LA Opera returns to in-person performances with Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex on June 6


Presented free of charge with strict safety protocols, this will mark the company's first indoor performance in over a year

(Los Angeles) May 10, 2021 — LA Opera will present the company premiere of Igor Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex at 2pm on Sunday, June 6, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. A special video presentation of the opera will subsequently stream on LA Opera's On Now digital platform, also free of charge, beginning June 17.

Conducted by Music Director James Conlon and starring tenor Russell Thomas, the company's Artist in Residence, the concert performance marks LA Opera's first public, in-person performance—and the first indoor performance at The Music Center—since March 8, 2020. Strict safety precautions will be in effect for everyone in attendance. The socially distanced presentation features projected animations created by Manual Cinema, an Emmy Award-winning performance collective, design studio and film/video production company. Grant Gershon is the chorus director. Matthew Diamond is the director of the streaming presentation of Oedipus Rex.

"The energy and excitement at rehearsals is palpable," said Christopher Koelsch. "Everyone at the company—from the performers who have been largely silenced by this pandemic to the backstage staff—is elated at the prospect of performing before a live audience inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion once again, especially given their extraordinary support during the shutdown.”

"I am overjoyed to be reunited with the orchestra and chorus and all of my colleagues at LA Opera, celebrating our reemergence after more than a year," said James Conlon. "Making music and theater is our collective life's passion, and we return with this unique masterpiece of the early 20th century. This 'opera-oratorio,' as Stravinsky called it, is a unique creation that broke tradition nearly a century ago, and its freshness and vitality remain undiminished today."


While tickets are free, a strict protocol for entry has been created using the LA County Department of Public Health's current restrictions for live events. To attend Oedipus Rex, audience members must either be able to prove that they were fully vaccinated for COVID-19 at least two weeks before the performance (i.e., on or before May 22) or show proof of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the performance. Fully vaccinated audience members will be seated in the orchestra section of the theater; those with negative test results will be assigned socially distant seating in Founders Circle. (Vaccinated audience members may choose to be seated in the more socially distant Founders Circle.) 

All audience members must show photo ID along with proof of vaccine or negative test result at the door to enter. Masks must be worn at all times while inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The running time is approximately 50 minutes, with no intermission.

Admission is free, but ticketing is extremely limited. Tickets will be released on a rolling basis, available at first to those who were most affected by previous LA Opera cancelations. LA Opera is also inviting healthcare workers and first responders to attend, through the company's Connects community engagement programs. Any remaining tickets will be released at a later date. Prospective audience members who meet the requirements for attendance and who wish to reserve tickets should be sure to follow LA Opera on social channels and to sign up at to receive email updates regarding ticket availability.

In addition to implementing enhanced cleaning procedures and other expanded safety measures, The Music Center received a UL “healthy building” verification for its venues’ air quality in March 2021, becoming the first performing arts organization in the country to receive that designation. New air filters were recently installed throughout the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The building is fitted with high-quality air, ventilation and filtration systems that provide a complete change of air inside the theater four to six times per hour, as recommended by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. 

For more information about the performance and entry requirements, please visit

The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is located at 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA, 90012.


Stravinsky based his work on the ancient Greek tragedy of the same name by Sophocles. The opera depicts a series of revelations that show that Oedipus, king of Thebes, has unknowingly killed his own father and married his mother, Jocasta. Horrified by the knowledge, Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus blinds himself with the pins from her dress.

Created during Stravinsky's "neoclassical period," Oedipus Rex is a highly stylized, ritualistic work that premiered in Paris in 1927. The composer described it as an "opera-oratorio" and requested that it be staged with minimal movement. A narrator describes the action throughout the course of the opera. Stravinsky set his work in Latin but specified that the narration is to be spoken in the language of the audience.


Tenor Russell Thomas, LA Opera's Artist in Residence, stars as Oedipus, his fourth leading role with the company. Mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges, who has performed leading roles in recent productions of Akhnaten and Satyagraha, portrays Jocasta.

The cast also includes bass John Relyea as both Creon and the Messenger, bass Morris Robinson as Tiresias and tenor Robert Stahley as the Shepherd. (Update, May 19, 2019: Stephen Fry will appear as the Narrator.)


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, given the extraordinary challenges of the time. As LA Opera awaits its cue to return to the stage with world-class productions in theaters, the company is offering a multitude of content including live recitals, opera broadcasts and learning opportunities via its LA Opera On Now digital offerings, which have accumulated more than 900,000 views since launching last spring. 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 wanting to support LA Opera can visit


Vanessa Flores Waite
Director of Communications 

LA Opera's production of Oedipus Rex and the performance of the LA Opera Orchestra are made possible with generous support from Terri and Jerry M. Kohl.

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