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"Behind The Curtain" and other Podcasts

Learn about opera directly from the experts with our podcast
Behind the Curtain, a series of conversations with the artists and staff
of LA Opera.

Let the experts come to you! Our Opera Talks are also in your local library. CLICK HERE to learn more.

  • LA Opera: October 19, 2018

    Sean Panikkar, who plays the role of Gandhi in LA Opera’s production of "Satyagraha", takes us through a scene-by-scene description of the opera. "Satyagraha" focuses on the years Gandhi spent in South Africa from 1893 to 1914. The opera unfolds thematically rather than chronologically, depicting the development of Gandhi’s philosophy of satyagraha, and is sung in Sanskrit.
  • LA Opera: October 16, 2018

    Bass Morris Robinson, who takes on the role of Parsi Rustomji in LA Opera's upcoming production of “Satyagraha”, sits down with Classical KUSC's Brain Lauritzen. One of the most sought after basses performing today, Morris discusses his journey from playing college football to leaving a good corporate job for a career in opera.
  • LA Opera: October 11, 2018

    Recorded following the October 7, 2018 performance of 'Don Carlo", LA Opera Music Director James Conlon and Dr. Jeffery High, CSULB professor and renowned Friedrich Schiller expert, dive deeply into the connection between Schiller’s German play "Don Karlos", Verdi’s grand opera "Don Carlo", and the fascinating history which inspired them both.
  • LA Opera: October 02, 2018

    Composer David T. Little sits down with KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen for a conversation about his opera "Soldier Songs", which will be presented October 13 at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood as a part of the Off Grand series. They discuss the opera and the role that arts organizations can play in welcoming home veterans after active duty.
  • LA Opera: October 02, 2018

    Join Classical KUSC’s Brian Lauritzen in conversation with retired Major Nick Seidel, a childhood friend of composer David T. Little and one of the inspirations behind his opera "Soldier Songs".
  • LA Opera: September 25, 2018

    LA Opera's Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon delves deep into Verdi's "Don Carlo" during his pre-show talk prior to LA Opera's 2018/19 season opening performance on September 22, 2018.
  • LA Opera: September 11, 2018

    LA Opera's President and CEO Christopher Koelsch and Classical KUSC's Brian Lauritzen discuss the operas that comprise the 2018/19 season, both productions on the mainstage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and “Off-Grand” at venues such as the Theater at Ace Hotel and the Ford Theatre. Mr. Koelsch also talks about his vision for the Company, and how he and the team at LA Opera work to make opera accessible to as many people as possible.
  • LA Opera: September 04, 2018

    LA Opera's Resident Conductor Grant Gershon and Classical KUSC's Brian Lauritzen discuss the upcoming production of Philip Glass's "Satyagraha", which Gershon will conduct in October/November. The conversation begins with Gershon talking about his long history with LA Opera.
  • LA Opera: August 23, 2018

    Opera superstar Susan Graham and Classical KUSC's Brian Lauritzen discuss her role as LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist program's Artistic Adviser, as well as her own experiences as a young artist and some key moments from the beginning of her career.
  • LA Opera: August 07, 2018

    In May 2018, internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and current poet laureate of California, Dana Gioia, discussed one of his heroes, Walt Whitman, Whitman's great love of opera, and how that influenced his work.
  • LA Opera: July 24, 2018

    It's easier than you think to introduce kids to opera, they don't know they should be scared of it! Classical KUSC's Brian Lauritzen has a conversation about LA Opera's youth Opera Camp with composer/director Eli Villanueva; the Autry Museum's Director of Education and Visitor Engagement, Erik Greenberg; and LA Opera's Vice President for Education and Community Engagement, Stacy Brightman.
  • LA Opera: July 10, 2018

    This week in July 1966, "Candide" had its North American premiere in Los Angeles with the Center Theatre Group on campus at UCLA. In this "From the Vault" episode, LA Opera's Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon gives his pre-show talk on Bernstein's "Candide" prior to the January 27, 2018 performance.
  • LA Opera: June 26, 2018

    Duff Murphy, of Classical KUSC, gives his pre-show talk on Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers" prior to the October 7, 2017 performance. The ravishing score, an early treasure by the composer of "Carmen", features a rapturous duet for the two rivals that has become one of opera’s all-time greatest hits.
  • LA Opera: June 12, 2018

    James Conlon, LA Opera's Richard Seaver Music Director, gives his pre-show talk on Bizet's "Carmen" prior to the September 14, 2017 performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
  • LA Opera: May 29, 2018

    Mark Lamos, director of plays, musicals and opera, including LA Opera’s current production of “Rigoletto,” has a conversation with Classical KUSC's Brian Lauritzen.
  • LA Opera: May 22, 2018

    Matthew Aucoin (LA Opera's Artist In Residence) discusses his own composition, “Crossing”, with Classical KUSC's Brian Lauritzen. Inspired by poet Walt Whitman’s experiences tending to wounded soldiers during the Civil War, “Crossing” explores the connections that come between us and pull us apart. Performances of this LA Opera Off Grand production take place at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26, both at 8:00pm.
  • LA Opera: May 16, 2018

    An introduction to the story, music and characters of Verdi's "Rigoletto."
  • LA Opera: May 15, 2018

    LA Opera Resident Artist Matthew Aucoin gives his pre-show talk on "Rigoletto" opening night (May 12, 2018).
  • LA Opera: May 01, 2018

    Matthew Aucoin (LA Opera's Artist In Residence) discusses Verdi's cornerstone of opera repertoire, "Rigoletto" , with Classical KUSC's Brian Lauritzen.
  • LA Opera: April 17, 2018

    UCLA Professor of Musicology Mitchell Morris at Getty Villa on Sunday, March 11, 2018. Composers and artists of the 19th century embraced the iconic figure of Orpheus, portraying him as the passionate hero of symphonic poems and concerti, the ultimate poet as prophet, and the very model of the Romantic musician. This talk traces the continuing power of the myth in music by Beethoven, Liszt, and Scriabin, as well as in paintings created at the turn of the century.
  • LA Opera: April 03, 2018

    On Sunday, March 25, 2018 following the closing performance of Orpheus and Eurydice, Stephen Fry - English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, and film director — joined Maestro James Conlon in the Stern Grand Hall for a conversation about the Orpheus & Eurydice myth throughout literature and music.
  • LA Opera: March 22, 2018

    On March 9, 2018, Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera’s President and CEO, interviewed John Neumeier, acclaimed Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet as well as the Director, Choreographer and Designer of LA Opera’s Orpheus and Eurydice.
  • LA Opera: March 22, 2018

    On Monday, February 5, 2018 international opera star Renée Fleming, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, and LA Opera CEO and President Christopher Koelsch discussed the connections between music and the brain—and the very real possibility that music is part of the solution to intractable problems like chronic pain and cancer. Listen and learn about the role music and other arts can play in tackling the most difficult diseases and improving health and wellness. The USC Visions and Voices event was presented at the Bovard Auditorium as part of the Provost’s Series on Wicked Problems, which brings together special guests and USC faculty to discuss the most intractable, multifaceted problems of our time.
  • LA Opera: March 19, 2018

    Maestro Conlon gives his pre-show talk on Orpheus and Eurydice opening night March 10, 2018.
  • LA Opera: March 07, 2018

    LA Opera President and CEO Christopher Koelsch interviews Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon and "Candide" stage director Francesca Zambello prior to the "Opera Prep" final dress rehearsal for students on January 25, 2018.
  • LA Opera: March 06, 2018

  • LA Opera: February 07, 2018

  • LA Opera: November 02, 2017

  • LA Opera: April 22, 2017

  • LA Opera: March 25, 2017

  • LA Opera: February 18, 2017

  • LA Opera: September 27, 2016

  • LA Opera: May 05, 2016

  • LA Opera: October 28, 2015

  • LA Opera: February 26, 2015

    For his podcast for "The Barber of Seville," host Brian Lauritzen is joined by Elizabeth DeShong, making her LA Opera debut in the role of Rosina. The fast-rising mezzo-soprano speaks about Rossini's strong female characters and her lifelong dedication to singing.
  • LA Opera: February 05, 2015

    (Click the above link to listen to this special extended-length podcast!) In this edition of LA Opera Behind the Curtain, host Brian Lauritzen is joined by Music Director James Conlon to talk about Figaro Unbound and the Figaro Trilogy: John Corigliano's "The Ghosts of Versailles," Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" and Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro," all based on plays by Beaumarchais. They discuss how the three works relate to each other, how Beaumarchais straddles the line between aristocracy and activism against the aristocracy, and the playwright's little known involvement in the American Revolution.
  • LA Opera: November 20, 2014

    In this edition of the podcast, host Brian Lauritzen is joined by LA Opera Resident Conductor Grant Gershon who is leading the Company's performances of Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catan. They discuss what makes Catan's score so ravishing, how to manage "the bliss" on the podium, and how Catan's love for his characters shines through in his music.
  • LA Opera: October 14, 2014

    In this edition of the LA Opera Behind the Curtain podcast, host Brian Lauritzen is joined by conductor Stephen Sloane who is leading performances of the double bill of Purcell's Dido & Aeneas and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle. Tension and release in the dramas of Purcell and Bartok, plus the role of the conductor in what Sloane calls a "truly multimedia artform," are among the topics discussed in this engaging and entertaining conversation with Sloane, a native of Los Angeles now residing in Berlin.
  • LA Opera: September 03, 2014

    In this edition of the podcast, host Brian Lauritzen talks with Marta Domingo, the director and scenery/costume designer of our season opening production of Verdi's La Traviata. they talk about the beauty of Art Deco, the challenge of creating a new production of a very famous opera, and what it's like to direct her husband Placido Domingo.
  • LA Opera: May 12, 2014

    In this edition of the podcast, host Brian Lauritzen is joined by soprano Nino Machaidze who is singing the title role in Jules Massenet's Thaïs. They talk about what it's like to share a stage with the incomparable Placido Domingo, how she got her start in singing at the age of eight, and what it was like to sing while she was eight months pregnant.
  • LA Opera: March 12, 2014

    In this edition of the podcast, host Brian Lauritzen is joined by soprano Albina Shagimuratova and tenor Saimir Pirgu who are singing the roles of Lucia and Edgardo (March 15 through April 6 at LA Opera). They discuss developing chemistry onstage, the challenges of portraying the psychological turmoil of the opera and their unlikely journey to become opera singers.
  • LA Opera: February 10, 2014

    In this edition of LA Opera's Behind the Curtain podcast, Brian Lauritzen talks to Liam Bonner, who is performing the title role in Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd," a role debut for the baritone. They discuss how he prepares an operatic role for the first time, the musical and physical demands of the role of Billy, and what makes Britten a particularly great opera composer.
  • LA Opera: November 13, 2013

    In this edition of the Behind the Curtain podcast, host Brian Lauritzen is joined by LA Opera Music Director James Conlon who confesses an undying love for the music of Mozart. Mr. Conlon talks about that makes Mozart's music so special to him, what makes audiences identify with the different characters in "The Magic Flute" and how this production seems tailor-made for Los Angeles.
  • LA Opera: November 07, 2013

    In this edition of LA Opera Behind the Curtain, host Brian Lauritzen visits with Music Director James Conlon to discuss Giuseppe Verdi's final opera, "Falstaff" - his only successful comedy. It's a work that has been part of Mr. Conlon's personal life from the beginning of his career.
  • LA Opera: October 01, 2013

    As a special addition to the season, LA Opera presents a rare revival of the groundbreaking 1976 collaboration by Robert Wilson and Philip Glass. Universally hailed as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century, "Einstein on the Beach" breaks all rules of conventional opera. Brian Lauritzen hosts this special edition of "LA Opera: Behind The Curtain" featuring interviews with Philip Glass, Robert Wilson and Lucinda Childs.
  • LA Opera: September 09, 2013

    In this edition of LA Opera's Behind the Curtain podcast, host Brian Lauritzen talks with Patricia Bardon, the Irish mezzo-soprano singing the title role in our 2013/2014 season opening production of Bizet's "Carmen." They chat about the challenges of singing Carmen and what it's like for a mezzo to tackle the iconic role for the first time or the hundredth time.
  • LA Opera: May 22, 2013

    Brian Lauritzen is joined by "Tosca" director John Caird. Best known for his work in the theatre, Mr. Caird is best known for directing the original West End production of "Les Miserables" and an adaptation of Dickens' "Nicholas Nickleby" for the Royal Shakespeare Company. They talk about the difference between directing opera and directing for the stage, his vision for the new-to-Los Angeles production of "Tosca," and working with LA Opera General Director Placido Domingo.
  • LA Opera: April 03, 2013

    A song celebration of Benjamin Britten, featuring Members of LA Opera's Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program-Amanda Woodbury, Rebecca Nathanson, sopranos; Joshua Guerrero, tenor; Christopher Allen, Nino Sanikidze, piano. Originally presented as part of the Sundays Live series at LACMA.
  • LA Opera: March 20, 2013

    In this edition of LA Opera's Behind the Curtain podcast, Brian Lauritzen talks to mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey who is singing the role of Cinderella/Angelina in Rossini's Cinderella (La Cenerentola). Lindsey talks about the state of opera in America, the athleticism of singing Rossini and about what draws her to the stage.
  • LA Opera: March 05, 2013

    In this edition of the podcast, Brian Lauritzen goes behind the curtain with LA Opera Music Director James Conlon as we set sail with Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman. They discuss the recurring themes in Wagner's work - the outsider, the wanderer, redemptive love - as well as how Wagner viewed himself as a revolutionary.
  • LA Opera: February 20, 2013

    Brian Lauritzen sits down with LA Opera Music Director James Conlon to discuss the musical legacy of composer Benjamin Britten whose 100th Birthday Celebrations have begun in Los Angeles and around the world. Conlon talks about Britten's compositional fluency in all genres of classical music, the dichotomy of his conservative religious beliefs and liberal political views and the challenges Britten faced as a gay man living in an intolerant society.
  • LA Opera: November 14, 2012

    In this edition of the LA Opera Behind the Curtain Podcast, Brian Lauritzen is joined by LAO Resident Conductor Grant Gershon. They talk about Gershon's long history with LA Opera, why he thinks Puccini is underrated orchestrator, and dissect some of Gershon's favorite moments of Madame Butterfly.
  • LA Opera: September 17, 2012

    In this edition of the podcast, KUSC's Brian Lauritzen chats with bass-baritone Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, who's singing the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni.
  • LA Opera: September 11, 2012

    In this edition of the podcast, Brian Lauritzen talks with LA Opera Music Director James Conlon, who is conducting the 2012/13 Season opening run of Verdi's "The Two Foscari (I Due Foscari)," starring LAO General Director Placido Domingo. They discuss how this early opera foreshadows Verdi's later compositional style and how there's a little bit of Verdi's personal life in all of his art.
  • LA Opera: June 04, 2012

    KUSC's Brian Lauritzen chats with soprano Ailyn Pérez and tenor Stephen Costello, L.A.’s Mimi and Rodolfo, about how they balance their marriage and their opera careers, and how La Bohème brought them together.
  • LA Opera: April 19, 2012

    KUSC's Brian Lauritzen chats with Albert Herring director Paul Curran about the critical working relationship between the conductor and the director, and the challenge of communicating the subtleties of Britten's characters to a large audience.
  • LA Opera: April 18, 2012

    Music Director James Conlon reflects on three decades of collaborating with Plácido Domingo, why Boccanegra may be the greatest of Verdi’s mighty baritone roles, and the recurring theme of reconciliation that makes Simon Boccanegra so emotionally powerful.
  • LA Opera: November 06, 2011

    Brian Lauritzen interviews the stars of Roméo et Juliette. Tenor Vittorio Grigolo discusses the critical importance of preparation, luck and timing, and why the audience is always right, and soprano Nino Machaidze, who learned the role of Juliette for the Salzburg Festival in one month, explains why it's her ideal role.
  • LA Opera: September 18, 2011

    Music Director James Conlon discusses Mozart's ongoing examination of the battle of the sexes throughout his "Da Ponte" trilogy, why Beethoven was appalled by Così fan tutte, and the mischievous implications of the opera's setting in Naples.
  • LA Opera: September 17, 2011

    Music Director James Conlon discusses Tchaikovsky's place in the Russian operatic tradition, how he adapted one of Russia's greatest literary masterpieces for the operatic stage, and why Eugene Onegin is one of the few operatic tragedies that doesn't have a villain. "Tchaikovsky was profoundly aware that he was setting one of the great masterpieces of Russian literature, if not the greatest. The results are compelling...he pours out his heart through the human voice and the orchestra."