Renée Fleming and Rod Gilfry perform the celebrated song cycle by Kevin Puts, along with a selection of Broadway classics
(Los Angeles) May 18, 2022 — LA Opera's 2021/22 season will come to a close on Saturday, June 18, with a 7:30pm concert featuring soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry, with Gemma New conducting the LA Opera Orchestra.
The centerpiece of the concert is The Brightness of Light, a large-scale orchestral song cycle by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts, with a libretto drawn from the letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz.
The concert will also include songs and duets from beloved Broadway musicals along with selections from André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire, which starred Fleming and Gilfry in its 1998 world premiere at San Francisco Opera.
About The Brightness of Light
The Brightness of Light, a series of songs for soprano, baritone and full orchestra by composer Kevin Puts, chronicles the romance of iconic artist Georgia O’Keeffe and her mentor-turned-husband Alfred Stieglitz. In 2015, Puts was commissioned to compose a piece that would feature Renée Fleming. "We wanted to focus on an iconic American woman as the subject," he wrote, "and I happened on a quote by Georgia O’Keeffe: 'My first memory is of the brightness of light, light all around.' I could imagine this line sung right at the start."
The first incarnation of the piece, Letters from Georgia, with text taken from O'Keeffe's letters to Stieglitz, was premiered by Ms. Fleming and the Eastman Philharmonia at Alice Tully Hall in 2016. At Fleming's suggestion, Puts expanded the work to include an equal part for a baritone soloist, with texts from Stieglitz's letters to O'Keeffe. In 2019, Fleming and Gilfry premiered the new incarnation of the piece, The Brightness of Light, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The Brightness of Light features projections created specifically for the piece by designer Wendall K. Harrington, acting as a visual compliment to the artists' lifelong relationship and the artwork that came from it.
Tickets, Address and Info
Tickets begin at $29 and are on sale now. The performance takes place at 7:30pm on June 18 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, located at 135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012. Vaccination is required for entrance and masks are required indoors; please see additional information below.
Tickets can be purchased online at LAOpera.org, 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 LAOpera@LAOpera.org.
More information is available at LAOpera.org/Brightness.
About Kevin Puts
Winner of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his debut opera Silent Night, Kevin Puts’ works have been commissioned, performed, and recorded by leading ensembles, and soloists throughout the world, including the New York Philharmonic, Zurich's Tonhalle Orchester, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Miro Quartet, and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Colorado, Houston, Fort Worth, St. Louis, and Minnesota. His latest operatic work, an adaptation of Michael Cunningham's The Hours, has been co-commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera and is slated to premiere at the Met in November 2022, starring Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato and Kelli O'Hara. His recent orchestral work The City was co-commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in honor of its 100th anniversary and by Carnegie Hall in honor of its 125th anniversary.
Meet the Performers
Soprano Renée Fleming's many LA Opera appearances include Violetta in La Traviata (2006), Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire (2014) and Margaret Johnson in The Light in the Piazza (2019). One of the most highly-acclaimed singers of our time, she performs in the world’s greatest opera houses and concert halls. In 2013, President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest honor for an individual artist. She is LA Opera's Advisor for Special Projects as well as Artistic Advisor-at-Large for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Creative Consultant for Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Baritone Rod Gilfry's long association with LA Opera began with his appearance in the 1986 inaugural production of Otello. His 32 roles with the company include the title roles of Billy Budd, The Barber of Seville and Don Giovanni and, most recently, Eurydice's Father in the 2020 world premiere of Eurydice. The two-time Grammy nominee, singer and actor has performed in all the world's music capitals and appears on over 30 recordings.
Making her LA Opera debut with The Brightness of Light, New Zealand-born conductor Gemma New is the Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Her 2021/22 season includes appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Baltimore Symphony, St. Louis Symphony and Atlanta Symphony, as well as debuts with the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Orchestre National d'Île de France.
In order to be considered fully vaccinated, patrons must confirm that either 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose of FDA or WHO authorized double-dose vaccines or that 14 days have passed since receiving the sole dose of FDA or WHO authorized single-dose vaccines. Audience members may display proof of vaccine on a smartphone or by showing a physical copy of their vaccination card or official vaccination record, along with a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. Guests younger than 18 may present a school photo ID. Those under 12 must be accompanied by an adult who meets the listed requirements.
Children under 12 and those who are unvaccinated due to a medical or religious reason must provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours prior to attending, along with government issued ID. Rapid or antigen tests will not be accepted.
Masks are required at all times for all patrons and visitors regardless of vaccination status in all indoor spaces at LA Opera, except while eating and drinking in designated areas.
More information is available here.
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 At Home digital offerings, which launched in March 2020. Learn more at LAOpera.org.
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