LA OPERA ANNOUNCES ITS 2020-2021 Season
With five new-to-Los-Angeles mainstage productions (including three of opera's most monumental works and one company premiere) and a jaw-dropping Off Grand lineup, this season embodies the power, diversity, beauty and insight only opera can offer.
(Los Angeles) January 26, 2020 — LA Opera President and CEO Christopher Koelsch today announced the company's 35th season, which will include six mainstage productions — one of them a company premiere and five productions new to Los Angeles — and two concerts presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with additional performances presented in other venues through the company's Off Grand and Connects initiatives.
This landmark season was announced during the run-up to the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin and Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice, opening February 1.
Mainstage performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will include:
- a new-to-Los-Angeles production of Verdi's blood-and-thunder drama Il Trovatore, conducted by James Conlon and starring soprano Angel Blue and tenor Gregory Kunde
- a revival of Tannhäuser, LAO's first Wagner opera since 2013, conducted by Mr. Conlon and starring tenor Issachah Savage
- La Cenerentola, Rossini's comic adaptation of the Cinderella story, conducted by Roberto Abbado and in a colorful and fast-moving production by internationally acclaimed director Stefan Herheim, making his long awaited U.S. debut
- Mozart's Don Giovanni, conducted by Mr. Conlon, with bass Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as the legendary seducer (aka Don Juan) in a production directed by Kasper Holten and designed by Es Devlin, widely considered to be one of the world's most inventive designers
- the company premiere of composer Missy Mazzoli's breakout 2016 hit Breaking the Waves, conducted by Grant Gershon, in a production directed by James Darrah
- for the first time since 2005, Verdi's late masterpiece Aida returns to our stage in director Francesca Zambello's visually arresting production, created by LA-based street and studio artist RETNA and conducted by James Conlon
- a concert featuring Kevin Puts' orchestral song cycle The Brightness of Light (based on the letters of artist Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz) featuring soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry, with James Conlon conducting the LA Opera Orchestra
- a concert performance of Handel’s baroque drama Tamerlano, with Harry Bicket conducting The English Concert, an orchestra using instruments authentic to the work's 18th-century period
LA Opera Off Grand performances will include:
- Halloween screenings of Jordan Peele’s 2017 Get Out at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, featuring the LA Opera Orchestra conducted by the film's composer Michael Abels with the DC6 Singers, the vocalists heard on the soundtrack
- a new work about fatherhood by Chinese-born composer Du Yun with librettist Michael Joseph McQuilken, In Our Daughter's Eyes, created with and starring baritone Nathan Gunn, presented at REDCAT, produced by Beth Morrison Projects
- an inventive new recital program Veils for Desire, with countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, tenor Paul Appleby and pianist Matthew Aucoin, presented at The Wallis and featuring music that transforms unspeakable desires into new, mysterious formsLA Opera Connects performances for the season will include:
- BambinO, a groundbreaking new touring opera created especially for babies and toddlers
- the family-friendly chamber opera On Gold Mountain by composer Nathan Wang and librettist Lisa See, presented in the Chinese Gardens at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens
- Britten's Noah's Flood performed by hundreds of singers and musicians of all ages at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Additional information can be found below, with complete casting, schedules and additional details at LAOpera.org.
LA OPERA'S LEADERSHIP WEIGHS IN
Christopher Koelsch, President and CEO
"The new season embodies our passion for creating compelling, thought-provoking art that deepens our connection to the community we serve, and by extension, our shared humanity. As passionately as we are committed to honoring the great masterworks and traditions of past centuries, we are also eager to provide our audiences numerous and significant opportunities to experience music composed within the past decade—some of which, in fact, is being created at this very moment. At 35 years young, LA Opera is ideally positioned to continue providing local audiences and worldwide visitors with opportunities to experience the enchantment of opera through a distinctively Angeleno lens.
"Opera is an enormously collaborative enterprise, and I am deeply honored to work with the hundreds of individuals who bring their unique talents and background to the work we produce for the stage, many of whom our audiences never see. From stagehands and costumers to accountants and marketing professionals, LA Opera draws on a dedicated staff working to ensure the future of this art form in Los Angeles.”
James Conlon, Richard Seaver Music Director
"LA Opera continues to forge ahead with our dynamic effort to provide both contemporary music theater and great masterworks which have stood the test of time. I will conduct four productions plus our semiannual performances of Britten's Noah’s Flood. This tradition, which began with my arrival at LA Opera 14 seasons ago, is one of which I am particularly proud, welcoming well over 80,000 audience members and performers into the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels over the years.
"Three permanent pillars of every international opera house are the operas of Mozart, Wagner and Verdi. I enthusiastically return to conduct four of the greatest summits of the entire art form, some not seen here in many years. Verdi's Il Trovatore and Aida (last produced in 2004 and 2005 respectively), Wagner's Tannhäuser (the first Wagner opera I conducted in my LAO debut season, in 2007) and Mozart's Don Giovanni (which I last conducted here in 2012). Renée Fleming and Rod Gilfry also join me for a concert featuring Kevin Puts' The Brightness of Light.
"Omnipresent are the LA Opera Orchestra and Chorus, the true guarantors of our company’s musical values. And with an extraordinary team of international singers, it promises to be a significant season. I especially look forward to welcoming everyone to my pre-performance talks, one hour before every performance I conduct.”
Marc Stern, chairman of the board of directors
"It has been an enormously challenging time for us, with the eyes of the world upon us as we navigate a consequential change to the company’s leadership. I’m truly grateful for the continued strong support of our board members, patrons and subscribers; thanks to them, we are moving forward.
"Under the visionary leadership of Christopher Koelsch, a dedicated, innovative member of the LA Opera family for two thirds of the company's existence, and our dynamic Music Director James Conlon, now in his 14th season with us, we continue to flourish, with all the artistic creativity that has been our hallmark from the very beginning. Our coming season makes a powerful statement about what a contemporary, world-class opera company should be: daring, inventive, vital and meaningful. It exemplifies our dedication to our audiences, to the innovative city of Los Angeles, and to the longevity of this great art form."
PERFORMANCES AT THE DOROTHY CHANDLER PAVILION
(135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles CA 90012)
Angel Blue stars in Il Trovatore
September 26, October 4, 7, 10, 15 and 18, 2020
Under the masterful baton of James Conlon, one of opera’s greatest hits opens the season in grand style. A fiery staging by director Francisco Negrin deftly threads through the story’s intricate layers of vengeance. A remarkable cast is led by superstar soprano Angel Blue, a former LAO young artist making a glorious return as Leonora, with internationally acclaimed tenor Gregory Kunde in his company debut as Manrico. Mezzo-sopranos Ekaterina Semenchuk and Raehann Bryce-Davis share the role of Azucena, with baritone Vladimir Stoyanov as Count di Luna and Morris Robinson as Ferrando.
Wagner returns with Tannhäuser
October 17, 25 and 29, November 1, 4 and 7, 2020
James Conlon conducts a sensuous masterpiece of sin and salvation, one of Wagner’s most popular and romantic works. Fast-rising heldentenor Issachah Savage returns to Los Angeles for a major role debut in the title role, with soprano Sara Jakubiak as Elisabeth, mezzo-soprano Yulia Matochkina as Venus, bass John Relyea as Hermann and baritone Lucas Meachem as Wolfram.
Stefan Herheim's production of La Cenerentola (Cinderella)
November 21 and 29, December 2, 5, 9 and 13, 2020
A delightfully entertaining spin on the ultimate rags-to-riches tale, directed by Stefan Herheim, the internationally celebrated director making his U.S. debut, and conducted by Roberto Abbado in his company debut. Mezzo-soprano Serena Malfi as Angelina (Cinderella) and tenor Levy Sekgapane as Don Ramiro head the cast as the romantic leads, with baritone Rodion Pogossov as the prince's valet Dandini, bass Ildebrando D’Arcangelo as the prince’s advisor Alidoro, and comic treasure Alessandro Corbelli as the pompous father standing in the way of true love.
Ildebrando D'Arcangelo stars in Don Giovanni
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
January 30, February 6, 11, 14, 17 and 21, 2021
The dashing Italian bass Ildebrando D’Arcangelo returns as the legendary doomed playboy, leading a brilliant cast of singers. This visually spectacular staging pulls the audience into the characters’ inner thoughts and shifting emotions. The production is directed by Kasper Holten and designed by Es Devlin, known throughout the world for her technologically revolutionary and sculpturally inventive sets for opera houses, concert venues and stadiums. James Conlon conducts a cast that includes many returning favorites, with soprano Tamara Wilson as Donna Anna, soprano Ana María Martínez as Donna Elvira, tenor Bogdan Volkov as Don Ottavio, soprano Janai Brugger as Zerlina, baritone Kihun Yoon as Masetto and bass Morris Robinson as the Commendatore, along with baritone Will Liverman making his company debut as Leporello.
The company premiere of Breaking the Waves
Music by Missy Mazzoli; libretto by Royce Vavrek
February 27, March 6, 11, 14, 18 and 21, 2021
The breakout work by composer Missy Mazzoli, hailed as “Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart” by Time Out New York, comes to Los Angeles, conducted by Resident Conductor Grant Gershon. In an isolated Scottish village, Bess is passionately devoted to her new husband Jan. But after he becomes paralyzed in a near-fatal accident, she must decipher for herself what it means to be a faithful wife. Soprano Sydney Mancasola stars as Bess with baritone Alexander Birch Elliott as Jan, along with soprano Melody Moore as Bess's mother and Frederick Ballentine as Dr. Richardson. An unforgettable adaptation of Lars von Trier's 1996 film, Mazzoli's 2016 work has earned wide recognition as one of the most powerful operas of our time.
Concert: Tamerlano with The English Concert
George Frideric Handel
April 30, 2021
Harry Bicket conducts The English Concert, the internationally acclaimed period-instrument orchestra, in a concert performance of Handel's 1724 psychological thriller. Countertenor Bejun Mehta returns in the title role as a tyrannical emperor, joined by tenor Michael Spyres as Tamerlano's prisoner Bajazet, with soprano Sophie Bevan and countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński as the lovers Asteria and Andronico.
Worth the wait: LAO's first Aida since 2005
May 15, 23, 27 and 30, June 2 and 5, 2021
Director Francesca Zambello's truly dazzling staging of the grandest of all grand operas—designed by the extraordinary street and studio artist known as RETNA—incorporates both Egyptian hieroglyphs and graffiti to create a strikingly gorgeous world. Soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska (returning after her sensational 2017 company debut as Abigaille in Nabucco) heads the cast, joined by tenor Gregory Kunde as Radames, mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchuk as Amneris, baritone Craig Colclough as Amonasro, bass Eric Owens as Ramfis and bass-baritone Kevin Short as the King of Egypt, all under the baton of James Conlon.
Concert: Renée Fleming and Rod Gilfry in The Brightness of Light
May 16, 2021
The iconic American artist Georgia O’Keefe wrote countless letters— full of poetry, humor and passion—to her mentor and eventual husband Alfred Stieglitz. A ravishing new orchestral song cycle by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts chronicles a great artist’s turn from a painful marriage to embrace her work and the desert land she cherishes. James Conlon conducts the LA Opera Orchestra, with soprano Renée Fleming as O'Keefe and baritone Rod Gilfry as Stieglitz.
LA OPERA OFF GRAND PRESENTATIONS
(presented in various venues)
Film by Jordan Peele; score by Michael Abels
October 30 and 31, 2020
This year, LA Opera's annual Halloween residency at the Theatre at Ace Hotel showcases screenings of a 2017 shocker that made a seismic cultural impact. As the film plays on the big screen, composer Michael Abels conducts his disconcerting “gospel horror” original score, performed live by the LA Opera Orchestra and the DC6 Singers (the vocalists heard on the film's original soundtrack).
Presented at the Theatre at Ace Hotel (929 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015)
Veils for Desire
Music by Aucoin, Bach, Britten and Monteverdi
March 31, 2021
The history of music is full of powerful expressions of hidden desires, from Beethoven’s yearning for his “immortal beloved” to Tchaikovsky’s tortured expressions of his sexuality. This inventive new chamber concert program features pieces of music that “veil” or transform an unspeakable desire into a new, mysterious form. Directed by Zack Winokur, the performance features countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, tenor Paul Appleby and composer/pianist Matthew Aucoin, joined by musicians from AMOC (the American Modern Opera Company) and narrator Wayne Koestenbaum, whose playful, multi-layered texts—written for the occasion—weave these works together.
Presented at The Wallis (9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210)
In Our Daughter's Eyes
Music by Du Yun; libretto by Michael Joseph McQuilken
April 8, 9, 10 and 11, 2021
A heartfelt West Coast premiere created with and starring baritone Nathan Gunn. A father-to-be struggles to become a man his wife and daughter would be proud of. Through a journal he keeps—a gift for his unborn daughter—he traces the journey unfolding before him and the gift of sight that his daughter gives him. Produced by Beth Morrison Projects.
Presented at REDCAT (631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012)
For more information about LA Opera’s Off Grand initiative, visit LAOpera.org/OffGrand.
LA OPERA CONNECTS: COMMUNITY AND EDUCATIONAL OFFERINGS
(presented in various venues)
Many thousands of Angelenos experience the magic of opera throughout the year, and not just through the musical events presented on the stage. LA Opera Connects offers an astonishing variety of programs that share the wonder and promise of the art form with all ages, neighborhoods and communities. Highlights of these numerous initiatives include:
Saturday Mornings at the Opera
(February 6 and May 22, 2021)
Interactive, hour-long performances introduce families to the magic of opera with special interactive performances for kids from 3 to 9 years old.
Presented in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012).
(April 30 and May 1, 2021)
James Conlon conducts Benjamin Britten's beloved tale of hope and faith. Bringing together hundreds of singers and musicians of all ages, the family-friendly opera is presented free of charge. Presented at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (555 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).
(touring spring of 2021)
New in the 2020/21 season, BambinO is an opera specially designed for babies between 6 and 18 months old and their accompanying adults. Created by composer Lliam Paterson and directed by the ever imaginative Phelim McDermott (LAO's Akhnaten and Satyagraha), it's a groundbreaking work full of enchantment and imagination.
On Gold Mountain
(June 10-20, 2021)
A chamber opera by composer Nathan Wang and librettist Lisa See (based on her bestselling 1995 memoir) weaves together 100 years of fascinating family anecdotes, imaginative storytelling and historical details of immigrant life over the last century into an entertaining family celebration. Performances take place in the Chinese Gardens at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. (1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108)
For more information about LA Opera Connects programming, visit LAOpera.org/Community.
Season subscription tickets for the 2020/21 season are now available, starting at $109 for all six mainstage opera productions. Tickets for The Brightness of Light, Get Out, Veils for Desire and Tamerlano are currently available for sale only with subscription packages. For more information, please visit LA Opera’s website at LAOpera.org or call LA Opera’s box office at 213.972.8001.
Unless otherwise specified, performances take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, 90012).
Visit LAOpera.org for continually updated casting information and performance dates.
Artist headshots and production photographs are available on the LA Opera Press Gallery: LAOpera.org/press/Press-Photos
All programs, artists and dates are subject to change.
ABOUT LA OPERA
Los Angeles is a city of enormous diversity and creativity, and LA Opera is dedicated to reflecting that vibrancy by redefining what opera can be. Through imaginative new productions, world premiere commissions, and inventive productions that preserve foundational works while making them feel fresh and compelling, LA Opera has become one of America’s most exciting and ambitious opera companies.
In addition to its mainstage performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the company explores unusual repertoire each season through the Off Grand initiative, performed in a variety of venues throughout Los Angeles.
LA Opera's robust variety of educational programming and community engagement offerings are as integral to the company's artistic identity as mainstage productions and Off Grand performances. LA Opera Connects currently offers 29 different programs experienced by more than 135,000 people each season. These broad-based engagement programs reflect the vibrancy and diversity of Los Angeles, reaching people throughout every corner of Los Angeles County.
Learn more about the company at LAOpera.org.
LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community.
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LA Opera Media Contact
Vanessa Flores Waite
Director of Communications