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Blog entries tagged with La Boheme

Los Angeles Opera Presents “The Story of La Bohème”

The Story of La Boheme

Opera can be as enchanting as a fairy tale, as raucous as the circus, or as dramatic as Harry Potter’s quest.  And better still, the action is set to some of the world’s most glorious music.  It seems to me to be the perfect entertainment for a child, and introducing children to the delights of opera is what SING ME A STORY is all about.

Dispel the notion that opera is “too difficult” for a child and present to your son or daughter an art form that encompasses all the arts: drama, music, and the visual arts through sets and costumes.  I wrote and illustrated SING ME A STORY to stimulate a child’s interest in opera by recreating, as fully as possible, the experience of a live performance.  With public schools steadily cutting arts programs, books on the performing and visual arts are more crucial than ever to educating our children.

To prepare your youngster for Puccini’s dazzling La Bohème, take a look at my retelling from SING ME A STORY.  If possible, play some musical highlights.  And if available, pop in a DVD of one of the many recorded performances.  You’ll be surprised at the richness and pure fun your child will experience when attending La Bohème, as he or she approaches the production with all the anticipation and wonder of an opera enthusiast, reveling in the gaiety and hardship that is the Paris of Puccini’s band of Bohemians.

El Armario de Musetta

Sólo faltan cuatro semanas para la gran apertura de Boheme del compositor Giacomo Puccini, y el vestuario de Musetta va a estar justo en tiempo, o eso esperamos!

Les presento el equipo responsable de todo el vestuario magnífico de Musetta.  La líder es Leslie Ann Smith, una de nuestros talentosas constructora de vestuario de damas en el Taller de la Opera de Los Angeles.  Leslie Ann ha trabajado con nosotros durante doce años, en realidad es la tercera vez que ha trabajado en esta producción de La Boheme, y ella me dice que es una de sus operas favoritas. A ella le encanta hacer vestuario del siglo XIX hasta la primera mitad del siglo XX.  Asi que este espectáculo esta a la altura de su mundo favorito.

Leslie Ann trabaja en estrecha colaboración con su asistenta, Jennifer Shaw. La Fashionista del equipo, Jennifer ha estado con la Opera de Los Angeles desde 2005. Ella se graduo con especialicion en la moda, pero prefiere trabajar con el vestuario de la opera y el teatro y le encanta ponérselos también.  Jennifer me dice “no hay problema con los trajes de epoca, tambien estaban de moda en su día!

Una vez que Leslie Ann ha estudiado los diseños, toma las medidas de la artista, luego hace los patrones.  Jennifer transfiere los patrones a las hermosas telas propias para el escenario,  corta todas las piezas y se las entrega a las costureras del equipo, Hortencia Santos y Ana Wong, que meticulosamente cosen todo y añaden los toques finales.

No podemos olvidarnos de Hallie Dufresne nuestra artesana principal en el taller.   Todos sabemos que no podemos completar el modelo sin los accesorios. Hallie completa el “look” de Musetta con sombreros y joyas.  Gracias Hallie .. Con todo este trabajo del  equipo, estoy seguro que Musetta será fabulosamente vestida con sus nuevos diseños.

Si no, entonces creo que Musetta en el desnudo también será un Grand éxito!  La Boheme abre 12 de mayo hasta 02 de junio .. nos vemos en el teatro ..

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!


Musetta’s New Clothes

Only four more weeks until the opening of Puccini’s La Bohème and Musetta’s wardrobe seems to be right on schedule, or so we hope!

Meet the team responsible for all of Musetta’s magnificent costumes:   The team leader is Leslie Ann Smith, one of our talented Drapers here at the LA Opera Costume Shop.  Leslie Ann has been with the company for twelve years. This is actually the third time she’s worked on this particular production of La Bohème, and says it’s one of her favorite shows. She loves making costumes from the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, so this show is right up her alley.

Leslie Ann works closely with her Assistant Draper, Jennifer Shaw. The Fashionista of the team, Jennifer has been with the LA Opera since 2005. She holds a degree in fashion, but prefers to work with costumes (and wear them too). What’s wrong with wearing period clothes, they were fashionable in their day!  Mrs. Shaw provides great support to the team.

Once Leslie Ann has studied the designs, she measures the performer, and then makes the patterns.  Jennifer transfers the patterns onto the beautiful stage worthy fabrics, cuts it, then hands it to the team’s Seamstresses, Hortencia Santos and Anna Wong, who meticulously stitch everything together and add the finishing touches.

Let’s not forget Hallie Dufresne (Senior Craftsperson), we all know you can’t complete an outfit without the accessories. Thanks Hallie! With the work of this team, I’m sure Musetta will be fabulously dressed in her new designs.

If not, then I guess Musetta in the nude will also be a great hit! La Bohème opens May 12 and runs through June 2nd. See you at the theater!

To Youth: With Memories, Regrets, And Love

By Mary Jane Matz
At the end of January in 1893, Giacomo Puccini, then 34 years old, was still a struggling composer, still hoping for a hit. Neither of his first two operas had become popular, but he had hopes for the future; and they were fully realized a few days later with the triumphant world premiere of Manon Lescaut. It made him famous almost overnight, boosted by the popularity of opera at the time. Within a week, Puccini was planning La Bohème.
The Source of the Opera
For the third time, Puccini chose a French story as his source, which is not surprising, since he always had an international eye and a broad point of view. After all, he traveled extensively all over Europe and visited South America once and New York twice and took side trips to places like Malta and Egypt! As for his operas, most were not based on Italian sources. In addition to his first three “French” works, he used French subjects for Tosca, taken from Victorien Sardou’s melodrama, and Il Tabarro, from a play about bargemen on the Seine. With its strong Grand Guignol underpinnings, it exuded French local color. From the American cultural scene he used plays by David Belasco, a Broadway producer who wrote Madame Butterfly and The Girl of the Golden West. It became Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West. Next came La Rondine, with its origins in Vienna. Beyond all this, Puccini admired Richard Wagner and actually saw Wagner operas in Bayreuth. In sum, he was never a purely “Italian” composer. That was something the Italian critics could never forgive, so they often railed at him for not being “national” enough and not hewing to Italian practice. None of the criticism mattered, for early and late Puccini paid no attention at all.
So it was that in 1893 he became interested in Henri Mürger’s popular Scènes de la Vie de Bohème, a series of little stories about Latin Quarter artists, their poverty, and their loves. Having first published these very personal accounts in installments in a French periodical, Mürger had then made them into a play and a novel. Puccini used both for his opera.
Creating La BohèmeTo transform this French material into a libretto, the composer turned first to Luigi Illica, one of several men who had collaborated with him in the problem-ridden development of Manon Lescaut. It had been nothing short of chaotic, with six or even seven people writing a text, and Puccini rejecting one act, one scene or one line after another. In the end the libretto of Manon Lescaut had to be published with no one listed as its author. But the hot-headed Illica could meet Puccini head-to-head, however demanding the composer might be.
From 1893 to 1896, Illica worked steadily on the project with the composer and with Giulio Ricordi, the powerful publisher who was Puccini’s mentor and sponsor. The first step: Illica wrote a scenario and then a drama based on the original play and novel. The poetic lines (required at that time by operatic convention) were then created by a revered poet-playwright, Giuseppe Giacosa, with Puccini and Ricordi adding their contributions to the text. This “four-man team” met often to discuss the work, batting around ideas and introducing new characters or new scenes. They also removed things that did not work, and Puccini even cut out one whole act! It was a process, not a single, lightning-flash act of creation. This same team of Puccini, Illica, Giacosa, and Ricordi later created Tosca and Madama Butterfly, which later joined La Bohème to make up the “trilogy” of Puccini’s most popular operas.
Puccini’s Bohemian Life in Milan and Tuscany
La Bohème became a window on the Left Bank culture of Paris, but it also opened windows on Puccini’s own life-experience. First it reflected what he had survived as an impoverished composer in the 1880s and early 1890s. “Miseria!” he would gripe in letters to his sister. So in the libretto, when the poet Rodolfo described the wretched conditions in his flat, Puccini could write about something he had actually lived through.
For years he rented cheap furnished rooms or tiny apartments, most in desperate condition. He pawned personal things, then had to ask his sister for money to get them out of hock. In the freezing winters of Northern Italy, he often had no heat. Nor was there enough money for a decent meal. In fact, we know what he ate: a couple of helpings of soup, with bread, cheese and wine; a simple plate of Tuscan beans and onions with bread and wine; or fried eggs, cooked on a spirit stove that he perched on top of his upright piano. Once when friends dropped in, Puccini and his mistress and his brother (all crowded into two or three rooms) had to sell and trade household items to scrape together enough money for grungy meat to make a stew!
Nor was all that miseria left behind in Milan. Parts of Manon Lescaut and most of La Bohème were written in Puccini’s bare-bones lodgings in Torre del Lago, a raw and primitive fishing village on a lake in Tuscany. On the day he moved in, all his possessions could fit on a single donkey-cart; and his mistress said, “We don’t have enough to eat!”

  Among the fishermen and their families in Torre del Lago were several young artists who soon became Puccini’s friends. Together they hunted, fished, drank, ate, staged mock heroic battles, dressed up in sheets and acted like ancient Romans, and played cards — tresette and scopa and briscola. Their refuge and sanctuary was a wooden hut roofed with dried reeds from the lake. They called it their Club la Bohème, and their antics and shared life certainly provided Puccini with material for his depiction of the artists in La Bohème. Three of these men were even identified with three of the principal male characters in the opera.
One of them, Ferruccio Pagni, who was closer to Puccini than the others, wrote later that when Puccini finished La Bohème, they were all together, for he often composed at night, with people talking or playing cards as he worked. On that occasion, Pagni said, Puccini was “just writing the last bars [of the opera]” while he and their cronies played cards nearby.

  “Be quiet, boys!” Puccini said. “I have finished!” Pagni and the others got up from the table and went over to the piano. “Now I’ll let you hear it. . . . This ending is good.” And he started to play Mimì’s last lines: “Sono andati.” As he played on and sang the words, Pagni said, they all had a sensation of “the eternal substance: Sorrow.” At the end, they were all crying.
So Puccini never had to invent any “Bohemian life.” These descriptions of his years in Milan and Torre del Lago come from real letters — Puccini’s own and those of friends and relatives. This means that La Bohème, for all its romantic haze, is basically a realistic work, a snapshot of Puccini’s early years. Nor did he ever forget those terrible days. Many years later, when he was the richest and most famous opera composer in the world, he remembered one of those plain meals, and he remembered it when he was in middle of the Atlantic Ocean, sitting in his private parlor in the Imperial Suite of a luxury liner. In a flash it all came back to him, and he longed to smell beef stewing on a rickety stove, as it had in those long-gone days.
The World Premiere of La Bohème
Far, far from being a series of star-turns, this is an ensemble opera about simple people who are almost destitute. As the first act opens we meet the four Latin Quarter artists: Rodolfo, a poet and journalist; Marcello, a painter; Schaunard, a musician; and Colline, a literary man and philosopher. They live from hand to mouth. The two women of the plot are Mimì, a frail girl who embroiders artificial flowers for a living, and Musetta, who sings for her living in cafes. When she is not with Marcello, Musetta trolls for elderly lovers; but in Act III, when she and Marcello are living together in an inn near the gates of Paris, they are broke, so she gives singing lessons to people who stay there, and Marcello “pays” for their room by painting murals on the outside wall.
These, then, are the people Puccini dearly loved. As he once said, he cared most about “little people with big sorrows.” Yet La Bohème is a full-scale opera, not a short verismo work about Sicilian peasants (as in Cavalleria Rusticana) or itinerant actors traveling in Calabria (as in Pagliacci). It would also be hard to imagine anything farther removed from the grandeur of the earlier operas of the 1800s: Donizetti’s shows about English royalty and nobility, for example; or Verdi’s Don Carlos, set in the court of Philip II of Spain, or Aida, set in the Egypt of the pharaohs. That is why La Bohème transformed its whole field, its genre.
The world premiere of La Bohème took place in the Teatro Regio in Turin on February 1, 1896, with young Arturo Toscanini conducting. Its cast was solid professionals, not queens and kings of the stage, so they were cut to the proper dimensions for this opera. In the end, its success swept everything else aside. It was everything Puccini had hoped for: a composer’s dream, for La Bohème is his opera, utterly and forever his.
Mary Jane Matz is the author of numerous books including Puccini: A Biography (2002) and Verdi: A Biography (1996). She is a frequent contributor to Opera News and many other publications.

Ailyn Perez Wins The 2012 Richard Tucker Award

Congratulations are in order for Ailyn Pérez who was awarded the 2012 Richard Tucker Award. This prestigious prize, with a cash award of $30,000, is presented annually by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation to an American opera singer at the threshold of a major international career. Previous winners are a who’s who of the Opera world, including Renée Fleming, Deborah Voigt, David Daniels, Joyce DiDonato, Richard Leech, Patricia Racette and Dolora Zajick.

Ailyn also has the distinction of being the first Hispanic singer to receive the award in its 34 year history! Speaking on the phone from Atlanta, where she is making her debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra singing Poulenc’s Gloria, Ms. Peréz commented: “The Richard Tucker Music Foundation is extraordinary: it enriches American operatic culture and promotes and connects young American artists. Watching the Richard Tucker gala performance when my husband was announced the winner, and seeing international opera stars come together to honor the memory of one of America’s legendary artists at these galas are an incredible source of inspiration to me. I am truly grateful and thrilled to receive such an honor, and I am excited to be another voice to carry on his legacy.”

The 2009 Richard Tucker Award, which has been called “the Heisman Trophy of Opera,” went to Ms. Pérez’s husband and frequent collaborator, tenor Stephen Costello, so her award renders the couple dubbed “America’s fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars” (Associated Press) the first to have two Richard Tucker Awards on the mantelpiece – one for each.

Ailyn Perez first appeared with LA Opera in 2006, in the world premiere of Lee Holdridge’s multi-media concert work Concierto para Mendez. She returns to LA Opera as Mimi in La Bohème (May 12 through June 2), the final production of LA Opera’s 2011/12 season, appearing opposite the Rodolfo of her husband, Stephen Costello, who will make his Company debut.

Musetta’s New Look for La Bohème

We often find that the stage is a reflection of real life. Though Puccini’s “La Bohème” is set in Paris in the mid-1800’s, most of us can identify and even empathize with Mimi and Rodolfo’s struggles in life and in love. Period pieces are great reminders that throughout the ages, no matter the time or location, we are all united in having similar concerns, wants and needs.  But as French classical author François de la Rochefoucauld said, “The only thing constant in life is change.”  While our upcoming production of “La Bohème” is the same classic love story, it will be undergoing some small changes and evolving into a more updated version of the timeless tale.

Original Musetta Costume - LA Bohème

One of the principal characters, Musetta, will be getting a new wardrobe.  The new costume designer Jeannique Prospere (who also doubles as the costume supervisor for the show) had this to say, “We’ve focused on the details for Musetta’s new costumes. Her character is as multi-layered as her costume and each item is a glimpse into her story and her personality.”

Musetta's New Dress for Act 2 - La Bohème

Jeannique re-designed Musetta using a palette of colors that stay true to the time period that “La Bohème” is set in. We will be seeing Musetta in fiery orange, burgundy, gold, and off-white. Part of Jeannique’s job is to make sure that the re-designs she does will keep to the original designer’s vision for the production so that the show works as a whole.

Musetta's New Coat - La Bohème

In general, the whole show will be getting “refreshed”.  There will be more accents and subtle sparks of color that will breathe a new life into the classic production that we know and love. “Viva La Vie Bohème”!”

Musetta's New Dress for Act 4 - La Bohème

“La Bohème” opens Saturday May 12 and runs through June 2.

Musetta’s New Look in La Bohème (en Español)

A menudo encontramos que el escenario es un reflejo de la vida real.  París, 1800, la mayoría de nosotros nos podemos identificar y empatizar con Mimì y Rodolfo en la lucha de la vida y el amor.  Un autor clásico francés, Francois de La Rochefoucauld, dijo, “lo único constante en la vida es el cambio”.  Nuestra próxima producción de La Bohème de Puccini es la misma historia clásica de amor, con varios cambios, más actualizada.

Original Musetta Costume - LA Boheme

Jeannique Prospere, nuestra diseñadora del vestuario me dice que Musetta en nuestras ultimas producciones, con su vestido amarillo, su vestuario era mas como una cantante de cabaret.  El director, Greg Fortner, tiene una nueva visión para Musetta.  El interpreta a Musetta menos cabaret y mas como una chica rica..

New Musetta costume from Act 2 - La Boheme

Con la visión de Greg, Jeannique a diseñado un nuevo vestuario para Mussetta manteniendo el sabor de la epoca.  Utilizando una gama de colores más cálidos, vamos a ver a Mussetta vestida en color naranja intenso, rojo vino, tonos dorados y crema  Parte del trabajo de Jeannique es mantener los diseños originales integrando la visión del nuevo director.

Musetta's New Coat - La Boheme

En general, todo el espectáculo va a obtener una apariencia más fresca, habrá más detalles, con chispas sutiles de color, dando nueva vida a la producción clásica que conocemos y amamos, Viva la vie boheme!.

Musetta's New Dress for Act 4 - La Boheme

La Boheme abre el sábado 12 de mayo y se extenderá hasta 02 de junio .. nos vemos en el teatro.

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.

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.

LA Opera On Air Begins July 7 on WFMT

LA Opera is collaborating with Classical KUSC to produce the sixth consecutive season of LA Opera on Air, a weekly broadcast series of performances recorded live at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Hosted by Duff Murphy, the series will feature all six operas from LA Opera’s 2011/12 season.

The series will syndicated throughout the United States and internationally on the WFMT Radio Network. Broadcast dates and times on the WFMT Radio Network vary in differing media markets; please visit WFMT for more information.

Broadcast Schedule
Eugene Onegin
WFMT: Saturday, July 7, 12pm CDT
Young and impassioned, Tatiana (soprano Oksana Dyka) hastily writes a love letter to the brooding aristocrat Onegin (baritone Dalibor Jenis). She unwittingly sets off an unstoppable series of events, leaving Onegin forever regretting the love he so casually spurned.

Così fan tutteWFMT: Saturday, July 14, 12pm CDT
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s delightfully comic battle of the sexes comes to life with ravishingly beautiful music and sparkling wit. The cast includes soprano Aleksandra Kurzak and bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo.  

Roméo et Juliette
WFMT: Saturday, July 21, 12pm CDT
Soprano Nino Machaidze and tenor Vittorio Grigolo star as the world’s most famous lovers.  

Simon Boccanegra
WFMT: Saturday, July 28, 12pm CDT
Plácido Domingo sings the title role of Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, a grand-scale study of power and treachery that finds an emotional center in the tender bond between father and daughter. 

Albert Herring
WFMT: Saturday, August 4, 12pm CDT
Benjamin Britten’s comedy takes place in the English countryside, where meek mama’s boy Albert (tenor Alek Shrader) reluctantly becomes his village’s first May King when no maidens of sufficient virtue can be found. Soprano Christine Brewer stars as the formidable Lady Billows.  

La Bohème
WFMT: Saturday, August 11, 12pm CDT
In this rebroadcast, a poet discovers true romance with a lovely, fragile seamstress among the evocative rooftops, cafés and garrets of Paris. Soprano Ailyn Pérez and tenor Stephen Costello, fast-rising young singers who are married in real life, star as Mimi and Rodolfo.  

LA Opera on Air is made possible by generous grants from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, spearheaded by the efforts of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Plácido Domingo Announces LA Opera’s 2015/2016 Season!

15-16 season grid

Plácido Domingo has announced LA Opera's 2015/16 season, which is dedicated to you, the audience, and our community!  This exciting 30th Anniversary Season is filled with audience favorites, with plenty of LA Opera flair thrown in for good measure. The season will open on September 12, 2015, and will run through June 19, 2016.

A season-opening double bill provides a unique opportunity to see Plácido Domingo star in Woody Allen's riotus staging of Puccini's comic masterpiece Gianni Schicchi, and also conduct Franco Zeffirelli's grandly scaled production of Pagliacci starring Marco Berti and Ana María Martínez.  The season continues with the epic Moby-Dick, starring the sensational Jay Hunter Morris who returns to LA Opera as Captain Ahab, followed by the greatest of all bel canto dramas, Norma, featuring a superlative quartet of soloists led by Angela Meade.

The second half of the season begins with the eagerly anticipated revival of a production that created a sensation in 2013, Mozart's The Magic Flute! Then Ana María Martínez returns for her second leading role of the season in a stunning, new-to-Los Angeles production of Madame Butterfly. And the season concludes with the return of Nino Machaidze in her role debut as Mimi in the beloved, timeless classic, La Boheme!

We're also pleased to announce two very special events! Two of the greatest voices of our time, Plácido Domingo and Renée Fleming, combine forces in an unforgettable, one-night-only 30th Anniversary Concert conducted by James Conlon leading the LA Opera Orchestra. And superstar bass Erwin Schrott explores the passion, melancholy and erotic power of tango in Rojotango In Concert.


This season at the REDCAT, LA Opera Off Grand presents the West Coast premiere of Song from the Uproar, a multimedia opera that combines live musical performance  and original film inspired by the journals of adventuress Isabelle Ernhardt (1877-1904), one of the most remarkable women of her era. Based on actual 18th-century texts, the World Premiere of Anatomy Theater follows the progression of an English murderess: from confession to execution and ultimately public dissection before a paying audience of fascinated onlookers. 


This Halloween, Hollywood's most alluring vampire gets an evocative contemporary soundtrack. Philip Glass' hypnotic score for Tod Browning's 1931 Dracula blows the cobwebs off the horror classic, adding new depth to the emotional layers of the drama. Glass himself will share the stage with the celebrated Kronos Quartet, their live performances providing an eerie counterpart to the suspensful classic projected on the big screen. Performances will take place at the Ace Hotel in the heart of Downtown LA!


Free performances of a community opera for families, The Festival Play of Daniel, will be conducted by James Conlon and performed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in March 2016. For more information about the Off Grand initiative, visit LAOpera.org/OffGrand.

Subscription packages for the 2015/2016 Season are now available. Subscribe online or call 213.972.8001 to order by phone!

Box Office opens to the public for individual tickets on June 28, 2015

All programs, artists and dates are subject to change.