The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is not the only place in Los Angeles where you can experience an LA Opera production. You can see our productions at REDCAT, inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and even at Santa Monica Pier. LA Opera has many programs and initiatives that bring opera to various locations in the county and make sure everyone has access to opera.
In partnership with the County of Los Angeles Public Library and with generous support provided by former Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe (4th district) and Supervisor Hilda Solis (1st district), LA Opera brings professional opera singers to libraries around Los Angeles to perform musical moments from the most celebrated operas for families. Next month’s Puccini Opera Tales has the singers recounting tales from The Girl of the Golden West, Gianni Schicchi, and Turandot, as told by Giacomo Puccini himself.
“It’s a great environment for a first opera experience,” says soprano, Lisa Eden, who has performed in Opera Tales since 2012.
Leroy Villanueva (who has performed in Opera Tales since the program started in 2007 with special guest Doris Roberts) adds that it’s the perfect setting to introduce kids to and get them excited about opera, because it’s very personal. The kids sit on the floor close to the performers – sometimes even meandering onto the set. As a result, the singers are encouraged to interact with the kids in the audience, helping them become part of the story. “The script itself changes every single time. It’s not about what’s written on the page. We are constantly reacting to what we hear being said.”
The singers shared an example from Puccini Opera Tales of how the kids participate in searching for a book that has been misplaced at the beginning of the show. The singers ask if they know where the book is that will help them tell Puccini’s tales. Suddenly, all the kids point in different directions and shout, “It’s right there!” In a library setting, surrounded by a mountain of books, there is no shortage of possibilities for the kids to choose from. Ultimately, Mr. Puccini himself (Scott Levin) makes a grand entrance and produces the book. Then, the singers convince Puccini to tell them some of his famous tales and the kids in the library are transported into the worlds of some of his most famous operas.
Puccini Opera Tales goes on tour starting on Tuesday, March 28. Eden and Villanueva will join singers Orson Van Gay, Scott Levin, and pianist Tali Tadmor throughout libraries in sharing a love of opera to kids throughout Los Angeles County. They might even succeed in finding Puccini’s book!
For more information and tour locations, click here.
LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.