Verdi's searing drama opens the 2021/22 season, conducted by Music Director James Conlon, with a new set built in just 10 days

(Los Angeles) August 26, 2021 — LA Opera opens its 2021/22 season on September 18, 2021, with Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore, marking its official return to fully staged productions for in-person audiences for the first time since March 8, 2020. A new vaccination policy, along with a new, state-of-the-art air filtration system and enhanced cleaning protocols, will ensure the best and safest possible experience for audiences, artists and staff, the company's top priority.

In addition to in-person performances, LA Opera will livestream two performances (October 3 and 6) of Il Trovatore for viewers worldwide to access from the comfort of their homes via the company's On Now digital platform.

For a moment, it seemed as though a fully-staged production might be in jeopardy, when the company learned that the scenery for Il Trovatore, arriving from Monaco by ship, was stranded on the Pacific Ocean, unable to dock due to COVID-related delays. LA Opera officials conferred with the design and creative team in Europe and, within hours, formulated a plan to build a replica of the set on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage. A team of approximately 45 stage crew and scenic artists are now working 14-hour days to complete and paint the new set pieces, as well as create pyrotechnic elements and lighting structures, in time for the stage rehearsals to take place as originally scheduled. The build is expected to take 10 days. 

“We are fortunate to have an incredible staff and crew,” said Christopher Koelsch. “Building an elaborate set from scratch that will satisfy the discerning tastes of modern-day audiences in just 10 days is a Herculean task. Thankfully, our team is up to it.”

While the offstage drama centers largely around the challenges of COVID, the on-stage drama centers around dangerous passions, fatal mistakes and terrible secrets that leave two families filled with a bitter thirst for revenge. To make matters worse, a pair of mortal enemies—unaware that they are brothers—unwittingly fall in love with the same woman, unleashing a firestorm of fatal reckoning. Not presented by LA Opera since 2004, the searing drama is one of the most popular operas in the entire repertory, especially famed for the widely-known Anvil Chorus.   

The opera features a world-class cast led by Chinese soprano Guanqun Yu as Leonora and tenors Limmie Pulliam and Gregory Kunde sharing the role of Manrico.

World-renowned Verdi master James Conlon will conduct six performances of Il Trovatore from September 18 through October 10, 2021, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Meet the Cast
The cast of Il Trovatore includes some of LA Opera's favorite performers as well as some significant debut artists. The leading role of Manrico will be shared by two tenors who are both making their debut appearances with the company. 

Limmie Pulliam is a rising tenor who specializes in the most challenging dramatic repertoire. His LA Opera debut is a major career breakthrough, following recent engagements covering the title role of Otello for both Washington National Opera and the Canadian Opera Company. He will perform the role of Manrico in the first four performances of Il Trovatore, from September 18 through October 3.

Gregory Kunde, who performs the role of Manrico on October 6 and 10, was recognized as "Male Singer of the Year" at the 2016 International Opera Awards. His appearances for the 2021/22 season include the leading tenor roles of Otello and Les Troyens in Munich and Turandot in Hamburg.

Chinese soprano Guanqun Yu returns as Leonora after her 2019 LA Opera appearance as Vitellia in The Clemency of Titus. Leonora was also the role in which she made her 2012 Metropolitan Opera debut, the first of five leading roles she has performed there. Her previous company performances include the Countess in both The Marriage of Figaro and The Ghosts of Versailles during LA Opera's Figaro Unbound festival in 2015.

Mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis, who sings the role of Azucena, performed the role of Sara in Roberto Devereux in LA Opera's final public performance before pandemic cancellations began. She also created the role of Big Stone in the company's 2020 world premiere of Eurydice. She is the producer and star of Brown Sounds, a Digital Short that premiered on the LA Opera On Now digital platform and subsequently won awards at film festivals around the globe.

Baritone Vladimir Stoyanov, who makes his LA Opera debut as Count di Luna, performs leading roles in all of the world's major opera houses. Earlier this month, he performed the title role of Rigoletto at the Bregenz Festival and he will return to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden later in the season as Germont in La Traviata.

Bass Morris Robinson returns as Ferrando, his tenth LA Opera role to date, including Tiresias in Oedipus Rex, Osmin in The Abduction from the Seraglio and Sarastro in The Magic Flute. He will return to LA Opera later this season as Hermann in Tannhäuser and Ramfis in Aida.

The cast also includes two members of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, soprano Tiffany Townsend as Ines and tenor Anthony Ciaramitaro as Ruiz, as well as tenor Orson Van Gay II, who sings the role of the Messenger.

The Creative Team
Il Trovatore is the 63rd opera conducted by James Conlon at LA Opera, where he has now conducted more than 400 performances. The production is staged by Barcelona-based director Francisco Negrín, who made his acclaimed company debut in 2001 with Giulio Cesare. The sets and costumes are designed by Louis Désiré and the lighting is designed by Bruno Poet. Grant Gershon is the chorus director and Andrew Kenneth Moss is the fight director.

Click here to download production photos.

Performance Dates and Times
There will be six performances of Il Trovatore at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, located at 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012:

  • Saturday, September 18, 2021, at 6pm
  • Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at 7:30pm
  • Saturday, September 25, 2021, at 7:30pm
  • Sunday, October 3, 2021, at 2pm*
  • Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at 7:30pm
  • Sunday, October 10, 2021, at 2pm*

* performance will be livestreamed

Tickets for Il Trovatore at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion begin at $19 and are on sale now. Vaccination is required for entrance; please see additional information below. Digital tickets to watch the livestreamed performances of Il Trovatore on either October 3 at 2pm or October 6 at 7:30pm can be purchased for $30. 

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 is available at

Vaccination Policy
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 will be 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. 

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 that preserves foundational works while making them feel fresh and compelling. The communal and curative power of opera is needed now more than ever before, given the extraordinary challenges of the time.

As LA Opera returns to the stage with world-class productions in theaters, the company continues to offer a wide range of digital content via its LA Opera On Now platform, which has accumulated more than 920,000 views since launching in the spring of 2020. The company is grateful to its supporters for helping to ensure that it has the resources needed to get through this unprecedented period. Those wanting to support LA Opera can visit



Vanessa Flores Waite
Director of Communications 

Production made possible with generous support from Tarasenka Pankiv Fund (Tara Colburn); Alfred and Claude Mann Fund; Jane and Peter Hemmings Production Fund, a gift from the Flora L. Thornton Trust; and The Blue Ribbon.

Special additional support from The Orden Family in memory of their beloved patriarch and matriarch, Ted and Hedy; and Raffaella and John Belanich for James Conlon's conducting.

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