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Blog entries posted during March 2012

May is “Opera Month” in Los Angeles

Tourists come to LA to experience starry Hollywood, bubbling La Brea Tar pits, and great weather of course, but opera?   Well, that could all change in May when

Los Angeles’s young and thriving operatic culture takes to the stage in four very different productions.

Stephen Costello and Ailyn Perez - La Boheme

In addition to LA Opera’s grand Herb Ross production of La Boheme opening May 12 starring Stephen Costello and Ailyn Perez and conducted by Patrick Summers,  three other diverse operatic events will be presented in venues throughout Los Angeles during the month of May.

Mariusz Kwiecien as Don Giovanni (photo courtesy of Seattle Opera)

The Los Angeles Philharmonic will present Mozart’s Don Giovanni from May 18 to 26 at Walt Disney Concert Hall.  Conducted by Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, LA Phil’s epic three-year Mozart/ Da Ponte Trilogy begins with the duo’s masterwork Don Giovanni starring baritone Mariusz Kwiecien and  featuring costumes by Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy and stage design by WDCH architect Frank Gehry.  (www.LAPhil.com)

Garcia Lorca- Solo la muerte

On May 19 and 26, Long Beach Opera will present the west coast premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar with libretto by David Henry Hwang.  Based on the life of Spanish playwright and poet Federico Garcia Lorca, Ainadamar tells the writer’s story who was executed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. A gripping reflection on the undying faith of a people, Aindamar ponders the moral duty of the artist and the relationship between artistic and political freedom.  (www.LongBeachOpera.org)

Crescent City - The Industry

A new experimental opera company, The Industry, will present its inaugural production from May 10 through 27: the Los Angeles premiere of Crescent City by composer Anne LeBarron and Douglas Kearney, staged at Atwater Crossing, an industrial space in Atwater Village. Featured twice in New York City Opera’s VOX showcase of new American opera, Crescent City tells a fantastical tale of a mythical city destroyed by one hurricane and the voodoo priestess determined to save it.

The Industry’s production takes place in an industrial space and immerses the audience in a 360-degree landscape comprised of visual artists’ responses to the six chief locations of the opera.(www.TheIndustryLA.org)

So, grab your surfboard, sunblock and opera glasses and come to LA and experience OPERA!


Color, Costumes and The Two Foscari

Costume design by Mattie Ullrich

Artist Georgia O’Keefe said “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way-things I had no words for.”  Whether it is a conscious choice or something you unknowingly do, we all assign feelings, emotions, and moods to colors. Some nights we want to feel elegant, and we throw on that little black dress or suit, while during the day maybe a playful palette of pastels is necessary. Many people believe that colors can even be healing. Dating back to the 900s, “color therapy” has even been used to treat illness and disease. Color clearly plays an important role in our lives and throughout history. Costume design is no different. Color helps set the mood, move the piece along, and it unifies the production.

As you may know by now, next season The LA Opera will be doing a production of Verdi’s The Two Foscari . The costume designer is Mattie Ullrich, who is based out of New York, so I sat and talked to the costume supervisor Misty Ayres about the production.

Misty informed me that Mattie’s design concept is a mixture of medieval and modern runway fashion. Mattie prefers to use solid colors rather than texture, pattern, and print. Misty excitedly told me that personally she sees this production as a “dark comic book.”

In any production, whether it has a “comic book feel” or is a strict period piece, the designer has to consider many different aspects before settling on the color palette. The colors of each costume must be complementary (or intentionally not complementary) to the other colors in the ensemble. In addition every character’s costume on stage must work together to convey a mood and bring out the essence of the piece. Color is also a great way to show the social ranking of a character. For example, during Act I of Foscari, the chorus men will be in red and black because they are “noble” and “wise”.

Colors can shift throughout the show, taking the audience on a visual journey and showing the transformation, evolution, or de-evolution of the characters.  You will be able to see the shift of Lucrezia’s mental state reflected through the changing of her color palette.

Color can also be a great way to change focus onto different characters or groups of characters. In Foscari during Act III most of the onstage cast will be in muted tones which will blend into the set. The exception will be the band of “players” who will be in a mostly jewel-toned palette so they stand out from the scenery and the other performers.

Misty also informed me of a fun fact: Mattie does not like buttons. (Your mission as the audience: see if you can spot any sort of closures on the garment during the production.)

The Two Foscari opens September 15, 2012.

Color, Costumes and The Two Foscari (Spanish Version)


Costume design by Mattie Ullrich

Artista Geogia O’Keeffe Dijo “encontre una forma de comunicarme con colores y figuras  que no puedo explicar con palabras” Concientemente o sin darnos cuenta  usamos color como una manera de expresar como nos sentimos dia a dia.. Color claramente juega un papel importante en nuestras vidas, diseño de vestuario no es diferente..

Si ya saben o no las noticias de la  proximo temporada.. L.A Opera va a presentar una production del compositor Verdi, Los Dos Foscari. La disenadora de vestuario es Mattie Ullrich, que tiene su sede fuera de Nueva York.   Me communiqué con Misty Ayres supervisora de vestuario, para platicar un poco de la production.

Misty me informa que los diseños de Mattie son una mezcla de la epoca de la edad media y la moda que esta ocurriendo hoy. Mattie prefiere los colores solidos, trabajando junto con textura y figuras.. con entusiasmo Misty me dijo que la gama de colores del diseño le recuerdan de los libros comicos.

Los colores pueden cambiar durante todo el show, llevando a la audiencia en un viaje visual, que muestra la transformacion y evolucion de los personajes. Usteds seran capaz de ver el estado mental de Lucrezia reflejado a traves del cambio de la gama de colores en su vestuario.  El color es tambien una manera de mostrar  el estado social de un personaje. Por ejemplo, durante el acto 1 en foscari, los hombres del coro visten de rojo y negro porque son nobles y sabios.

Color tambien ayuda a destacar  ciertos grupos de personajes. En foscari durante el acto 3 la escenografia tiene tonos apagados, integrando el conjunto, a excepcion de los artistas del circo, que seran en colores llamativos, distinguiendolos de los otros artistas en el escenario.

Misty tambien me informa algo interesante y divertido de esta produccion.. a Mattie no le gustan los botones.  Cuando vengan a ver Foscari  a ver si detectan cualquier otro tipo de cierre en el vestuario..

Los Dos Foscari se abre el 15 de septiembre,, nos vemos en el teatro..