LA Opera's Figaro Unbound
to include World Premiere
Staging of ¡Figaro! 90210
A sharp new take on The Marriage of Figaro,
updated to present-day Los Angeles,
will be a highlight of Figaro Unbound,
a three-month celebration of the revolutionary spirit
(Los Angeles) November 10, 2014 — Plácido Domingo, General Director of LA Opera, has announced updated details about the company's upcoming Figaro Unbound celebration, which explores the lasting legacy of French playwright Pierre Beaumarchais and the influential protagonist of three of his stage comedies: Figaro, the wily barber from Seville. LA Opera’s programming of three operas based on the Figaro plays—The Barber of Seville by Rossini, The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart and the west coast premiere of The Ghosts of Versailles by John Corigliano, all conducted by LA Opera Music Director James Conlon—is the inspiration for Figaro Unbound, a three-month citywide celebration of the revolutionary spirit.
Figaro Unbound is LA Opera's third community collaboration in recent seasons, following Ring Festival LA, which accompanied the company's first presentation of Richard Wagner's epic Ring cycle in 2010, and Britten 100/LA, a celebration of composer Benjamin Britten's centenary in 2013. "LA Opera takes great pride in uniting our community around shared experiences," said Mr. Domingo, “and Figaro Unbound will showcase the richness of our city's cultural offerings.”
Along with the three mainstage operas in the Figaro Trilogy, LA Opera will present the world premiere staging of ¡Figaro! (90210), to be presented at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre from January 16 through 18. The debate over immigration reform takes center stage in this multi-cultural adaptation of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, which recasts the title character as an undocumented worker in a present-day Beverly Hills mansion. Presented under the company's Off Grand banner, dedicated to new and unusual repertoire presented in a wide range of venues, ¡Figaro! (90210) showcases Mozart’s score with an entirely new English (and Spanglish) libretto by Vid Guerrerio. Earlier New York concert presentations were hailed by The New York Times as “blasphemous, brilliant… realistically contemporary and timelessly comic.”
"I wrote ¡Figaro! (90210) as a great, big love letter to my adopted hometown of Los Angeles, and I could not be happier or more honored to have LA Opera present its world premiere production," said Mr. Guerrerio. "Since the first moment of inspiration, which came while walking Hollywood Boulevard with Mozart in my headphones, it has been my dream to bring ¡Figaro! (90210) to life in the amazing city that inspired it. I am looking forward to sharing this multi-cultural update of what many call 'the most perfect opera ever written’ with audiences as diverse as the characters it presents on stage." ¡Figaro! (90210) will be directed by Melissa Crespo, with costumes designed by Project Runway season 12 finalist Bradon McDonald. The cast includes José Adán Pérez as Figaro and Maria Elena Altany as Susana, with Craig Colclough and Greta Baldwin as their employers Paul and Roxanne Conti, and Orson Van Gay II as Bernard Curson.
Tickets for ¡Figaro! (90210) go on sale to the public at 10:00am on Thursday, November 13. Tickets cost $21 and $37 and can be purchased in person at the LA Opera Box Office (located at 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, 90012), online at LAOpera.org or by calling 213.972.8001. Performances will take place at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre (4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, 90027). For disability access, please call 213.972.0777 or email LAOpera@LAOpera.org. To learn more about ¡Figaro! (90210), including casting and ticket information, please visit LAOpera.org/Figaro90210.
About the Figaro Trilogy and Figaro Unbound
Throughout the second half of its 2014/15 season, LA Opera will follow the adventures of a history-making rascal named Figaro. This character, beloved by generations of opera fans, first delighted audiences as the hero of a series of late 18th-century French stage comedies. Pierre Beaumarchais' trilogy of Figaro plays—The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro and The Guilty Mother—captured staggering changes in social attitudes. In these plays, Figaro expressed daring new ideas about equality and liberty, boldly challenging the status quo with a sharp critique of the era in which he lived.
LA Opera's unusual programming of three Figaro operas within the span of three months—the familiar adaptations by Rossini and Mozart, as well as The Ghosts of Versailles, which incorporates the major plot elements of The Guilty Mother—gives audiences the opportunity to complete Figaro Trilogy told in operatic form.
"LA Opera's musical flexibility in presenting these very different works marks an impressive artistic legacy," said Mr. Conlon. "In conjunction with this trilogy, the diverse Figaro Unbound programming will help us celebrate the lasting legacy of Beaumarchais and his beloved characters."
Figaro Unbound events
Program highlights include performances of two of the three Figaro plays. On February 13 and 14, LA Theatre Works will present a “radio theater-style” performance of the third and least-known of the plays, The Guilty Mother at UCLA's James Bridges Theater. Presented in partnership with LA Opera, the production will be directed by Michael Hackett. From March 1 through May 10, A Noise Within, the Pasadena-based theater company dedicated to classic works, will present the west coast premiere of Figaro, a fresh and playful new version of The Marriage of Figaro freely adapted by Charles Morey.
The Opera League of Los Angeles will present a January 18 seminar with James Conlon, who will speak on the historical importance of the original plays on the operatic world. The Hammer Museum will host a February 1 presentation, “Conjuring The Ghosts of Versailles,” which will reunite composer John Corigliano and librettist William M. Hoffman to discuss their 1991 opera, in a conversation led by LAO President and CEO Christopher Koelsch.
In addition to ¡Figaro! (90210), music lovers will enjoy several alternate musical adaptations of Figaro’s story. From February 13 through 22, Opera UCLA will present the west coast premiere of Saverio Mercadante’s 1826 comedy The Two Figaros (I Due Figaro), based on an unauthorized sequel to the Beaumarchais plays. On March 21, LA Opera’s Zarzuela Project, joined by the Mariachi Conservatory and Mariachi Voz de America, will present two free outdoor concerts at Olvera Street’s Plaza Kiosko entitled “The Barbers of Zarzuela.” The concerts will feature selections from the classic zarzuelas El barbero de Seville and El barberillo de Lavapiés, whose clever hero is clearly inspired by Figaro. A March 22 Sundays Live! recital at LACMA will feature members of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program performing music inspired by Beaumarchais.
Numerous opportunities abound to delve into the fascinating historical world of Revolution-era France. From February 7 through July 4, FIDM Museum will present an exhibition of 18th-century garments and accessories. The Huntington Library will present a February 4 seminar exploring the concept of “coverture,” which held that women had no legal identity. The Getty Center will host a January 24 day of activities with presentations on 18th-century French culture, a guided tour and a recital of music. In February, ArcLight Cinemas will present a series of classic films that capture the events of the French Revolution and its turbulent aftermath. A number of additional museums will showcase art from the period, including the Norton Simon Museum, LACMA and MOCA.
For an updated list of Figaro Unbound events and details, please visit LAOpera.org/FigaroUnbound.
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