Author Archives: LA Opera Staff

Celebrating Plácido Domingo’s 50 Years in Los Angeles — With A Concert

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.

Placido Domingo on the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. (Photo: Art Streiber)

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The Generations of Opera: Fostering a New Age of Opera Lovers

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.

Pagliacci (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

The cast of Pagliacci (2015)

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Opera Meets Film: How Persona Moves From Screen To Stage, To The Screen Again

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.

A scene from “Persona.” (Photo: Noah Stern Weber, courtesy of Beth Morrison Projects)

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La Belle et la Bête: Notes from Composer Philip Glass

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.

Philip Glass composed a new operatic soundtrack for Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film La Belle et la Bête.

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Paul and Marybelle Musco Matching Gift Challenge

Paul and Marybelle Musco; Photo: Steve Cohn

Paul and Marybelle Musco; Photo: Steve Cohn

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.

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Meet Plácido Domingo and James Conlon — Macbeth DVD Signing

Share 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 … Continue reading

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Nabucco: A Note from Music Director James Conlon

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.

LOS ANGELES, CA. Sep. 6, 2016. LA Opera’s production of ‘Macbeth’ at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. (Photo Credit: Lawrence K. Ho)

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Cast to Class Program Brings Javier Camarena to LA County School

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.

Tenor Javier Camarena visits a group of students at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

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Seven Opera-Themed Halloween Costumes for 2017

This Halloween, don’t settle for a costume that’s stale or subpar. Using LA Opera as your inspiration, find the perfect get-up that’ll both wow the crowd and allow you to stand out!

La Belle et La Bete

La Belle et La Bête

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5 Reasons to See The Pearl Fishers

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).

A scene from Penny Woolcock's production of The Pearl Fishers at the Metropolitan Opera (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

A scene from Penny Woolcock’s production of The Pearl Fishers at the Metropolitan Opera (2015); Photo: Ken Howard

If the critics’ response isn’t enough, here’s a list of more reasons why The Pearl Fishers is a must-see this fall:

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Notes on the ‘Nabucco’ Scenic Design from Director Thaddeus Strassberger

A formative part of my training as an opera director and designer was spent at the Accademia Teatro alla Scala. This “temple of opera”—as both a building and a company of artists—has existed largely unchanged since 1776 and has produced hundreds of world premieres, including many of Verdi’s operas.

Scenic artist Paolino Libralato works on the Nabucco set (Photo: Thaddeus Strassberger)

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Singers, Students and Science: The Hubble Cantata Hits LA

LA Opera has several education and community programs offering teachers and students, offering them a taste of the many careers students can pursue in the future. Opera Prep is one of those programs. It offers teachers the opportunity to bring their students to the opera, as well as introduce them to some of the most talented professionals in the arts world. … Continue reading

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Nabucco and Verdi’s Creative Identity

A scene from Washington National Opera's Nabucco (2012); Photo: Scott Suchman

A scene from Washington National Opera’s Nabucco (2012); Photo: Scott Suchman

Giuseppe Verdi regarded Nabucco, his third work to reach the stage, as the catalyst that set the rest of his career in motion.

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Penny Woolcock on Directing Opera

Penny Woolcock directing a scene from The Pearl Fishers at LA Opera

Penny Woolcock directing a scene from The Pearl Fishers at LA Opera

Over the past 17 years, British filmmaker Penny Woolcock has made a name for herself in the opera world. After directing a film adaptation of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer (which won the Jury Prize at the Brussels European Film Festival and the Prix Italia), Woolcock staged John Adams’ Doctor Atomic at the Metropolitan Opera and the English National Opera. She followed Doctor Atomic with a production of The Pearl Fishers at the English National Opera (ENO) in 2010, which ENO revived last year and which also had a successful run at the Metropolitan Opera. Now, Woolcock has brought The Pearl Fishers to Los Angeles. Before a rehearsal, we sat down with Woolcock to discuss her entry into the opera world and how she brings The Pearl Fishers to life.

You’ve had a successful career in film and television especially with the Tina trilogy, Tina Goes Shopping, Tina Takes a Break and One Mile Away. What drew you to opera?

I love music. When I was a teenager, I lived in Buenos Aires and I used to go the Teatro Colón with a friend. We were so high up, you couldn’t see the stage unless you held the other person’s legs while leaning over the balcony. [laughter] It’s been something I’ve always had a feeling for but I never imagined I would get a chance to direct it.

I’d also really loved John Adams’s music. I remember going into a record shop in Newcastle in 1988 and they were playing Nixon in China. I asked the guy in the store and asked, “What is this? I must have it!” Then, in the late ‘90s, I went to a concert performance of the The Death of Klinghoffer choruses. I was really moved by the way the first two heartbreaking choruses express the claims of two traumatized, dispossessed people over the same piece of land. It brought me to tears and the friend I was with saw that and said, ‘You should make a film of it,’ and I thought, ‘Yes, I should.’ I emailed the head of Channel 4 Music and to my surprise my phone rang immediately and she said, ‘What a fantastic idea!’ I was sort of known for making films about tough inner-city communities, not opera, but she thought that I might invent something different than just filming a staged performance. Then, obviously, I had to see if John Adams would approve. Again, it was one of those right place, right time moments, because he said that he’d always wanted someone to make a movie of one of his operas.

So, I made The Death of Klinghoffer.

We filmed John conducting the London Symphony Orchestra and we recorded the singers in isolation booths at Abbey Road Studios (where The Beatles famously recorded).

Once we had that, we hired a cruise line and sailed across the Mediterranean. We shot the film on location. John’s assistant conductor came with us and was running around behind the camera, conducting the singers as we shot them with a handheld camera. It was quite a magical experience and funnily enough we ended up using over 80% of the live sound in the final mix.
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One Day. One Opera. Across the County.

Share   Opera under the stars Yes, it’s fall, but only in Los Angeles can you take advantage of the Southern California weather, grab a blanket and a picnic and experience opera under the stars. This Saturday, you can do just … Continue reading

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Susan Graham – A Dream Mentor Arrives at LA Opera

Susan Graham (center) with LA Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists (from left: Taylor Raven, Joshua Wheeker, Juan Carlos Heredia, Carlos Enrique Santelli, Theo Hoffmann, Milena Gligic, Aurelia Andrews, Brian Michael Moore, Liv Redpath, Elizabeth Zharoff, and Michelle Siemens)

Susan Graham (center) with LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists (from left: Taylor Raven, Joshua Wheeker, Juan Carlos Heredia, Carlos Enrique Santelli, Theo Hoffman, Milena Gligic, Aurelia Andrews, Brian Michael Moore, Liv Redpath, Elizabeth Zharoff, and Michelle Siemens)

Grammy Award-winner Susan Graham is a legend.

For decades, the mezzo-soprano has been one of opera’s greatest stars. She’s shared her voice with audiences worldwide and mastered an astonishing range of repertoire from classics like the title character in Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea (unforgettable at LA Opera in 2006) to Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking (a role written for her). This season, she adds another great role to her expanding resume: Artistic Advisor to LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein young artists.
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Pittance Is Back!

Members of Pittance Chamber Music

Members of Pittance Chamber Music

This Saturday afternoon, Pittance Chamber Music returns!

Pittance is comprised of LA Opera Orchestra Principals and for this concert, in particular, Steven Becknell and Stuart Clark are performing chamber works featuring their instruments.

The concert will also feature Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists Elizabeth Zharoff and Milena Gligic.
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Amanda Woodbury Returns To LA Opera

Amanda Woodbury

Amanda Woodbury

Since “graduating” from our Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program in 2014, soprano Amanda Woodbury has become one of opera’s rising stars. She’s sung Musetta in La bohème here at LA Opera, Konstanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio at Dayton Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera, and multiple roles at the Metropolitan Opera, including a star turn as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette and Leïla in The Pearl Fishers. Now, Woodbury returns to sing Micaëla in Carmen, the role with which she made her professional here in 2013.

Before our last orchestra tech, we caught up with Woodbury to discuss how she fell into opera and how her performance of Micaëla has evolved.
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Sir Peter Hall – An Incredible Talent

Share The peerless stage director Sir Peter Hall (November 22, 1930 – September 11, 2017) was the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, a former director of the National Theatre in London, and had a thriving career in the world’s … Continue reading

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Falling in Love with Opera Helped Change Ting Perlis’s Life

Ting (left) and Deborah (right) Perlis at a performance of The Abduction from the Seraglio (2017)

Ting (left) and Deborah (right) Perlis at a performance of The Abduction from the Seraglio (2017)

A few months ago, we received an extraordinary letter from Deborah Perlis.

Perlis’s daughter, Ting, took part in two of our education and community engagement programs, and Deborah was eager to share with us just how much Ting’s opera experience helped change her life.

When Ting was diagnosed with autism at the age of 10, she and her mother Deborah didn’t know what do. For the next few years, all they heard from professionals was a laundry list of things that Ting would never do or have. Ting struggled in school, had low self-esteem and rarely spoke of her future, except to ask what would become of her.

Despite all the challenges Ting faces every day, she has always had a love of singing.

On a whim, Deborah reached out to our Education and Community Engagement team to discuss some options for Ting. With their help, Ting began her journey at LA Opera.
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