Tenor Russell Thomas inaugurates the series on April 9 with Schumann's impassioned Dichterliebe
(Los Angeles) March 18, 2021 [see updates] — LA Opera is launching a new Signature Recital Series to showcase world-class artists in intimate online performances. Tenor Russell Thomas launches the series on April 9, with subsequent recitals featuring mezzo-soprano J'nai Bridges, soprano Christine Goerke, soprano Julia Bullock and mezzo-soprano Susan Graham.
Filmed in performance venues across the country and in Europe, the five full-length recitals will be available for on-demand viewing for several weeks after their initial streaming dates, through July 1. Access to the complete series is $30 for LA Opera subscribers and $45 for the general public. For access, visit LAOpera.org/signature. The Signature Recital Series is part of LA Opera's On Now platform of digital programming.
"As our return to live public performances draws ever nearer, we wanted to whet our audience's appetites for great singing through a hand curated collection of musical performances," said Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera's Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco President and CEO. "Three of our company favorites join two LA Opera newcomers to present recitals of music that's beautiful, meaningful and entertaining—all at once."
The Signature Recital Series kicks off with tenor Russell Thomas, the company's Artist in Residence, joining pianist Kyung-Mi Kim for a performance of Schumann's song cycle Dichterliebe [Poet's Love] (available on demand beginning April 9). A heartbreaking journey from bliss to bitterness, it's a pinnacle of Romantic-era song repertoire, perfect for "the golden sounds of [his] solid, well-honed tenor voice" (Opera Now). Filmed at Atlanta's Spivey Hall, the program also includes ravishing love songs by American composers Adolphus Hailstork and Robert Owens.
Mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges, star of LA Opera's Akhnaten and Satyagraha, appears with pianist Howard Watkins in a recital filmed at the Harlem School of the Arts (on demand starting April 23). Update: Mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges, star of LA Opera's Akhnaten and Satyagraha, appears with pianist Jeremy Frank in a recital filmed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (on demand starting June 4). One of today's fastest-rising singers, she has emerged over the past year as a leading figure in classical music’s shift toward conversations of inclusion and racial justice in the performing arts. Her 2018 Carnegie Hall recital debut was celebrated by Opera Wire for "demonstrating her versatility, interpretation, and passion for performing...J’Nai Bridges undoubtedly created an impression that will have audiences talking for quite some time to come."
"Imposing of figure and expansive of voice" (The Telegraph, UK), soprano Christine Goerke gives us a rare opportunity to hear one of the most powerful voices of our time in an intimate setting, presented in partnership with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley. Beginning May 7, her recital with pianist Craig Terry offers an adventurous program of music by Handel, Brahms, and Strauss; Italian art songs; classic show tunes; and other surprises including Carrie Jacobs-Bond’s witty cycle of (very!) short pieces, Half-Minute Songs.
"A musician who delights in making her own rules” (New Yorker) and an "agent of change" (Musical America), soprano Julia Bullock collaborates with pianist Laura Poe for a diverse program available on demand on May 21. Filmed at the stunning new Blaibach Concert Hall in Germany, her recital is presented in partnership with Cal Performances at UC Berkeley. Bullock begins with the German song repertoire of Wolf, Schumann and Weill, and continues with American music by John Adams, Margaret Bonds and William Grant Still, before a grand finale of beloved tunes from Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music.
One of opera's most loved artists, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham (artistic advisor to LA Opera's young artist program) partners with pianist Jeremy Frank for a program of her favorite songs by 20th-century great Kurt Weill, streaming June 4 through July 1 NEW DATES: now streaming April 23 through July 1. Hailed by the New York Times as "an artist to treasure" and by Gramophone as "America's favorite mezzo," she delves into Weill's rich song repertoire, from the yearning "Lonely House," to the tantalizing "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" to the lovely "September Song," in a performance filmed on the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
About LA Opera On Now
LA Opera was the first major American opera company to create a platform for original new online programming to bring opera to audiences during the coronavirus crisis. As the company awaits its cue to return to the stage with world-class productions in theaters, it is offering a variety of digital content including newly commissioned performances, live recitals, opera broadcasts and learning opportunities via its On Now digital offerings, which have accumulated nearly 810,000 views since its launch on March 17, 2020.
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 with thrilling performances, thought-provoking productions and innovative programming. The communal and curative power of opera is needed now more than ever before, especially given the extraordinary challenges of the time. The company is grateful to its supporters for helping to ensure that it has the resources needed to get through this unprecedented period through the LA Opera Relief Fund. Those wishing to support LA Opera can go to LAOpera.org/donate.
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