LA Opera Off Grand presents West Coast premiere of the loser by David Lang

Two performances at the Theatre at Ace Hotel: Feb 22-23

(Los Angeles) February 4, 2019 — LA Opera Off Grand presents the West Coast premiere of "the loser," a new work by composer David Lang.

Starring baritone Rod Gilfry, "the loser" depicts two promising concert pianists, among the best in the world, who have the misfortune of attending a master class along with the young Glenn Gould—soon to become one of the most celebrated musicians of all time. The immediate realization that they would never be as great as Gould wrecks their lives forever.

Two performances of the opera will be presented at the Theatre at Ace Hotel (located at 929 South Broadway, Los Angeles CA, 90015): on Friday, February 22, at 8pm, and on Saturday, February 23, at 8pm.

About "the loser"
An ugly truth: sometimes we fail. Dreams get crushed. But failure can make for great art.
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang does just that, in bringing us his one-man opera to downtown Los Angeles. Composed for baritone, piano soloist and chamber ensemble, Lang’s poignant score was praised by The New York Times as “boldly unconventional...and captures the conflicted emotional currents of the story in his elusive, austere music.”

Based on a novel by Thomas Bernhard, "the loser" had its world premiere at the 2016 Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. "The story is not at all about classical music," says Lang, who is the composer, librettist and stage director of the work. "In its own confrontational and strangely beautiful way, it is about perfectionism, hard work, optimism or lack of, and how we learn to appreciate beauty and become alienated from it at the same time."

Presented as part of the groundbreaking contemporary opera series LA Opera Off Grand, "the loser" is staged in a uniquely intimate way that incorporates multiple levels of the Theatre at Ace Hotel, LA's iconic Spanish Gothic theater. The audience is seated in the balcony; the vocal soloist performs on a specially constructed platform in front of them, with the musicians below him; and the piano soloist performs on the stage, at a distance.

The approximate running time is one hour, performed without intermission.

Produced by Bang on a Can.

About David Lang
David Lang is one of the most highly esteemed and performed American composers writing today. LA Opera Off Grand presented the world premiere of his opera "anatomy theater" in 2016. His works have been performed around the world in most of the great concert halls. His score for Paolo Sorrentino’s film Youth received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. Other recent work includes "the mile-long opera," composed for 1,000 singers spanning the entire length of the High Line in NYC, and "man made," a concerto for percussion quartet and orchestra, co-commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony. He is a professor of music composition at the Yale School of Music and is artist in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York's legendary music collective Bang on a Can. Learn more at

The Performers
Baritone Rod Gilfry stars as the unnamed narrator of "the loser," a role he created at the work's 2016 premiere. This is his 31st role with LA Opera. He made his company debut in the 1986 inaugural production of Otello, with subsequent appearances in the title roles of Billy Budd, Don Giovanni and The Barber of Seville, to name a few. He most recently appeared with the company as Walt Whitman in Matthew Aucoin's Crossing last season. His vast repertoire includes a number of notable world premieres, including Thomas Ades's The Exterminating Angel at the Metropolitan Opera, Jake Heggie's It's a Wonderful Life at Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera, Brett Dean's Hamlet at the Glyndebourne Festival and Thomas Ades's Anna Nicole at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Piano soloist Conrad Tao is featured as the apparition and memory of Glenn Gould. Mr. Tao began the 2018/19 season with the world premiere of his composition Everything Must Go, commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic. Other appearances this season include concerts with the Swedish Radio Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Colorado Symphony, and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia.

The Creative Team
The conductor is Lesley Leighton, leading a chamber ensemble of musicians from Bang on a Can Opera. Composer/librettist David Lang is the stage director of the production, joined by a creative team that includes lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, set designer Jim Findlay, costume designer Suzanne Bocanegra, and sound engineer Andrew Cotton.

Performance Dates and Times
Spend a night with “the loser,” because—let’s face it—we’ve all been there. There will be two performances of "the loser" presented by LA Opera at the Theatre at Ace Hotel (929 South Broadway, Los Angeles CA, 90015):

  • Friday, February 22, 2019, at 8pm
  • Saturday, February 23, 2019, at 8pm

Tickets are on sale now. Tickets begin at $25 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 213.972.8001, or in person at LA Opera's box office at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012). For disability access, call 213.972.0777 or email

About LA Opera Off Grand
The West Coast premiere of "the loser" 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

About the Theatre at Ace Hotel
The recently restored Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles was unveiled in early 2014 in the historic United Artists building. An ornate, storied and vibrant Los Angeles gem originally built in 1927 for the maverick film studio, the UA theater and tower stand as monuments to a group of seminal American artists pushing out on their own. For more information about the theater, click here.

For additional information about this presentation, visit

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LA Opera Off Grand made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Additional support from a consortium of generous donors to LA Opera's Contemporary Opera Initiative, chaired by Barry and Nancy Sanders

Piano graciously provided by Yamaha, Official Piano of LA Opera

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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