Did You Know?

Hispanics for LA Opera Celebrates 25 Years

Members of HLAO

Members of HLAO

Hispanics for LA Opera was launched in February 1992 at the request of Peter Hemmings, then general director of LA Opera, with the enthusiastic support of Plácido Domingo. They were interested in engaging this vibrant, growing segment of the Los Angeles community education and welcoming them to the opera. Hemmings reached out to LA Opera subscribers and patrons Alicia and Ed Clark, who stepped forward to lead this effort by founding HLAO. Their leadership initiated an effort that has been an integral source of support for building the understanding and awareness of the operatic art form in Hispanic communities throughout Los Angeles.

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Props from The Abduction from the Seraglio To Know About

Set in the 1920s aboard the Orient Express, The Abduction from the Seraglio features some interesting props to look out for when seeing the show. Here’s a list of our top three favorites – see if you spot them while … Continue reading

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Finding Love at the Opera

One of Anthony and Marta Richardson's engagement photos, taken outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

One of Anthony and Marta Richardson’s engagement photos, taken outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

When Anthony and Marta Richardson each bought tickets to a performance of LA Opera’s Simon Boccanegra in 2012, they had no idea they would end up finding love at the opera.

Before they ever met, Anthony and Marta were both frequent opera-goers. Marta, a teacher at the time (she’s now an elementary school principal at Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District), saw her first performance at LA Opera in 1997 and had since invited representatives of the Music Center and the LA Opera to speak to her students about opera and music. Anthony – an actor/singer turned financial consultant – had also attended shows at LA Opera since the late 1990s, even volunteering with the Opera League of Los Angeles. His assignment – shuffling artists from LAX to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

In March 2012, Anthony had tickets to see Simon Boccanegra.

“I had never seen Plácido Domingo perform before and was very excited,” says Anthony.

When his friend canceled, Anthony decided to have dinner at Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse, thinking he might meet someone to whom he could give his extra ticket.

“When I got to the steakhouse, I spotted Marta and her friend at the bar and strategically sat next to them,” recalls Anthony. Marta replies jokingly, “That’s how men operate.”

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LA Opera Inspires Fashion Exhibit at FIDM Museum

FIDM 4

From the bonnet à la Figaro (an 18th-century fashion inspired by the hero of The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro), to the 1920s costumes in LA Opera’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, opera and fashion have always influenced each other. To celebrate the inextricable link between opera and fashion, LA Opera has partnered with FIDM Museum at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles and inspired an exhibition called “Exotica: Fashion & Costume of the 1920s.”

FIDM 3

An evening dress designed by Natasha Rambova; circ 1927

This is the second time that LA Opera productions have inspired an exhibition at FIDM. In March 2015, FIDM Museum presented “Opulent Art: 18th-Century Dress.” This exhibition featured a rare original 18th-century Figaro costume worn during performances of The Marriage of Figaro. The exhibition also coincided with the company’s Figaro Unbound initiative (presented in connection with the company’s “Figaro Trilogy”: Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

 

This time, “Exotica: Fashion & Costume of the 1920s” explores how films set in exotic locales influenced the fashion of the day. This exhibition is inspired by LA Opera’s production of The Abduction from the Seraglio, which is set in the Roaring Twenties on the famous Orient Express, traveling from Istanbul to Paris.

Surrounded by a giant Orient Express structure, various “exotic” clothing is displayed as if on a platform about to board the train. Several of the pieces are not so different from what the characters in The Abduction from the Seraglio might wear on their journey around the world, also reflecting the “east meets west” nature of the opera – and of Hollywood cinema in the 1920s (see The Sheik or The Thief of Baghdad).

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Bring Your Family to the Opera for a Day of 1920s-Inspired Fun

On February 12, LA Opera will host its first family day of the season. Tickets to the matinee performance of The Abduction from the Seraglio are half-off for children and teens ages 9 to 17 (as always), and there will be several activities inspired by the Roaring Twenties-set production.

1920s Dance

1920s Dancing

Here are some of the fun activities for families on February 12:

Swing Into the 1920s Spirit with Dance Lessons

From 11:30am-12:40pm, members from MASS Historia will be on hand teaching families how to fox trot like its 1925. There will also be professional demonstrations and dancing open to everyone after the performance in Stern Grand Hall.

Painters Galore

Members from the California Art Club, one of the oldest and largest professional arts organizations in the country, will be staged throughout the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion capturing the spirit of family day in paintings and showing families how fun art and opera can be. … Continue reading

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Wear a 1920s Costume, Get Free Champagne

USE THIS MATT PICTURE

It’s time to dig out those flapper costumes and dapper suits! To celebrate our 1920s set production of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, we’re inviting you to come to the February 16 performance dressed in your Roaring Twenties best.

Wear A 1920s Costume, Get Free Champagne – Here’s How It Works

  1. Arrive at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in your costume at least 20 minutes prior to the start of the show
  2. Get your picture taken on our red carpet by our Social Media Team
  3. Allow us to post on LA Opera social media and/or post on your Social Media accounts and tag us
  4. Receive a champagne voucher redeemable at any of the bars inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

 Rules:

  1. Only one free champagne voucher per person in costume.
  2. Must be 21 and over to receive a voucher. While supplies last. Valid only on Thur. Feb 16, 2017.

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Open Door Days – Just Another Day at the Opera

Preparing translations from Carmen for Open Door Days interactive performance

Preparing translations from Carmen for Open Door Days interactive performance

While we’re onstage rehearsing for our upcoming productions, our education and community engagement team has been preparing to launch another special program – Open Door Days.

Open Door Days is a light-hearted introduction to the “big ideas” of opera. This new program, which begins today, offers the opportunity to explore opera’s most beloved music and get a behind-the-scenes look at how an opera house works.

This includes learning about supertitles.

Just like we do during our mainstage shows, we help the audience follow the story by translating the sung text into English. During an interactive performance at Open Door Days, our trio of intrepid singers explain and demonstrate how supertitles work during the aria “Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre” from the opera Carmen, more popularly known as The Toreador Song.

Rehearsing for Open Door Days

Rehearsing for Open Door Days

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An Opera-Filled Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of year again. The Season of Love. It’s the perfect time to show your romantic side, and nothing says romance like an evening of Mozart or Strauss. Ever thought of surprising the ones you love with the gift of opera on Valentine’s Day? Here’s a list of the most romantic operas to give your significant other the opera experience of a lifetime.

The Abduction from the Seraglio

This Mozart treasure is perfect for a fun, romantic evening at the opera. Our production is set in the 1920s and has the feeling of a classic screwball comedy (think Bringing Up Baby). It’s light, it’s funny and it’s perfect for any first – first opera, first date. With two intermissions, there’s time to share some bubbly while enjoying an evening together.

En route from Istanbul to Paris, two beautiful damsels in distress are held captive aboard the luxurious Orient Express by a notorious Ottoman royal. It’s up to their faithful lovers to rescue them before it’s too late! James Conlon conducts a brilliant ensemble of soloists, including bass Morris Robinson as the Pasha’s delightfully nefarious henchman Osmin. Hamish Linklater makes his company debut in the pivotal role of the Pasha Selim.

Salome

Patricia Racette as the title character in Salome (2015) at Opera San Antonio; Photo: Karen Almond

Patricia Racette as the title character in Salome (2015) at Opera San Antonio; Photo: Karen Almond

If you’re looking for a short, but thrilling night at the opera, Salome is the opera to give your loved on Valentine’s Day. Filled with unbridle passion and seduction, this one will give you lots to talk about.

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10-Year-Olds Perform Opera and Learn About History Along the Way

Elementary In-School Opera

Elementary In-School Opera

Rehearsals are in full swing for LA Opera’s Elementary In-School Opera program. This annual five-week residency brings LA Opera teaching artists and staff into 15 elementary schools across the county to rehearse, stage, and perform an opera. While teaching artists are cast as principal roles, the students are cast in ensemble and smaller roles, often getting their first taste of opera and learn about California history along the way.

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Pittance Chamber Music Presents Concert with Special Guest James Conlon

James Conlon (Photo by Chester Higgins; Members of Pittance Chamber Music

James Conlon (Photo by Chester Higgins; Members of Pittance Chamber Music

Pittance Chamber Music, comprised of members of the LA Opera Orchestra, will host their next concert on February 3. Special guest James Conlon will be conducting Pittance Chamber Music in Mozart’s sublime Serenade in B-flat, K.361, known as the “Gran Partita.”  As Pittance is a chamber music organization, its ensembles are small and normally don’t require a conductor. However, the size and scope of the “Gran Partita” makes it difficult to put together without one, and it is exciting that Maestro Conlon has agreed to move from the pit to the stage for this concert.

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Where In The World Are LA Opera Productions?

Since LA Opera’s first season in 1986, Los Angeles is not the only place in the world that you can experience one of the company’s productions. Over the years, they’ve been rented and staged by other opera companies, produced during festivals, and even shown on the big screen. LA Opera’s innovative and beloved productions travel the world, sharing the spirit of Los Angeles and a love of opera with people far and wide.

Here are three productions that have traveled the world in recent years.

Salome (1986; 1989; 1998; 2001; 2017)

Salome (1986); Photo: Frederick Ohringer

Salome (1986); Photo: Frederick Ohringer

LA Opera’s iconic production of Strauss’s Salome (which returns to the LA Opera stage February 18) originally premiered during our first season in 1986. Adapted from the scandalous play by Oscar Wilde, Salome is a seductively beautiful tapestry of the subconscious. The princess Salome becomes infatuated by her stepfather’s prisoner, John the Baptist, and she determines to have him…whatever the cost.

This production of Salome is well traveled and has been staged both close to home (at San Diego Opera) across the country (Washington National Opera) and around the world (on tour with the Savonlinna Festival in Finland and as part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival in China).

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The Abduction from the Seraglio: Mozart’s Ambitious Declaration of Independence

A scene from James Robinson's "Orient Express" production of The Abduction from the Seraglio; Photo: George Hixson / Houston Grand Opera

A scene from James Robinson’s “Orient Express” production of The Abduction from the Seraglio; Photo: George Hixson / Houston Grand Opera

With The Abduction from the Seraglio, Mozart scored the biggest stage success he would enjoy during his lifetime. It premiered in Vienna on July 16, 1782, and, by the fourth performance—according to Mozart himself—the show was “creating such a sensation that they don’t want to see or hear anything else, and the theater is packed full each time.”

Nowadays Abduction ranks among the less frequently encountered of Mozart’s mature stage works. One reason might be that it suffers from what director James Robinson calls “ugly-title syndrome.” Catchy titles, to be sure, can go a long way toward securing recognition for even second-rate works. Robinson adds: “Abduction is underrated in many ways. It’s one of the most unabashedly romantic pieces that Mozart ever wrote. The way he addresses relationships and longing, as well as all the things that accompany love and its potential loss, is so heartfelt. Abduction wears its emotions on its sleeve. And it’s also a wonderfully funny piece.”

The stakes for the success of Abduction were high.

When Mozart started working on his new project in the summer of 1781, he was right in the middle of a period of profound transition—personally as well as professionally. The year had started with the premiere, in Munich, of Idomeneo, an ambitious opera that represented a major artistic leap forward for the composer. A few months after that came a dramatic confrontation with his boss, Count Hieronymus Colloredo, the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. Among the many reasons Mozart felt so miserable at Colloredo’s provincial court was the lack of opportunities to write opera, the art form he loved most of all.

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One More Time: The Story Behind Performance Encores

Sondra Radvanovsky in recital at LA Opera (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Sondra Radvanovsky in recital at LA Opera (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Sondra Radvanovsky was having a good night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion downtown. The American soprano, giving a recital as part of the L.A. Opera season, had performed repertory ranging from Verdi to Copland, interspersed with personal stories and an emotional tribute to her late father. Now she’d returned for encores—to an audience so enthusiastic she ended up singing four.

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Ways to Add Opera to Your List of New Year’s Resolutions

The Tales of Hoffmann (2012); Photo: Robert Millard

The Tales of Hoffmann (2012); Photo: Robert Millard

It’s that time of year again! The time where we all make resolutions to meet new people and travel more. What if this New Year’s, you could do all of that at the opera house? Here are some ways to add seeing opera to your 2017 New Year’s resolutions.

Pick up a new hobby:  opera.

Sometimes the day job gets to us and we forget to enjoy ourselves outside of the office. Take a break from Netflix binge-watching (although we also can’t wait for Sherlock) and spend some nights at the opera.

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Ends Soon! Your Chance To Win Tickets to Netrebko and Eyvazov In Concert

Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov

Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov

As a nonprofit, everything we do—on stage and throughout the community—is made possible by the generosity of supporters like you, who value the impact the performing arts have on the cultural fabric of Los Angeles.

When you make a tax-deductible donation by this Saturday, December 31, you will be entered for a chance to win:

  • Two tickets to Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov in Concert on May 4, 2017
  • Verismo, Anna Netrebko’s new album, on compact disc

A donation of any amount will help LA Opera and enter you for a chance to win this exciting giveaway. But hurry, this opportunity ends soon!

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Why You Should Join ARIA in 2017

ARIA PHOTO

ARIA is the program du jour for young professionals to connect with the arts, network, and make friends with fellow arts enthusiasts. This season, we’ve taken ARIA to the next level by elevating its placement as a young professionals’ program for opera lovers between the ages of 21 and 40, is switching to a club membership-based model. As a result, ARIA has never been bigger, with over 100 members mingling and mixing at various events and enjoying opera together. 2017 promises to be the best yet. 2017 promises to be the best yet.

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4 Reasons to See The Abduction from the Seraglio Next Month

A scene from James Robinson's "Orient Express" production of The Abduction from the Seraglio; Photo: George Hixson / Houston Grand Opera

A scene from James Robinson’s “Orient Express” production of The Abduction from the Seraglio; Photo: George Hixson / Houston Grand Opera

Ever since last season’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, we’ve been eagerly waiting to stage another one of Mozart’s work at LA Opera. Next month, we get to do just that! Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio opens on January 28 and here are five reasons to see this riotous opera.

Did we mention that it’s Mozart?

Mozart’s effervescent score is sure to thrill audiences—even though Emperor Joseph II asked that Mozart cut a few notes from the piece when it was first presented to him. (Check out that moment and the finale of Abduction as depicted in the Miloš Forman biopic Amadeus below.)

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In Support of Naming the Grand Avenue Arts Metro Station

METRO PHOTO

This is a wonderful time to experience the arts in Los Angeles. The arts scene is burgeoning like never before and all roads lead to Grand Avenue—home to several arts organizations, including LA Opera. With many arts destinations within walking distance of each other, Angelenos have never had simpler access to such a cross-section of art. From classical to contemporary, symphony to jazz, and of course grand opera, there’s something for every art palette.

Thanks to Metro, traveling to Grand Avenue will only get easier.

In just a few years, Metro will open a new station at the corner of Hope and Second streets. This is an incredible gift to the community and will increase accessibility to the city’s ever-evolving arts culture in downtown Los Angeles.

Metro is looking to name this station and is asking for public input for its naming and the naming of others in the Regional Connector line. As supporters of our art, you likely frequent our house and we’d like to ask for your help.

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Cast to Class Inspires Teens to Dream Big

Tenor Joshua Guerrero speaks to high school students about his role in Macbeth (2016)

Tenor Joshua Guerrero speaks to high school students about his role in Macbeth (2016)

Currently in its second year, LA Opera’s Cast to Class program brings opera singers into schools and students to the opera house. Opera singers travel to schools around Los Angeles County speaking to students about their craft, and then those same students attend a mainstage performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and see the singer in action. The goal of the program—as with all of our education and community initiatives—is to break down the barriers between opera and the community.

However, in the past two years other, somewhat unexpected and beautiful results, has emerged.

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100+ And Counting: What It’s Like to be a Veteran Los Angeles Opera Member

Los Angeles Opera Chorus members George Sterne and Mark Beasom bookend the dancers (Sterne on the left) in La Traviata (2014); Photo: Craig T. Mathew.

Los Angeles Opera Chorus members George Sterne and Mark Beasom bookend the dancers (Sterne on the left) in La Traviata (2014); Photo: Craig T. Mathew.

During a dinner break between rehearsals of L.A. Opera’s Romeo and Juliet in 2005—in a rehearsal room at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion because the cast was in wigs and makeup and not allowed to venture outside—star soprano Anna Netrebko asked Opera Chorus tenor George Sterne to join her. “When she invited me to sit next to her, that thrilled me,” Sterne says with a grin. “I think she’d kind of gotten to like me, from talking to me.”

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