PLÁCIDO DOMINGO ELI AND EDYTHE BROAD GENERAL DIRECTOR

JAMES CONLON ELI AND EDYTHE BROAD GENERAL DIRECTOR

CHRISTOPHER KOELSCH PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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The College Advisory Committee invites graduate and undergraduate students to be a part of Team Opera! They volunteer at events, attend exclusive master classes and backstage tours, all while learning about potential careers in the arts. Committee members input is a vital part of how we plan future college programming at LA Opera. Get to know two of our members below!

The 2017/18 LA Opera College Advisory Committee (Photo: Anabel Romero/LA Opera)

The 2017/18 LA Opera College Advisory Committee (Photo: Anabel Romero/LA Opera)

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Matthew Aucoin, LA Opera’s Artist in Residence, is the composer, librettist and conductor of Crossing. Below are his program notes for his upcoming concert performance of Crossing at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on May 25 & 26.

Artist in Residence Matthew Aucoin in rehearsals for Crossing with tenor Brenton Ryan and baritone Rod Gilfry (Photo: Arya Roshanian/LA Opera)

Artist in Residence Matthew Aucoin in rehearsals for Crossing with tenor Brenton Ryan, baritone Rod Gilfry and pianist Jeremy Frank. (Photo: Arya Roshanian/LA Opera)

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When arriving for her interview a few weeks ago on an unusually rainy day in Los Angeles, mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson is all smiles. She’s just happy to be in the city, regardless of the weather.

“The apartment that I’m staying at has a rooftop and I can see the Hollywood sign,” said Costa-Jackson. “On my days off, I’ve been laying out and tanning, but I guess not today.”

Ginger Costa-Jackson in rehearsals for LA Opera's Rigoletto with The Duke (cover) Joshua Wheeker

Ginger Costa-Jackson in rehearsals for LA Opera’s Rigoletto with Joshua Wheeker, who covers the role of the Duke of Mantua. (Photo: Arya Roshanian/LA Opera)

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On May 12, LA Opera saw the return of Mark Lamos’ lavish production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto. KXLU has described it as “… a mesmerizing, powerfully sung and acted Rigoletto,” while Broadway World writes that Juan Jesus Rodriguez in the title role “is thunder itself for all three acts. In both singing and acting, he masterfully plays all the agonizing transitions of the character …”

The critics may love this timeless Verdi classic, but what does the public think? Read below for audience reactions to LA Opera’s Rigoletto!

Arturo Chacon-Cruz as the Duke of Mantua and Juan Jesus Rodriguez as Rigoletto in LA Opera's 2018 production of "Rigoletto." (Photo: Ken Howard / LA Opera)

Arturo Chacon-Cruz as the Duke of Mantua and Juan Jesus Rodriguez as Rigoletto in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Rigoletto. (Photo: Ken Howard / LA Opera)

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Welcome to the LA Opera Podcast — the place for you to learn all about our productions. On this episode, we’re focusing on Giuseppe Verdi’s timeless opera Rigoletto. Listen below to learn about the plot and the music, and hear from some of our principal cast members, including Lisette Oropesa, Juan Jesús Rodríguez and Arturo Chacón-Cruz, who go into detail about their characters.

Juan Jesus Rodriguez as Rigoletto, Craig Colclough as Monterone and Arturo Chacon-Cruz as the Duke of Mantua in LA Opera's 2018 production of "Rigoletto." (Photo: Ken Howard / LA Opera)

Juan Jesus Rodriguez as Rigoletto, Craig Colclough as Monterone and Arturo Chacon-Cruz as the Duke of Mantua in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Rigoletto. (Photo: Ken Howard / LA Opera)

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Matthew Aucoin, LA Opera’s Artist in Residence, is the conductor of Rigoletto.

Rigoletto is a thunderbolt, a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence—even for Verdi. It’s so familiar to opera audiences, however, that we might forget what an explosive, revolutionary piece it is, much the same way that overexposure to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has the tendency to blind us to that piece’s strangeness and messiness. Rigoletto crosses a threshold in operatic history; it contains a kind of quantum leap. It is here that Verdi, whose music had so far wrestled with two seemingly contradictory impulses—his gift for glorious, long-spun melodies in the mold of the bel canto tradition and a keen dramatic instinct that gave his music a rough-edged, distinctly un-bel canto quality—finally united these two tendencies.

Artist in Residence Matthew Aucoin in rehearsals

Artist in Residence Matthew Aucoin in rehearsals

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Stage Managers have some of the most important jobs in opera. Unlike other types of performing arts, such as musical theater, stage managers in the opera cue almost everything from paging artists to the stage, to entrances, to sound cues and special effects, stage managers pretty much run the show. It’s an enormous responsibility, one that Chelsea Antrim, Production Stage Manager at LA Opera, feels prepared for every performance.

Chelsea Antrim (fourth from right) with Garth Brooks (center) at the Plácido Domingo 50th Anniversary Concert (Photo: Steve Cohn)

Production Stage Manager Chelsea Antrim (fourth from right) with Garth Brooks (center) at the Plácido Domingo 50th Anniversary Concert
(Photo: Steve Cohn)

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Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto has been a staple in the standard operatic repertoire since its 1851 premiere, but its road to the stage was anything but smooth. Before you head to LA Opera’s production of Rigoletto on May 12, here are five things you may not already know about Verdi’s artistic process in writing this tour de force!

Rigoletto" returns to LA Opera in the Mark Lamos staging previously presented in Los Angeles in 2010. (Photo: Robert Millard)

Rigoletto returns to LA Opera in the Mark Lamos staging previously presented in Los Angeles in 2010. (Photo: Robert Millard)

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In a few short weeks, members of the Zarzuela Project will take the stage and sing their hearts out at the El Pueblo Historic Monument, their voices echoing down historic Olvera Street. But how did this group come together in the first place? And what is the Zarzuela Project?

LA Opera singers perform in Education and Community Engagement's The Zarzuela Project

Members of the Zarzuela Project, with lead teaching artist and director Melodee Fernandez (center, in red), performing at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. (Photo Credit: Jennifer Babcock)

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Vengeance. Betrayal. Love. And mercy. These are all ingredients that make for a tantalizing storyline. Opera is known to possess all of these exciting qualities, not to mention impeccable music that matches the fervor of the drama. Mozart’s The Clemency of Titus is no exception  since it’s 1791 premiere in Prague, the opera has since been staged all over the world at nearly all of the top opera houses. It’s not hard to see why this exciting production deals with how far one person is willing to go for power. And that’s what attracted Arya Roshanian, Content Specialist at LA Opera, to it in the first place.

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Musician and teacher Ruthie Buell has attended performances at LA Opera for several years. She recently became a season subscriber and shares her love of opera with her friends. She also discovered that her chess teacher also adores opera, who now frequently joins her for productions.  She has loved her experiences at LA Opera, describing opera as “so different and wonderful.”

Ruthie Buell

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Audra McDonald is an artist that transcends all genres. From the stage to television to the movie screen, there isn’t much she hasn’t already done. And with an Emmy Award, two Grammy Awards and a record-setting six Tony Awards, it’s safe to say she’s already established herself as an icon.

Broadway legend Audra McDonald

Broadway legend Audra McDonald

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Although mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven has only been a member of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program for a year, she’s already made her company debut as the  Vanderdendur in Candide. As the treacherous ship captain who double crosses Candide, she chewed up the stage. Later this month, she appears with Artist in Residence Matthew Aucoin and the other Domingo-Colburn-Stein YAPs on-tour in “Verdi: Bel Canto and Beyond.”

Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Taylor Raven (center) as the Venderdendur in LA Opera's 2018 production of Candide (Photo: Ken Howard)

Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Taylor Raven (center) as the Vanderdendur in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Candide (Photo: Ken Howard)

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Three Southern California college students were selected as the winners of LA Opera’s Rigoletto art contest.

Thanks to the generous support of GRoW @ Annenberg, a philanthropic initiative of the Annenberg Foundation, local college students were invited to create original artwork inspired by the company’s upcoming production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto, which opens on May 12. Students from 18 different southern California colleges submitted a total of 53 entries in a competition to see their artwork appear on the Rigoletto program cover and displayed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

The winning submissions of the 2018 LA Opera Poster Contest (From left: Benjamin Macias, First Place; Faith Angelie Dela Cruz, Second Place; Sean Devine Robinson, Third Place)

The winning submissions of the 2018 LA Opera Art Contest (From left: Benjamin Macias, first place; Faith Angelie Dela Cruz, second place; Sean Devine Robinson, third place)

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Fifty plus children are lined up onstage, holding hands and singing a victory march at the end of the children’s opera Brundibár as part of LA Opera’s Opera Camp. At the center, holding hands and singing with the same energy as the children, is Holocaust survivor Ela Weissberger. Before her passing last month, she traveled around the world to attend nearly every performance of Brundibár. Her story has been an inspiration and a driving force behind Opera Camp.

Ela Weissberger onstage with Opera Camp students in 2013

Ela Weissberger onstage with Opera Camp participants in 2013.

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One of the aspects that make LA Opera productions so grand is the hardworking staff at our costume shop. Located between the Fashion District and Boyle Heights in Los Angeles, LA Opera’s Costume Shop not only houses pieces from our current productions, but also contains archived garments from shows throughout our 32-year history.

Mark Lamos’ opulent production of Verdi’s Rigoletto contains intricate and vividly colored costumes designed by Constance Hoffman. In anticipation for LA Opera’s upcoming production of this Verdi masterpiece, here is an exclusive look at what our costumers are working on as we prepare to open on May 12!

The titular character's costume pieces from LA Opera's upcoming production of Verdi's Rigoletto (Photo: Arya Roshanian/LA Opera)

The titular character’s jester costume from LA Opera’s upcoming production of Verdi’s Rigoletto (Photo: Arya Roshanian/LA Opera)

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LA Opera is no stranger to the impassioned operas of Giuseppe Verdi. In the last six seasons alone, the company has staged five operas written by the Italian composer, from popular favorites including La Traviata, Falstaff and Macbeth, to lesser-known works like The Two Foscari and Nabucco.

Another classic – Rigoletto – returns to the stage on May 12. Here are five things you may not know about LA Opera’s upcoming production of Rigoletto!

George Gagnidze as the title character in Rigoletto (2010); Photo: Robert Millard

George Gagnidze as the title character in Rigoletto (2010) (Photo: Robert Millard)

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LA Opera has a long history of presenting new and unfamiliar contemporary opera on its stage. It is within the company’s mission to “produce world-class opera that preserves, promotes, and advances the art form while embodying the diversity, pioneering spirit, and artistic sensibility unique to Los Angeles”. Under the umbrella of the Contemporary Opera Initiative is Off Grand, a series of performances that take place in venues beyond the mainstage with a focus on experimental chamber work.

Thumbprint (2017); Photo: Larry Ho

LA Opera Off Grand and Beth Morrison Project’s production of Thumbprint (2017) (Photo: Larry Ho)

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Modern and contemporary work is not new to LA Opera audiences. Since its inception, the new and innovative have been an integral part of LA Opera’s history.

The New Yorker‘s Alex Ross recently said of LA Opera, “No American company of LA Opera’s size…is more committed to new and unusual work.”

Persona (Photo Credit: Lawrence K. Ho)

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