Extreme Sports Opera

You ever been on a rollercoaster ride that’s lasted three decades? Jeff Kleeman has.

LA Opera Technical Director Jeff Kleeman

LA Opera Technical Director Jeff Kleeman

As the Technical Director for LA Opera, Jeff regularly clocks in 80 or a hundred hours a week, sometimes even more if you can fathom that. Grinning through that ZZ Top beard, he says, “It’s like a rollercoaster ride. Once you’re strapped in, you’re on for the full ride. Around these parts we call it extreme sports opera.”

Jeff is a rarity. First off, how many other people do you know who not only can say they witnessed the birth of an opera company, but then stayed and grew up with said opera company? That’s right. The then recent graduate of Cal Arts interned with LA Opera during its first season in 1986-1987 to help with special effects. And the rest, as they say…

With a team that includes two full-timers plus the seasonal stage crew that can number between 50 and 70, Jeff is archiving the past, performing in the present or, as he says with another grin, “Hopefully proper planning for the future.” And when Jeff says future, he doesn’t mean the next opera. He means the next season.

Click here to read the full article posted on OperaLeague.org in Spring 2015.

Tom Lady sits on the Executive Committee of the Opera League of Los Angeles and is the editor of BRAVO, the League’s newsletter. By day he works at Yahoo while at night he toils over his own writing projects.

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