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Information 213.972.8001

Blog entries posted during January 2014


LA Opera Announces 2014/15 Season

(Los Angeles, CA) January 14, 2014 – General Director Plácido Domingo announced LA Opera’s 2014/15 season, created in collaboration with Music Director James Conlon and President and CEO Christopher Koelsch. The upcoming season will include six mainstage productions, with 41 performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Additional performances will take place in other venues through an expansion of the Company's Off Grand initiative. The season will open on September 13, 2014, and will run through June 14, 2015.

“We have created several exciting projects for LA Opera's new season," said Mr. Domingo. "I’m especially thrilled to perform along with James Conlon in the season-opening La Traviata, our fourth opera—and our third Verdi opera—together in Los Angeles. Our mainstage season features works by composers of six nationalities that trace the course of operatic history for more than 300 years, including adaptations of Beaumarchais’ three Figaro plays retold in three different operatic genres: classical, bel canto and contemporary. I am also very pleased to expand the Off Grand series with three very interesting productions that truly show off the striking diversity of the operatic experience. I think that our audiences will love what we have to show them.”

"Our 2014/15 season is designed to offer our audiences a broad balance of great opera written over the last 200 years: a baroque opera, an 18th-century Mozart masterpiece, a bel cantocomedy and a middle-period Verdi work as well as magnificent operas from both the early and the late 20th century," said Mr. Conlon. "The artistic flexibility of the company in presenting works in Italian, Spanish, English and Hungarian, with an orchestra and chorus capable of passing fluently from one style to another, marks an impressive artistic trajectory which we can celebrate. La Traviata and The Barber of Seville happened to be the first two operas I saw as a child, slightly over 50 years ago. I am particularly looking forward to conducting both of these beloved works, collaborating with Plácido and Marta Domingo in La Traviata as well as conducting all three parts of the Beaumarchais Trilogy."

La Traviata Opens New Season
The season opens with a revival of LA Opera's 2006 production of Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata (September 13–28, 2014), conducted by James Conlon and directed by Marta Domingo. Plácido Domingo returns as Giorgio Germont, a role he performed at the Metropolitan Opera last year. La Traviata will star soprano Nino Machaidze as Violetta.

Innovative Director Barrie Kosky Returns to L.A.
From October 25 through November 15, 2014, a strikingly theatrical pairing of
 Dido and Aeneas and Bluebeard’s Castle (October 25 – November 15, 2014) will bring together two masterpieces, written more than two centuries apart, that explore the fine line between devotion and obsession. Staged by Barrie Kosky, director of LA Opera’s 2013 production of The Magic Flute, the double-bill begins with the Company premiere of Dido and Aeneas, a 1688 masterpiece by English composer Henry Purcell, in which a queen loses her heart to a man who abruptly abandons her. Bluebeard’s Castle is a 1918 opera by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, inspired by the famous story by Charles Perrault. The operas will be conducted bySteven Sloane.

Celebrated Opera by Composer Daniel Catán Returns
LA Opera will next present Florencia en el Amazonas (November 22 – December 20, 2014) by the late Mexican-born composer Daniel Catán, whose final opera Il Postino was premiered in Los Angeles in 2010. Inspired by the writings of Gabriel García Márquez, the opera paints an intoxicating portrait of the transformative nature of love. It will feature Chilean soprano Verónica Villarroel as Florencia Grimaldi, a famous prima donna who returns to her Brazilian homeland in search of the great love of her life. Grant Gershon, LA Opera’s Resident Conductor, will conduct a revised and updated revival of a celebrated production by Francesca Zambello that was first presented by LA Opera in 1997.

LA Opera Launches Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power and Revolution at Play
The second half of the season will be devoted to operas based on plays by one of France's greatest playwrights. The adventures of Figaro, originally told in a series of three stage comedies by French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, have captivated generations of music lovers. Operatic adaptations of the first two plays, The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, are repertoire staples, and composer John Corigliano incorporated plot elements from the third play into his 1991 opera The Ghosts of Versailles. With this "Figaro Trilogy"—LA Opera’s presentation of three Figaro operas in one season, all conducted by James Conlon—audiences have the rare opportunity to follow the complete antics of Figaro, Count Almaviva and Rosina. The trilogy will be accompanied by Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power and Revolution at Play, a three-month celebration of the revolutionary spirit and the legacy of Beaumarchais. With a variety of programming for all ages, Figaro Unbound will investigate the ongoing relevance of Figaro and the Beaumarchais trilogy, as well as the many ways the arts can impact social change.

“I am looking forward to the robust conversations that will be engendered by Figaro Unboundand the programming of three different operas based on the Beaumarchais plays," said Mr. Koelsch. "It’s a great opportunity for us to reassert the role of the opera house as a center of intellectual and artistic debate, and to explore the many ways that the arts have influenced history.”

The "Figaro Trilogy"

  • The first opera presented in the "Figaro Trilogy" will be John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles (February 7 – March 1, 2015). Described as a “grand opera buffa,” the opera premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1991. The long-awaited West Coast premiere will be conducted by Mr. Conlon and directed by Darko Tresnjak. The cast will feature soprano Patricia Racette as Marie Antoinette and Broadway legend Patti LuPone as the Turkish entertainer Samira.
  • Rossini’s razor-sharp musical wit glints through every scene of The Barber of Seville, one of opera's most delicious comedies (February 28 – March 22, 2015). James Conlonconducts a top-notch cast, led by the Figaro of Russian baritone Rodion Pogossov, who made his LA Opera debut in 2013 as Papageno in The Magic Flute. The production, from Madrid's Teatro Real, was created by Spanish stage director Emilio Sagi.
  • LA Opera’s mainstage season concludes with one of Mozart’s greatest masterpieces, The Marriage of Figaro (March 21 – April 12, 2015), conducted by Mr. Conlon. The cast includes South African soprano Pretty Yende returning as Susanna after her sensational 2013 Company debut as Micaëla in Carmen. An ageless message of love and forgiveness,The Marriage of Figaro returns in one of LA Opera’s signature productions, created by director Ian Judge.

Sondra Radvanovsky Returns in Recital
LA Opera’s season at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will also include a recital by one of the most celebrated artists of our time, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, on November 8, 2014. In addition to recent Los Angeles appearances in the title roles of Suor Angelica (2008) and Tosca (2013), the soprano has enjoyed triumphs in Norma, Don Carlo and Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera, inUn Ballo in Maschera at La Scala, and in Aida in Munich, Barcelona and Chicago.

LA Opera Off Grand Presents Two L.A. Premieres
The LA Opera Off Grand initiative was developed to expand on traditional ideas of the operatic experience by experimenting with performance spaces, creative artists new to the genre and a variety of musical styles. Three Off Grand productions will be presented during the 2014/15 season.

  • Free performances of a community opera for families, Noah’s Flood by Benjamin Britten, will be conducted by James Conlon and performed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in March 2015
  • A mash-up of opera and film, Hercules vs. Vampires synchronizes an operatic score by composer Patrick Morganelli, performed live by members of LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, with the spectacular visuals of Mario Bava's cult fantasy film Hercules in the Haunted World. Presented in partnership with American Cinematheque, performances will take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in April 2015.
  • The West Coast premiere of Dog Days by composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Vavrek, will be presented in partnership with REDCAT, where it will be performed in June 2015. Hailed by The New York Times as one of the greatest operas of our time, the work incorporates elements of opera, musical theater and rock-infused concert music. Dog Days is the first production in a multi-year partnership with Beth Morrison Projects.

For more information about the Off Grand initiative, visit www.LAOpera.org/OffGrand.

Building on New Audience Initiatives
A number of audience development programs continue to enable a broader spectrum of the Los Angeles community to experience LA Opera performances. These include the Community Circle, a seating initiative in which at least 200 seats are set aside at every performance for students, senior centers and underserved groups to attend at minimal (or no) cost. The Domingo Family Program features ticket packages with discounts for children so that families can experience family-friendly performances together.

LA Opera Board Chairman Marc I. Stern Comments
“The year 2013 was enormously successful for LA Opera, both artistically and financially," said Marc I. Stern, Chairman of LA Opera's Board of Directors. "Much of the credit for that goes to our dynamic Board of Directors and steadfast supporters for their incredible generosity and their wholehearted support for Plácido Domingo’s artistic vision. Our recent success will be hard to top, but I think that LA Opera’s 2014/15 season will be one of our most memorable yet.”

Subscription Ticket Information
Season subscription tickets for the 2014/15 season are now available, starting at $102 for all six mainstage operas. For further information, please visit LA Opera’s website at www.LAOpera.org or call LA Opera’s Box Office at 213.972.8001. 

All programs, artists and dates are subject to change.


Breaking the Sexual Codes in Billy Budd

Billy Budd

While Benjamin Britten is often credited with having revived British opera, he could equally be recognized for awakening opera to the mostly untapped dramatic possibilities within the subject of homosexuality. Because he came of age when such things were left unsaid, his hands were tied – constrained by law and social taboo. As a result, Britten’s insurrection was subtle, accomplished by writing in code. 

In a moment when gay civil rights are a subject of fervent national debate, LA Opera presents Billy Budd - a work populated by people with secret feelings: composed by a closeted gay man; with a libretto written by E.M. Forster, also a closeted gay man. Forster described the resulting tension in the opera as “love constricted, perverted, poisoned, but never the less flowing down its agonizing channel; a sexual discharge gone evil.”

Music Director James Conlon has written extensively on the use of code and its meaning in the works of Benjamin Britten. To learn more, read Maestro Conlon's essay in The Hudson Review

LA Opera's strikingly theatrical production of Billy Budd, conducted by James Conlon and directed by Francesca Zambello, opens February 22 for six performances only.