Monthly Archives: December 2015

Norma Sneak Peek

https://youtu.be/TVdSSWB5-Nk

Get a sneak peek of Norma above

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Student’s Corner: Norma Opera Dreams

Elyse Johnson (right) and her mother, Julie Johnson, at a performance of Norma (2015)

Elyse Johnson (right) and her mother, Julie Johnson, at a performance of Norma (2015)

Sitting in an uncomfortable, red chair, I check LA Opera 90012 participants in for the evening’s performance – Norma. Two fellow Ambassadors and I hand out tickets, but I find myself distracted. I glance at my phone and hope this will make the time go by faster. I’m anxious to see the show.

As soon as we’re dismissed, I seize my black purse and rush to my assigned seat in the theater. I love opera (can you tell?). But this time is different, because I know three of the ensemble members. Two were my teachers and the third is a very dear friend of mine. I can barely suppress the butterflies of excitement in my stomach. I’m thrilled to watch them.

As soon as Norma starts, I’m mesmerized. It’s such a special show. I search for the members I know and manage to pinpoint two of them. It’s at this moment that I start daydreaming, fantasizing about all the rehearsals that go into creating this production. I have been in several smaller opera productions, particularly at Opera Camp, so I have some idea how the process should do. It’s long, grueling, and wickedly fast-paced from the moment a singer receives the score up until the final dress rehearsal. Yet, those rehearsal experiences have been some of the happiest moments of my life. Watching Norma, I think about my own experiences interacting with other campers – teenagers who harbor the same affection I have towards opera – and creating a whole production. We sing together, eat together, and create together.

I find myself missing those days terribly.

Russell Thomas as Pollione and Angela Meade as the title character in Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

Russell Thomas as Pollione and Angela Meade as the title character in Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

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Music Monday: Erwin Schrott Tackles A Latin Classic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiHDom3nsME

    Erwin Schrott performing “El dia que me quieras” in Vienna

Bass-baritone Erwin Schrott may have skyrocketed to fame as the title character in Don Giovanni, but his interpretations of classic Latin songs are also not to be missed. One of these interpretations is “El dia que me quieras,” a tango standard originally composed and performed by famous Argentinian singer, Carlos Gardel, for his film of the same name.

Erwin Schrott and Jose Feliciano; Photo: Thommy Mardo

This upcoming Saturday night, “El dia que me quieras” will be the first song Schrott sings to kick off his Cuba Amiga concert, Schrott will be joined by an ensemble of outstanding classical and jazz musical friends from around the world, including special guest José Feliciano, the legendary singer and guitarist. 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.

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Student’s Corner: LA Opera 90012 – 2015 Season Begins

Katie Lee, Marita Bos- Villalobos, Elizabeth Surman, and Antonia Sterns at LA 90012 2015 Orientation on October 27

Katie Lee, Marita Bos- Villalobos, Elizabeth Surman, and Antonia Sterns at LA 90012 2015 Orientation on October 27

Word is spreading among Los Angeles teens that opera is not what they think it is. The productions are not dusty and dull, but instead are gloriously alive – full of passionate drama that’s sure to entertain even the most skeptical audience member. When LA Opera 90012 kicked off the new season with an orientation this past October, the room was buzzing with anticipation.

Don’t know about LA 90012? It’s one of the coolest contests in town. Students in grades 7 – 12 are invited to enter a competition for the chance to win a mini subscription, for themselves and a chaperone, to see four operas, absolutely free. It’s a great program made possible by a donation by Fred Rheinstein, who knew how opera is a great way for teens and parents to connect. While Rheinstein passed away two years ago, we are so grateful for his contribution and his legacy lives on.

As a Student Ambassador, I arrived early to help set up for the orientation. Once everything was ready, we split up to do our different jobs. Along with my fellow Ambassador Marita Bos, I stood outside at the backstage entrance to welcome participants.

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Season’s Greetings to the Los Angeles Community

Two LA Opera artists—soprano Karen Hogle-Brown and tenor Ashley Faatoalia—perform at USC’s Keck Medical Center.

Two LA Opera artists—soprano Karen Hogle-Brown and tenor Ashley Faatoalia—perform at
USC’s Keck Medical Center.

Season’s Greetings! The holidays are a time to gather friends and family, to be thankful for what we have, and to be giving to those who are in need. Five years ago, our Education and Community Engagement Department began sending our teaching artists around LA County to sing holiday music a capella at more than a dozen care centers, including City of Hope, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the Alzheimer’s Association, Huntington Hospital, Rancho Los Amigos, National Rehabilitation Center and the West LA and Long Beach VA Medical Centers. This month, our singers will perform beloved and familiar music in lobbies, recreation rooms and wards – even at bedside – at these and many other care centers.

Last year, after the artists finished singing to a group of disabled veterans, one elderly vet quickly left the room. A moment later, he reappeared with several pieces of paper in his hands. He gave them to the singers and shyly explained that he wrote poetry and he hoped they would accept a few of his poems as a gift of appreciation for what they had given him. The director of the Veterans Home of California followed up with her own expression of thanks:

“Holidays become more precious with age as memories are relived, sadly for some, without many of their family members. Therefore, I feel honored to thank their new friends from LA Opera for making this holiday season very special. Again, I send my most sincere appreciation and thank LA Opera for your part in improving the lives of our great men and women of the United States military.”

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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Norma

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6oGBJbok64

Norma is the go-to opera to hear what the masterful, operatic voice can do. Yet, there’s so much more to this show than the voices. There’s an interesting directorial vision thanks to Anne Bogart, a classic take on the bel canto movement, and cast members that truly define what it means to be a great opera singer. In case you’ve missed the Norma love these past few weeks, we’ve collected a bunch of articles and videos for you to check out and see why Norma is so captivating.

Get To Know Norma

The cast of Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

The cast of Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

Norma War and Peace at Last

Norma is more than just a love story. It’s also an opera about the cross between the political and the personal , all showcased in the title character’s struggles.

Directing Norma

Norma is arguably Vincenzo Bellini’s masterpiece. It’s a vocal fireworks of an opera, where singers utilize every tactic in their vocal range to express the deepest of emotions: love. Director Anne Bogart and designer Neil Patel understand this implicitly. Their Norma is a version that removes the frippery, “the spectacle of the mis en scene” and in turn fuels the vocal energy at the core of Bellini’s storytelling.

Norma’s Girl Power Playlist

Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma is arguably the ultimate girl power opera, with a fiery and dramatic plot that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. To help everyone get in an empowering mood, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 girl-power anthems for you to listen to until the opening night of Norma this Saturday. Here’s a list of 10 stellar girl power songs.

Drop The Mic: Norma’s A Vocal Fireworks Opera

As I write this, Angela Meade, Jamie Barton, and Russell Thomas are on-stage rehearsing a scene from our upcoming production of Bellini’s Norma. It’s the end of Act I and Norma (Meade) has just discovered the affair between the man she loves, Pollione (Thomas), and Adalgisa (Barton), a younger priestess. If you think the story’s dramatic, you should hear their voices! Unbelievable voices – let’s call them vocal fireworks because of their equally explosive and yet restrained nature – are at the center of Norma. It’s compelling to witness.

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#WordWednesday: Cavatina

Angela Meade as the title character in Norma (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

CAVATINA (13 Scrabble Points) – Italian – Cavatina is a short operatic aria in simple style without repeated sections. Norma’s famous aria “Casta diva” is a classic example of this. Short and simplistic or long and melodic, Norma’s incredible cast will surely blow you away.

Can’t get enough of Norma? We’ve collected some articles to get you in the druid spirit below.

Norma’s Girl Power Playlist

Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma is arguably the ultimate girl power opera, with a fiery and dramatic plot that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. To help everyone get in an empowering mood, we’ve put together a list of our top 10 girl-power anthems for you to listen to until the opening night of Norma this Saturday. Here’s a list of 10 stellar girl power songs.

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Holiday Operapalooza! Give the gift of opera this Holiday Season

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6oGBJbok64

Thousands of people just like you come to LA Opera each year to experience the magnificence that can only be found in opera. Through world-class staging and bold experimentation, opera has something for everyone, regardless of age, musical preferences or means.

Here are some ways you can give the gift of opera this holiday season:

For Film Junkies – Travel to the Roaring Twenties

The Magic Flute (2016); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

LA Opera’s game-changing production of The Magic Flute returns in February 2016. Packed with stage wizardry, the beloved Mozart classic plunges audiences into an incredible fantasy world, where singers interact with hand-drawn animation straight out of the silent-era film.

Interested in the classics? Get down with Puccini’s Madame Butterfly

title character in Madame Butterfly (2016); Photo: Ken Howard

Ana María Martínez as the title character in Madame Butterfly (2016); Photo: Ken Howard

Puccini’s cherished music in Madame Butterfly tells the tale of a naïve young woman who commits to a man utterly unworthy of her love. We all know where it goes from there, but you won’t want to miss this gorgeous production in April 2016.

Look Ahead to a Romantic Spring

La Boheme, a timeless classic, reveling in the cinematic romance of Paris, concludes our mainstage season of masterpieces. Fall in love again with La Bohème’s unforgettable blend of riveting theater and achingly beautiful music as we follow the tale of six impoverished young bohemians, surviving only on laughter and the promise of love.

Create Your Own Opera Experience

Our Design-You-Own Package (DYO) offers the flexibility to enjoy opera on the dates that work with your schedule. You will receive some key benefits, such as discounted ticket exchange, priority purchasing, subscriber benefits, and more. DYO packages are on sale now. Select the operas you’d like to see and join us for your own truly unique LA Opera experience.

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