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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Soprano Erin Morley takes her job as a performer very seriously. That’s why she spends so much time dissecting the roles she sings to get to their true grit. Even an operetta like Candide, which is seemingly whimsical and lighthearted, has plenty of dark themes at its core that are relatable in today’s society.

Erin Morley as Cunegonde in LA Opera's 2018 production of "Candide." (Photo: Ken Howard)

Erin Morley as Cunegonde in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Candide. (Photo: Ken Howard)

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February is the month of many things; scrambling to find a decent gift for your significant other for Valentine’s Day, praising the heavens for that three-day weekend for Presidents’ Day and — of course — Black History Month. From Jesse Owens’ historic achievements at the 1936 Summer Olympics to Bessie Coleman’s accomplishment of becoming the first Black female pilot in 1922 — achievements by Black individuals throughout American history are abundant.

But what about the opera world? We’ve rounded up six (although there are plenty more!) opera singers who changed the landscape of the art!

Tenor George Shirley and soprano Leontyne Price rehearse for"Così fan tutte" (Photo Rights: RCA Victor Records)

Tenor George Shirley and soprano Leontyne Price rehearse for Così fan tutte (Photo Rights: RCA Victor Records)

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On March 16 and 17, LA Opera Education Department mounts the return of Jonah and the Whale, an opera for audiences of all ages by composer Jack Perla and librettist Velina Hasu Houston. Following in the tradition of previous Cathedral Project productions, Jonah and the Whale features professional opera singers in the leading roles and members of the LA Opera Orchestra, performing along with a large group of community-based performers drawn from schools, churches, choirs and orchestras from every part of Los Angeles.

Interested in attending? Here for five elements of the upcoming production that make it worth seeing!

A scene from LA Opera Education Department's 2014 production of Jonah and the Whale (Photo: Robert Millard ©)

A scene from LA Opera’s 2014 production of Jonah and the Whale (Photo: Robert Millard)

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Due to its strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency, LA Opera is recognized as a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.

Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator

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On January 27, we opened the second half of our 2017/18 season with Leonard Bernstein’s comedic operetta Candide. Interested in attending and want to know what people thought? Read below to read just some of the many audience reactions from the show!

Kelsey Grammer as Voltaire and Jack Swanson as Candide in LA Opera's 2018 production of "Candide." (Photo: Ken Howard)

Kelsey Grammer as Voltaire and Jack Swanson as Candide in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Candide. (Photo: Ken Howard)

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LA Opera is hosting a contest for currently enrolled college art and design students in Southern California.

You are invited to submit artwork for LA Opera’s spring production of Verdi’s Rigoletto! The winning submission will be featured on the cover of the show’s performance program and displayed at the home of LA Opera, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

"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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Last week, LA Opera announced its 2018-19 season! The exciting lineup includes both world and company premieres, as well as works regularly seen on the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Can’t wait until next season? Here are five highlights to look forward to next fall!

Artwork by Keith Rainville (LA Opera)

Artwork by Keith Rainville (LA Opera)

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Saturday Mornings at the Opera are special days. Young audiences walk into a Dorothy Chandler Pavilion that has been transformed into a creative play-land.  The downstairs lobby is full of art, music, and dance workshops. Stern Grand Hall upstairs has been filled with comfy pillows, perfect seats for little opera fans. And today, the children are in for a special treat: singing lessons from an LA Opera artist.

LA Opera artists perform at Saturday Mornings at the Opera (Photo: Taso Papadakis)

LA Opera artists perform at Saturday Mornings at the Opera (Photo: Taso Papadakis)

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Renowned director Francesca Zambello brings her fanciful production of Candide to Los Angeles for the first time. First seen at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2015, with subsequent performances in Bordeaux and Toulouse, Zambello’s staging has been praised by Opera Today as “likely the best of all possible Candides.” And though the production is new to the company, Zambello is no stranger to Los Angeles: this is her seventh production with LA Opera.

American director Francesca Zambello

American director Francesca Zambello

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“I am thrice homeless, as a native of Bohemia in Austria, as an Austrian among Germans, and as a Jew throughout the world. Everywhere an intruder, never welcomed.”—Gustav Mahler

What does that famous quote have to do with Candide, Voltaire and Leonard Bernstein? This year the world celebrates the Bernstein centenary. For those of us who grew up in New York in the fifties and sixties, he was our inspiration. Looking back at this giant, who seemed to be the embodiment of music—classical, jazz and popular—it is hard to believe that one man could be and do all he was and did: conductor, composer, pianist, lecturer and educator all rolled into one.

Jack Swanson (Candide) in a rehearsal with Music Director James Conlon for LA Opera's 2018 production of "Candide." (Photo: Ken Howard)

Jack Swanson (Candide) in a rehearsal with Music Director James Conlon for LA Opera’s 2018 production of “Candide.” (Photo: Ken Howard)

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One of the aspects that make LA Opera productions so grand is the hardworking staff at our costume shop. Located in 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.

In anticipation of Candide, here is an exclusive look at what our costumers are working on as we prepare to open on Jan. 27.

A scene from Candide (2015); Photo: Karli Cadel / Glimmerglass Festival

A scene from Candide (2015); Photo: Karli Cadel / Glimmerglass Festival

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When tenor Nathan Granner and mezzo-soprano Joanna Lynn-Jacobs step on stage for Saturday Mornings at the Opera it will be their first time performing with LA Opera. But it won’t be their first time performing together.  They have spent the last couple of years performing together as classmates at the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA. Both are excited to use their skills and training to share their love of opera with young audiences.

Tenor Nathan Granner and mezzo-soprano Joanna Lynn-Jacobs in Who Wants To Be an Opera Singer?

Tenor Nathan Granner and mezzo-soprano Joanna Lynn-Jacobs in Who Wants To Be an Opera Singer?

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One of the greatest works in Western literature, Voltaire’s 1759 satirical novel Candide, or Optimism follows its eponymous hero on a whirlwind tour throughout much of the known world. Bernstein’s 1956 musicalization of the novel followed almost as many twists and turns on its journey from Broadway to the opera house.

On Jan. 27, we resume our 2017-18 season with Bernstein’s masterpiece. Before you go, here is everything you need to know about Candide.

A still from the original 1956 production of Bernstein's Candide. (From left to right: Max Adrian, Louis Edmonds, Barbara Cook and Robert Rounseville).

A still from the original 1956 production of Bernstein’s Candide. (From left to right: Max Adrian, Louis Edmonds, Barbara Cook and Robert Rounseville).

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On Jan. 27, LA Opera returns for the second half of its 2017-18 season with Leonard Bernstein’s classic operetta Candide. With the premiere only weeks away, here are five highlights to look forward to in the lavish production.

A scene from Candide (2015); Photo: Karli Cadel / Glimmerglass Festival

A scene from Candide (2015); Photo: Karli Cadel / Glimmerglass Festival

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When the nurses at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center had their morning huddle in preparation for another day in the ICU, they knew it was going to be a special day. While their normal days involve treating patients in crisis, this day would include the annual visit from LA Opera’s Holiday Music Tour.

LA Opera artists sing at City of Hope Medical Center for the Hope for the Holidays concert

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The holidays are right around the corner and LA Opera wants to help you celebrate! In anticipation for the upcoming festivities, here is a list of five opera-themed cocktails to serve at your next holiday party!

LA Opera’s 2014 production of La Traviata (Photo: Craig T Mathew/LA Opera)

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Prior to every performance, LA Opera’s acclaimed Music Director Maestro James Conlon and other scholars of note hold an engaging and informative talk about the opera our audience is about to see. Generously sponsored by The Flora L. Thornton Foundation and The Opera League of Los Angeles, these talks are free of charge to those attending the performance and take place in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall inside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

As LA Opera looks forward to the new year, here’s a recap of our Pre-Show Talks for the beginning of our 2017-18 season!

LA Opera’s production of ‘Macbeth’ at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. (Photo Credit: Lawrence K. Ho)

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For Alma Guzman, Los Angeles would be a difficult city to live in were it not for LA Opera. She expresses, “It does something to you…it’s very healing…it just enriches my life.”Alma has loved opera from the time she was a child living in Vienna, where she was able to stand in the back of the theater for performances at the Staatsoper for five cents apiece. Her parents encouraged her passion for opera, her father himself having participated in a “Claque,” where he was granted free admission to operas so long as he applauded especially loudly for particular singers only.

Alma Guzman

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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.

Students perform in Eli Villanueva’s The White Bird of Poston

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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.”

Plácido Domingo and Leonard Bernstein (Nov. 14, 1986)

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