Show artwork for Oedipus Rex

Oedipus Rex Oedipus Rex

Composed by Igor Stravinsky

Conducted by James Conlon

Company premiere, concert performance

At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

A major milestone: LA Opera's first public performance in over a year.

Stravinsky based Oedipus Rex on the ancient Greek tragedy of the same name by Sophoclesyes, the one where Oedipus unknowingly kills his own father and marries his mother. The 1927 opera is a highly stylized, ritualistic work; in fact, the composer specifically requested that it be staged with minimal movement (which works well with COVID restrictions). 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. The performance features incredibly imaginative projected animations created by Manual Cinema, an Emmy Award-winning performance collective, design studio and film/video production company.

Music Director James Conlon conducts a stellar cast led by tenor Russell Thomas, LA Opera's Artist in Residence, as Oedipus, the doomed king. Mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges returns as Jocasta, his queen (and mother).  Legendary actor Stephen Fry makes his LA Opera debut (via audio recording) as the Narrator in this equally-legendary tale.

Click here to read the digital program.

We couldn’t be more excited to safely resume indoor live performances with state-of-the-art air systems and new protocols in accordance with the guidelines put in place by the LA County Department of Healthall with the safety of our audience, artists and staff as our top priority. We are able, at long last, to invite audiences to attend a concert performance of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex (for free!) on June 6 at 2pm.

For Safety Protocols related to this performance please click here.

If you aren't able to attend the live performance, don't fret. We will release a special online version of Oedipus Rex on June 17 for home viewing. 



Russell Thomas
J'Nai Bridges
Creon / Messenger
John Relyea
Morris Robinson
Robert Stahley
The Narrator
Stephen Fry

Creative Team

James Conlon
Chorus Director
Grant Gershon
Manual Cinema
Azra King-Abadi
Director: Stream Presentation
Matthew Diamond

Read the synopsis

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A speaker appears, to narrate each episode of the story before it happens. He warns us we will watch Oedipus falling into a trap waiting for him since his birth.

The city of Thebes is afflicted by plague. In despair, the inhabitants turn to their king, Oedipus, who promises help. His ambitious brother-in-law, Creon, has learned from the oracle that the plague has been sent because the murderer of the previous king, Laius, is still living in the city.

Oedipus vows to find this man. He consults with the blind Tiresias who unwillingly tells him: "The murderer of the king is a king." Jocasta, the widow of Laius and now the wife of Oedipus, tells her husband that Laius met his death 12 years before at a crossroads. Oedipus realizes he himself is the murderer.

News arrives of the death of Oedipus’s supposed father, Polybus, and the king discovers that he was adopted after being found abandoned as a baby on Mount Cithaeron. Hearing this, Jocasta realizes that Oedipus, her husband and the murderer of her former husband, is their long-lost son.

Jocasta kills herself and Oedipus, taking her pin of gold, puts out his own eyes. Blinded, he reappears once more in front of the citizens, before turning away and leaving Thebes forever.
—Boosey & Hawkes

The running time is approximately 50 minutes, with no intermission.

Oedipus Rex is sung in Latin (with English subtitles) with spoken narration in English.

Click here to read the digital program.

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.

Please note: In the event that capacity restrictions from LA County are revised or updated, LA Opera reserves the right to relocate or cancel tickets issued to customers based upon purchase date. If your tickets are cancelled or your seats are relocated for any reason you will be notified by Customer Service prior to the performance date.


Artwork for Oedipus Rex
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