Presented in collaboration with BroadStage, Huang Ruo's sonically rich and visually arresting piece is the latest in LA Opera's multi-season partnership with Beth Morrison Projects

(Los Angeles) March 11, 2024 — LA Opera will present the West Coast premiere of Book of Mountains and Seas, with performances from April 10 through 14 at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

With a score and libretto by Huang Ruo, "one of the world's leading young composers" (New Yorker), the production is directed and designed by Basil Twist, who "has broken new ground for musical puppetry with his imaginative, poetic designs" (New York Times). This very 21st-century piece is inspired by the ancient Chinese compilation of early myths of the same name, first transcribed in the fourth century BC. It will be performed by 12 vocalists from Ars Nova Copenhagen, two percussionists and a team of gifted puppeteers. The conductor is Miles Lallemant.

The myths in the Book of Mountains and Seas are part of Chinese written and oral history, shifted and shaped to fit contemporary times. In four musical and visual tableaux, Ruo and Twist adapt the myths through the lens of our modern-day relationship with the natural world, with the creation stories conjuring respect and awe for the environment, and the water stories challenging us to be good stewards of the resources we have been given.

Book of Mountains and Seas premiered to critical acclaim at the Royal Danish Theater in 2021. The U.S. premiere was a co-presentation between Beth Morrison Projects and St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York City in 2022.

The Creators
Book of Mountains and Seas brings together two visionary artists at high points in their careers. Composer and librettist Huang Ruo's musical voice draws equal inspiration from Chinese ancient and folk music, Western avant-garde, experimental, noise, natural and processed sound, rock, and jazz to create a seamless, organic integration using a compositional technique he calls “dimensionalism.” His diverse compositional works span from orchestra, chamber music, opera, theater, and dance, to cross-genre, sound installation, architectural installation, multi-media, experimental improvisation, folk rock, and film. His opera An American Soldier, performed at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis in 2018, was named one of the year's best classical music events by The New York Times.

A third-generation puppeteer, Basil Twist has created over 20 original full-length works for the stage. Highlights include Petrushka, The Rite of Spring (Lincoln Center), Dogugaeshi (Barbican, Paris, Charleveille-Mezieres), Behind the Lid (New York) and Arias with a Twist (Paris, Stockholm). His work in opera includes Respighi’s La bella dormente nel bosco (Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto) and Hansel and Gretel (Houston, Atlanta, Detroit). His honors include Obie, Henry Hewes and Doris Duke awards, multiple UNIMA and Bessie awards, a Guggenheim fellowship, a MacArthur Fellowship and the Rome Prize. He directs the Dream Music Puppetry Program at HERE in New York.

Book of Mountains and Seas is produced as part of LA Opera's multi-season partnership with Beth Morrison Projects, hailed as a "contemporary opera mastermind" (Los Angeles Times). The collaboration launched in 2015 with the West Coast premiere of Dog Days by David T. Little and Royce Vavrek. Recent presentations include the 2023 West Coast premiere of TRADE/Mary Motorhead by Emma O’Halloran and Mark O’Halloran, the 2022 world premiere of In Our Daughter's Eyes by Du Yun and Michael Joseph McQuilken, and the 2018 world premiere of prism by Ellen Reid and Roxie Perkins, which won a Pulitzer Prize the following year.

Performance Dates, Times and Address
There will be four performances of Book of Mountains and Seas presented at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center (1310 11th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401). 90012:

  • Wednesday, April 10, 2024, at 8pm
  • Friday, April 12, 2024, at 8pm
  • Saturday, April 13 , 2024, at 8pm
  • Sunday, April 14, 2024, at 2pm

Tickets begin at $39 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 213.972.8001, or in person at the LA Opera box office at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012). For disability access, call 213.972.0777 or email

More information about the production is available at

Click here to download production photos.

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 performances 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 LA Opera Off Grand initiative, featuring performances in a variety of venues throughout Los Angeles. The LA Opera Connects initiative offers a robust variety of educational programming and community engagement offerings that reaches people throughout every corner of Los Angeles County. The company also offers a multitude of online content via its LA Opera On Now digital offerings, which launched in 2020. Learn more at

LA Opera Media Contact
Marlene Meraz
Director of Communications

Off Grand productions are supported by a consortium of generous donors to 
LA Opera’s Contemporary Opera Initiative, chaired by Barry and Nancy Sanders 

LA Opera is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community.