 2pm. The May 20 performance of Boheme, conducted by Patrick Summers, will be broadcast live by KUSC, a special edition of LA Opera on Air.

Janai Brugger
Soprano (Darien, IL. Winner of the Western Region)
Age 29

Janai Brugger

Janai Brugger is a second-year artist with Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program. This season’s highlights include Musetta in La Bohème with the Los Angeles Opera, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette for her debut with the Palm Beach Opera, and the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Last season she appeared in Los Angeles as Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro and the Page in Rigoletto. She holds a bachelor’s degree from De Paul University and recently received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan (where she sang Tatiana in Eugene Onegin).

In 2009 she sang Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore with the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the “Opera in the Neighborhoods” Program and the following year joined the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program. She was a 2011 finalist in the Loren Zachary Competition and a Midwest Regional (Detroit district) winner of the 2008 Met National Council Auditions.