Monthly Archives: December 2015
It has been a milestone season at LA Opera. During the latter half of our 29th season, we presented some of the most engaging and successful productions in the company’s history: a masterful west coast premiere of The Ghosts of Versailles, an engaging cinematic cross-over opera, Hercules vs. Vampires, and an epic avant-garde opera in Dog Days. Our 30th Anniversary Season has started off with a bang. Plácido Domingo’s 147th role debut as the title character in Gianni Schicchi, double-billed with Pagliacci, a contemporary classic, Moby-Dick, a sold-out run of Song from the Uproar, and a beloved bel canto masterpiece, Norma have all wowed Los Angeles audiences since September. Throughout the year, we’ve also had continued success with various initiatives that promote the arts in the greater Los Angeles Community, including our Cathedral Project and Opera Camp.
Below we’ve gathered a few articles and videos we’ve created throughout the year and additional photos are featured in our 2015: A Year in Review Pinterest gallery.
Take a sneak peek behind-the-scenes at The Ghosts of Versailles set and costumes as well as a preview from the show.
We are in the midst of our 30th Anniversary Season. This is a milestone year for a company that has grown to become the fourth largest opera company in the nation, lauded for both its unique artistic vision and innovation. Earlier this year, we introduced our #LAO30Images series. This year-long photo series, showcases photos from our most engaging productions that portray our extensive visual history. Throughout the season, we’ve been sharing images in batches of 30, based on larger themes.
In case you’ve missed the #LAO30Images fun, check out our year-end roundup.
“The theme [of Otello] is eternal and current: The Soldier, shoved into peacetime, proves to be defenseless and helpless in the face of the attacks of everyday life, the persecutions of injured vanity. In ancient tragedy, the heroes fell because of the gods. With Shakespeare and Verdi, it is the envy of men which destroys the outsider.” – Götz Friedrich, director of inaugural season opener, Otello.
“All the characters in the opera are obsessed, often to the brink of madness. Obsessions make men blind, unable to understand other points of view or to admit the balancing power of reason. And such obsessions finally lead to violence [in Salome]. Salome’s passions lead directly to her death. She is crushed like an infectious insect. We can only approve of her end, while perhaps reflecting that all of us have the possibility of aberrant sexual behavior inside us. It is the obverse of true passion.” – Sir Peter Hall, director of 1986’s Salome
“All art, no matter how sophisticated, avant-garde or advanced, must still have the ability to touch and move a human being.” – Gottfried Helnwein, set and costume designer for Der Rosenkavalier (2005)
LA Opera capped off its 2004/2005 season with a colorful production of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. Visually striking and set during the wildness of the Baroque era, Der Rosenkavalier was a new production directed by Academy Award nominee, Maximilian Schell (his second for the company following the successful Lohengrin in 2001).
When it’s freezing out—or cold by Los Angeles standards—it’s the perfect time to relax by the fire with a glass of wine or some hot cocoa and listen to music. For some, that music is Plácido Domingo’s “My Christmas” album; some prefer to buckle down for a little smooth, Kenny G jazz (his latest Brazilian Nights album is a favorite of mine). Other people—like my father—prefer winding down to Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, sung by Maria Callas and Nicolai Gedda. The next time you’re staying in for the night, consider listening to one of these operas instead, with the lights dimmed, and your favorite beverage. You might find yourself a lover of opera by the evening’s end!
The Tales of Hoffmann – Jacques Offenbach
Returning this season, The Tales of Hoffmann is a perfect opera to listen to by the fire (inspiring, in fact!). It follows the story of poet E.T.A. Hoffmann, whose boozy recollections of the women he has loved and lost. Hoffmann recounts the stories of the fascinating women who captured his heart—wind-up doll Olympia, conniving Giulietta, fragile Antonia and elusive Stella. Hoffmann’s doomed pursuit of romance, foiled by sinister figures of darkness at every turn, ultimately lead him to a poet’s artistic salvation.
Listen To: Act IV: “Belle Nuit, o nuit d’amour”
Share In September, Keith Walker brought his colleagues to see Gianni Schicchi. He wanted to share his love of opera with his fellow estate planning lawyers. The irony of taking a band of estate planning lawyers to see a Gianni … Continue reading
The Magic Flute is a roaring-twenties set vision. It has the beauty of a classic Louise Brooks film (like Pandora’s Box) , but live. Here, the production team – Suzanne Andrade, Barrie Kosky, and Paul Barritt – talk about the concept behind their vision for Mozart’s fantasy opera.
How did you come up with the idea of staging The Magic Flute with 1927?
Barrie Kosky (stage director; Intendent of the Komische Oper Berlin): The Magic Flute is the most frequently performed German-language opera, one of the top ten operas in the world. Everyone knows the story; everybody knows the music; everyone knows the characters. On top of that, it is an “ageless” opera, meaning that an eight-year-old can enjoy it as much as an octogenarian can. So you start out with some pressure when you undertake a staging of this opera. I think the challenge is to embrace the heterogeneous nature of this opera. Any attempt to interpret the piece in only one way is bound to fail. You almost have to celebrate the contradictions and inconsistencies of the plot and the characters, as well as the mix of fantasy, surrealism, magic and deeply touching human emotions.
Our 2014 production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute marked the first time in opera that all physical scenery was entirely replaced by video projection. A marvel of Suzanne Andrade and Barrie Kosky’s 1927 inspiration, this Flute took us back to the roaring twenties in cinematic style.
This upcoming February, The Magic Flute returns to wow more Los Angeles audiences.
Take a sneak peek behind-the-scenes below to see how some of the tech for the show works.
Where can you find Pamina?
Pamina, daughter stands on a tiny revolving door platform that pivots out of the wall that serves as a projection screen. She is harnessed and buckled into the wall. Monostatos (Sarastro’s slave) stands on the first level of the stage. All other scenic elements are video projections.
We are now coming to the end of Hanukkah, with Christmas just around the corner. We’ve selected three holiday set operas for you to check out. Take a look below!
The first two acts of Giacomo Puccini’s timeless classic take place on Christmas Eve as six impoverished young Bohemians, surviving only on laughter and the promise of love in Belle Époque Paris, spend a memorable night on the town. Revel in the tragic romance this upcoming June, when La Boheme graces the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage (with the delectable Nino Machaidze making her role debut as Mimi), and fall in love with the beautiful snowy moment at the end of the third act.
Before seeing Erwin Schrott’s live concert, Cuba Amiga, this Saturday, take a journey through LA Opera history and check out Schrott in Don Giovanni. He’s sung the title role in Mozart’s “Don Juan” opera 17 times here in Los Angeles, most recently in 2007.
Can’t get enough of Erwin Schrott? Learn more about his latest concert, Cuba Amiga, below and make sure to snag your tickets before they’re gone.
Taking the audience on a musical journey through Latin America, Cuba Amiga delivers a thrilling international spectrum of Latin rhythms: bolero, salsa, flamenco, timba, rumba, cha-cha, samba and tango. Cuba Amiga was inspired by the music and life of legendary tango performer Carlos Gardel. Eighty years ago, Gardel launched a concert tour throughout Latin America to promote his film musical El día que me quieras. Gardel’s plan was to conclude the tour with the movie’s premiere in Cuba, but his dream was defeated when the beloved performer was tragically killed in a plane crash in Colombia. Saturday’s concert metaphorically follows Gardel’s trip through South America. Schrott views the concert as “a thank you to Maestro Gardel and to Cuba as a source of inspiration and birthplace of many unique styles of music and immortal songs.”
To celebrate Saturday’s concert, we’ve collected an array of Latin classics into our Latin Fever Spotify Playlist below as well as a glimpse of Erwin Schrott singing, “Oblivion” from his album, Rojotango (above). Take a listen to the lively and passionate music before seeing the show.