LA Opera's April 3 performance of Gioachino Rossini's Cinderella (La Cenerentola) marked the debut of a new singer in the title role—Georgian mezzo-soprano Ketevan Kemoklidze—as well as a special milestone for Music Director James Conlon: his 200th mainstage performance at LA Opera.
The performance was attended by Claudio Bisogniero, the Ambassador of Italy to the United States, and Giuseppe Perrone, Consul General of Italy in Los Angeles, who came backstage afterward to congratulate Mr. Conlon and to meet the members of the cast (which includes three Italian singers: baritone Alessandro Corbelli as Don Magnifico, baritone Vito Priante as Dandini and bass Nicola Ulivieri as Alidoro). Ambassador Bisogniero is currently visiting Southern California as part of an official mission in celebration of the 2013 "Year of Italian Culture in the United States." This initiative is a showcase of Italian culture and identity and what they mean to the American public.
In addition to 200 fully-staged productions at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mr. Conlon has also conducted six concerts for LA Opera, as well as six community opera productions at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and five Opera Camp performances of Hans Krása's children's opera Brundibar. Mr. Conlon became Music Director of LA Opera in 2006, and recently renewed his contract through 2018.