LA Opera Off Grand presents Matthew Aucoin's Crossing in concert at the Wallis

(Los Angeles) May 2, 2018 – LA Opera Off Grand presents the West Coast premiere of Matthew Aucoin's Crossing in two concert performances on May 25 and 26. Crossing will be presented at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (The Wallis), located at 9390 North Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Mr. Aucoin, now in his second season as Artist in Residence with LA Opera, is both composer and librettist of the opera; he will also conduct the performances.

About Crossing
Inspired by poet Walt Whitman’s experiences tending to wounded soldiers during the Civil War, this haunting, compassionate opera explores the connections that come between us and pull us apart. As Whitman listens to wounded veterans share their memories and messages, he forges a bond with an enigmatic young soldier. Their encounter forces him to examine his own role as writer and poet. Crossing is intricately scored for four principal soloists and an ensemble of 12 male vocalists, with a chamber orchestra made up of musicians from the LA Opera Orchestra.

Mr. Aucoin describes Crossing as "a musical fantasia which imagines and realizes the many forces—generosity, insecurity, longing, selflessness, bravery, unfulfilled sexual desire, a need to escape his own life, a boundless kindness—that caused a man named Walter Whitman, Jr., to forge an indelible embodiment of the American spirit in his poetry.”

The world premiere of Crossing took place in Boston in 2015, presented by the American Repertory Theatre, in association with Music-Theater Group.

The Artists
Crossing is conducted by Matthew Aucoin, who both composed the opera and wrote its libretto. Born in 1990, Mr. Aucoin has been Artist in Residence at LA Opera since 2016. This position, created for him, fuses his work as composer and conductor. He made his LA Opera mainstage conducting debut with Philip Glass’s Akhnaten in 2016, conducted his own new score for the film Nosferatu at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, and will conduct the company's upcoming production of Rigoletto (May 12-June 3). He is currently composing a new full-length work for LA Opera which will premiere in a future season. He serves as the company’s advisor on new music and works regularly with members of its opera studio. Mr. Aucoin has also worked as a composer and conductor with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Music Academy of the West.

Baritone Rod Gilfry returns as Walt Whitman, a role he created in the work's world premiere. His numerous LA Opera appearances include the title roles of Billy Budd and The Barber of Seville as well as Papageno in The Magic Flute, and he will return next season in David Lang’s the loser. Acclaimed worldwide in opera, musicals, recitals and cabaret, he has created 12 leading roles in world premieres, including, recently, Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel at the Metropolitan Opera and Jake Heggie's It's a Wonderful Life at Houston Grand Opera.

Tenor Brenton Ryan returns as John Wormley, a wounded soldier in Whitman's care. An alumnus of the company's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, he has recently appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera, and he returned to LA Opera as Pedrillo in The Abduction from the Seraglio in 2017. This summer, he will make his debut at the Santa Fe Opera as the Dancing Master in Ariadne auf Naxos.

Bass-baritone Davóne Tines will make his company debut as Freddie Stowers, an escaped slave fighting for the Union Army. Mr. Tines created the role of Freddie in the work's premiere. This season he made his San Francisco Opera debut in the world premiere of Girls of the Golden West by John Adams and Peter Sellars and also debuted at the Opéra National de Paris in Kaija Saariaho’s Only the Sound Remains.

Soprano Liv Redpath, a member of LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, will perform the role of the Messenger, the only female role in the opera. Her many LA Opera appearances include the leading roles of Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann and Amour in Orpheus and Eurydice, and she will return next season as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel.

Performance Dates and Times
Two concert performances of Crossing will be presented by LA Opera at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts:

  • Friday, May 25, 2018, at 8pm
  • Saturday, May 26, 2018, at 8pm

Tickets and Additional Information
Tickets are on sale now. Tickets begin at $55 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 310.746.4000, or in person at the box office at The Wallis (9390 North Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210).

For additional information about this presentation, visit

About LA Opera Off Grand
Crossing is presented under LA Opera's Off Grand banner, which complements the company's mainstage programming through a wide variety of artistic explorations in a range of venues throughout Los Angeles. To learn more, visit

Crossing is a co-production of LA Opera Off Grand and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

LA Opera Off Grand and Matthew Aucoin's residency
are made possible by a generous grant from
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional support from Contemporary Opera Initiative
chairpersons Barry and Nancy Sanders
and a consortium of generous donors

LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community.

Yamaha is the Official Piano of LA Opera.

LA Opera Media Contact:
Vanessa Flores Waite
Director of Communications