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30th Anniversary Season

Premiere of Anatomy THeater

"No singers were harmed in the creation of this opera,"
promise creators David Lang and Mark Dion

(Los Angeles) May 2, 2016 (updated June 16, 2016) — LA Opera's 30th Anniversary Season will conclude with the world premiere of anatomy theater, opening on June 16. Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning and Academy Award-nominated composer David Lang, who co-wrote the libretto with Mark Dion, the new work is presented at REDCAT (631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012) as part of the LA Opera Off Grand series. The presentation is part of a multi-season collaboration between LA Opera and Beth Morrison Projects to present cutting-edge contemporary works. Due to ticket demand, the run has been extended through June 20. (See below for performance dates and times.)

About the Opera
anatomy theater conjures a time when self-proclaimed "specialists” conducted public dissections of the corpses of executed criminals, seeking evidence of moral corruption in the interior of the human body. Based almost entirely on authentic found texts from the period, the opera follows the progression of an 18th-century English murderess from confession to execution to public dissection. Through the miracle of opera, she sings through it all. It explores the thin line between moralistic cruelty and dispassionate scientific inquiry.

It is, to be sure, a gruesome subject. It is also an immersive experience—audiences will serve as the spectators in the dissection theater. With nudity and plenty of blood, anatomy theater is not for the squeamish and definitely not for children. "Our piece is full of terrifying things," noted Mr. Dion and Mr. Lang. "Anatomy Theater is an opera of villains. There are no lovers, no peacemakers, no heroes in shining armor coming to the rescue. All the characters in our opera are dangerous."

The Creators
Composer and co-librettist David Lang received the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his piece the little match girl passion, commissioned by Carnegie Hall. His work is performed by major music, dance, opera and theatrical organizations throughout the world. Recent works include the concerto man made for the ensemble So Percussion and a consortium of orchestras, including the BBC Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and mountain for the Cincinnati Symphony. He composed the music for Paolo Sorrentino's film Youth, for which he received Academy Award, Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations.

Co-librettist and set designer Mark Dion is a world-renowned visual artist who works on a wide range of scales, from architecture projects to print projects in newspaper. Recent large-scale public projects include "The Amateur Ornithologist Clubhouse," constructed in a vast gas tank in Essen, Germany; "The Hanging Garden," a fire escape-like vertical garden in London; and "Den," a large-scale folly in Norway's mountainous landscape featuring a massive sculpture of a sleeping bear. He has had major exhibitions at the Miami Art Museum, New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Gallery in London and the British Museum of Natural History in London.

The Cast
Mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell, whose many LAO appearances include La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi earlier this season, returns as murderess Sarah Osborne. Baritone Marc Kudisch, a Broadway star who made his 2004 company debut as Count Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music, returns as Joshua Crouch, the caretaker of the dissection theater. Bass-baritone Robert Osborne performs the role of anatomist Baron Peel and tenor Timur portrays his assistant Ambrose Strang.

The Creative Team
The production is directed by Bob McGrath, the Obie-winning co-founder of Ridge Theater. The music director is Christopher Rountree, who will conduct wild Up, the path breaking L.A.-based chamber ensemble of which he is the founder, conductor and creative director.

The production features video design by Bill Morrison and projection design by Laurie Olinder. The lighting designer is Christopher Kuhl. The set is designed by co-librettist Mark Dion, with costumes by Alixandra Gage Englund and sound design by Garth MacAleavey.

For artist bios and additional information, visit LAOpera.org/Anatomy

Performance Dates and Times
There will be five performances of anatomy theater presented at REDCAT:
•    Thursday, June 16, 2016, at 8pm (world premiere)
•    Friday, June 17, 2016, at 8pm
•    Saturday, June 18, 2016, at 8pm
•    Sunday, June 19, 2016, at 2pm
•    Monday, June 20, 2016, at 8pm (newly added; best ticket availability)

After the final performance, audience members are invited to attend the official closing night party sponsored by Time Out Los Angeles.

Advance Tickets
Tickets are on sale now. Tickets cost $69 and can be purchased in person at the LA Opera Box Office at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, by phone at 213.972.8001 or online at LAOpera.org. For disability access, call 213.972.0777 or email LAOpera@LAOpera.org

About Beth Morrison Projects
anatomy theater is the third new work presented as part of LA Opera's multi-season partnership with Beth Morrison Projects. This collaboration, which supports today’s most creative talents working in the fields of opera and music-theater, will continue next season with the Wikileaks drama The Source  in October 2016, followed in June 2017 by Thumbprint, the inspirational story of Pakastani women's rights activist Mukhtar Mai who, after suffering an honor crime, brought her attackers to justice, then founded schools for young girls so that they would never know the shame of signing their names with their thumbprints.

To date, Beth Morrison Projects has commissioned, developed and produced more than 40 premiere opera and music-theater works that have been presented around the globe. Opera News  recently hailed BMP for "breaking out as a national brand poised to place cutting-edge opera center stage.” For more information, visit BethMorrisonProjects.org.

REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) is a contemporary arts center for innovative visual, performing and media arts located inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. REDCAT has its own street entrance at 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012, at the northeast corner of the intersection of West 2nd and Hope Streets. For more information about REDCAT, please click here.

To download production and artist photographs for anatomy theater, click here.

LA Opera's presentation of anatomy theater is made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts and from donors to LA Opera's Contemporary Opera Initiative.

Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, Ridge Theater, Justus and Helen Schlichting, Linda and Stuart Nelson, Paul King, and Marla Mayer and Chris Ahearn. Additional commissioning support provided by BRIC, Nancy and Barry Sanders and Miles and Joni Benickes. anatomy theater is funded, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts – Art Works, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.  Additional funding was provided by the Multi-Arts Production Fund (MAP), the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts and New Music USA.

LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community.

LA Opera Media Contact:
Fran Rizzi, Director of Public Relations
frizzi@laopera.org | 213.972.7554


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