Opera not only offers transcendence and expands imaginations, but can also educate the public on social issues. LA Opera’s Elementary and Secondary In-School Operas do just that. Students from all over Los Angeles County learned this themselves just a few weeks ago when they performed alongside LA Opera artists in the Secondary In-School Opera (SISO), The White Bird of Poston, composed by Eli Villanueva with libretto by Leslie Stevens. This opera explores themes of service and citizenship, as well as the issues of prejudice, racism and cultural differences.
What can be said about composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein that hasn’t already been said before? As one of the most prolific figures of the 20th century, the virtuoso has been deemed as “one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history” by The New York Times. However, for those deeply familiar with his life and work, he’s affectionately known simply as “Lenny.”
On Nov. 19, we wrapped up our last production of the year with Verdi’s Nabucco. Though we’ll be taking a brief hiatus from the stage until the new year, there is still much to be excited about in the second half of our season! With both company premieres and established revivals underway, there is something for everyone — especially if you have folks to shop for.
Can’t wait until January to get your opera fix? We can’t either. Here are five reasons to look forward to the rest of our season!
On Nov. 17, LA Opera honors Plácido Domingo 50th Anniversary in Los Angeles with a special concert conducted by Maestro James Conlon. The performance will feature appearances from veterans of both the operatic stage and the big screen, with our very own LA Opera Orchestra in the pit.
Mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider loves performing contemporary works. That’s probably why she holds operas such as Persona close to her heart. In the two years since she premiered the piece, her own life experiences have added grit to her understanding of the troubled nurse Alma, and she looks forward to elevating her interpretation in Los Angeles.
Fifty years ago to the day— on November 17, 1967 — the fast-rising Spanish tenor on tour with the New York City Opera took to the stage of the new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, to sing the title role in Alberto Ginastera’s Don Rodrigo. By the time the curtain came down, it was clear that Plácido Domingo was destined for stardom. But few could have predicted the profound and lasting impact that the young singer would make on the city’s cultural life.
On November 17 2017, LA Opera will celebrate its General Director with a star studded concert featuring artists from across the musical spectrum.
With Hollywood as LA Opera’s backyard, there is always something to do. In a place so saturated with both art and entertainment, you could live in the city for a lifetime and always find a new adventure. For children and adults, Los Angeles is a wonderland of entertainment opportunities, and world-class opera is one of them. At LA Opera, parents can expose their kids to unforgettable mainstage productions, as well as programs created especially for children.
How do movies and opera relate? To some, a conclusive answer may not be obvious — each art differs exponentially in many aspects. But when you take away the blatant differences, such as the respective emphases on music and the spoken word, there are commonalities that bring the two together. What opera and film share, along with most all performing arts, is the attention to human emotion.
On Nov. 2, Verdi’s Nabucco returns to the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with Plácido Domingo in the title role. The vibrant production by director Thaddeus Strassberger pays homage to the opera’s premiere at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala in 1842, featuring costumes elegantly designed by Mattie Ullrich.
Interested in going out this Halloween weekend but can’t figure out what to do? Join us at the Theatre at ACE Hotel for Cocteau/Glass’ La Belle et la Bête! Our Saturday and Tuesday shows include after-parties at the venue directly following the performance, including a special Costume Contest on the 31st.
Before you go, check out composer Philip Glass’ program notes on re-scoring the Cocteau classic, his relationship with the piece and more.
Soprano Lauren Michelle did not have an easy road to success. In fact, for many years she struggled to even be heard. But out of all the things this California native has proven, it’s that she’s a hard worker. And her perseverance has finally paid off. She’s not only sung on domestic stages in St. Louis and Washington, D.C., but has traveled all over the world — from Italy to Austria to Wales — singing for the some of the top names in the business.
Her triumphs have now led her to LA Opera, where she is currently covering Leïla in Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. For the inaugural post for our Cover Story series, which features profiles on the principal covers (or understudies) for our mainstage productions, Michelle had a chance to sit down with the company to discuss the long, winding road that has landed her back on her home turf, and how Maestro Plácido Domingo proved to be her biggest advocate.
Continuing their family tradition of encouraging support for LA Opera during the holidays, Paul and Marybelle Musco have announced a matching gift challenge. Any donation received by December 31 will be matched $2 for every $1 donated up to $500,000.
For Paul and Marybelle Musco, supporting opera is an integral part of their lives. As a boy growing up in Rhode Island, Paul’s Italian immigrant parents were opera lovers and insisted that their children gather around the radio for the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. “I guess it was osmosis, because I came to love opera and it has stayed with me personally ever since,” he recalls.
If you ever dreamt of meeting Plácido Domingo and James Conlon, your wish is our command! LA Opera will host a special signing of our Macbeth DVD with its star and conductor (who are also the star and conductor of … Continue reading
Nabucco is the first manifestation of Giuseppe Verdi’s genius. It was his third opera, and its immense success established him at 28 years of age as a powerful force in Italian theater and music. He was never, even posthumously, to lose that status. Even with rocky moments and the inevitable ups and downs of an artistic life, he was to become and remain Italy’s preeminent composer of the 19th century and arguably of its entire history. Though thoroughly Italian (sometimes obstinately so in the face of the foreign influences from the north of Europe), his music transcended its native land and its composer’s humble origins to install itself throughout the world.
When your teacher tells you that an internationally-renowned opera singer is coming for a visit, you many not even know who they are or even imagine what they could possibly have in common with you. For students whose schools are part of LA Opera’s Cast to Class program, that preconceived notion is quickly erased when someone like Javier Camarena steps through the door.
Perhaps the most arresting moment in our latest production of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers is the opening sequence. Upon Maestro Domingo’s downbeat, three aerialists appear one by one from above, appearing to audiences as if they’re swimming through water.
In a production that’s been called a “treat for the eyes and the ears” (LA Daily News), the opening sequence has garnered buzz regarding whether the sequence was a projection or used real people to create the illusion. The “swimmers” are very much real, thanks to the wonderful choreography from movement director Andrew Dawson.
On October 7, Angelenos experienced a rare treat. We opened George Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers – lesser known than his famous Carmen, but no less stunning for both opera aficionados and newbies. Critics have already been raving about the production, calling it “stunning” (LA Times), “enthralling” (Broadway World) and “eye-dazzling” (LA Daily News).
If the critics’ response isn’t enough, here’s a list of more reasons why The Pearl Fishers is a must-see this fall: