Author Archives: LA Opera Staff

Summertime at The Opera: What Are We Up To? — Part I

Summer is a peaceful time on the LA Opera stage — but though the stage is quiet, the offices remain abuzz! With the house empty for the next two and a half months, we use this time wisely to prepare for next season’s productions.

A scene from William Friedkin 2004 production of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos at LA Opera

A scene from William Friedkin 2004 production of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos at LA Opera

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Honoring Tenor Andy Ramirez

All of us at LA Opera are incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of tenor Andres (Andy) Ramirez. Andy has been a part of the LAO family since he was 11 years old, when he sang in the 2001 production of Puccini’s Tosca as a member of the LA Children’s Chorus. He participated in one of the first Opera Camps and continued his musical education at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA). He was 28 years old.

Tenor Andy Ramirez

Tenor Andy Ramirez

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Opera Under the Stars – Get Ready for LA Opera’s Simulcast

Mark Your Calendars. We’re presenting a free, live simulcast of Verdi’s Don Carlo starring Plácido Domingo and conducted by James Conlon, will be broadcast live in high-definition from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to the big screen at El Cariso Community Regional Park in Sylmar, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

Opera at the Beach (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Opera at the Beach (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

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Six Questions With Soprano Summer Hassan

Soprano Summer Hassan graduated from LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist program last year, but she’s kept in touch with us since she’s departed from Los Angeles. Fresh off-the-heels of her performances as Virginia Otis in LA Opera’s recent production of Gordon Getty’s Scare Pair: Usher House/The Canterville Ghost, Hassan is heading back home to Philadelphia before embarking on one of the most exciting endeavors of her career: competing in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition.

Summer Hassan; Photo: Kristin Hoebermann

Summer Hassan; Photo: Kristin Hoebermann

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Get To Know LA Opera’s Summer 2018 Interns!

Summer always means new faces when we welcome our interns at LA Opera. Curious to know what it means to spend the summer at the opera? Hint: it’s more than just singing all day.

Learn more about our interns below!

LA Opera's 2018 Summer Interns

LA Opera’s 2018 Summer Interns

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Love Our Annual Simulcast? Thank LA County.

LA Opera’s simulcast is one of our newest and most expansive programs, sharing the first opera of the season with thousands of Angelenos — in two diverse geographic locations and all at the same time.

Through the generous commitment of Los Angeles County and the Board of Supervisors, LA Opera will continue its simulcasts on Sept. 22, 2018 with Verdi’s Don Carlo, live at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and with a live broadcast at El Cariso Community Regional Park in Sylmar.

Opera at the Park in Exposition Park (2017)

Opera at the Park in Exposition Park (2017)

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Where Will Your Favorite LA Opera Artists Be This Summer?

Ever wonder where your favorite LA Opera artists go when the season is over? Well, they travel the world! From Santa Fe to Salzburg, these singers have a busy summer ahead performing on stages around the globe. Read below to see where some of them are traveling before returning to Los Angeles!

Placido Domingo (left) and James Conlon (third from left) confer at a rehearsal for "Nabucco," joined by assistant conductor Louis Loraseb and Mr. Conlon's musical assistant, Ignazio Terrasi (photo: Ken Howard)

Placido Domingo (left) and James Conlon (third from left) confer at a rehearsal for “Nabucco,” joined by assistant conductor Louis Loraseb and Mr. Conlon’s musical assistant, Ignazio Terrasi (photo: Ken Howard)

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Opera By The Numbers: How We’ve Reached New Audiences Through Education and Community Programs!

It’s no secret that we’re passionate about opera. Here at LA Opera, we want as many people as possible to experience this remarkable art form. We invite scores of school children into free performances and provide specially priced tickets for community groups at every mainstage performance.  We also travel to schools and teach children to perform an opera for their community.

Baritone Cedric Berry at KUSC’s playground pop-up (Photo: Tony Roman)

Baritone Cedric Berry at KUSC’s playground pop-up (Photo: Tony Roman)

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Opera Meets Literature: Usher House/The Canterville Ghost

Opera and literature have long been paired together. The early operas of Monteverdi, Vivaldi and Handel were primarily, if not exclusively, based on tales derived from Greek mythology. As opera expanded outside of the royal court and into the public following the classical period in the mid-18th century, so did the story lines — librettists and composers began finding inspiration outside of mythology, but still within the written word.

On June 22, LA Opera stages the LA premiere of Gordon Getty’s double-bill Usher House and The Canterville Ghost. Labelled quirkily as the “Scare Pair,” both operas take inspiration from 19th century works of literature.

Dominic Armstrong (front) as Edgar Allen Poe, with Keith Phares as Roderick Usher and Jamielyn Duggan as Madeline Usher in "Usher House" (Photo: Steven Pisano / Center for Contemporary Opera)

Dominic Armstrong (front) as Edgar Allen Poe, with Keith Phares as Roderick Usher and Jamielyn Duggan as Madeline Usher in “Usher House” (Photo: Steven Pisano / Center for Contemporary Opera)

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Five Things You May Not Already Know About Scare Pair: Usher House/The Canterville Ghost

LA Opera is just a few days from the Los Angeles premiere of Gordon Getty’s Scare Pair: Usher House/The Canterville Ghost. This Off Grand presentation is the last production of the 2017/18 season. In anticipation for the performances, here are five things you may not already know about the production!

Keith Phares as Roderick Usher and Jamielyn Duggan as Madeline Usher in "Usher House" (photo: Steven Pisano / Center for Contemporary Opera)

Keith Phares as Roderick Usher and Jamielyn Duggan as Madeline Usher in “Usher House” (photo: Steven Pisano / Center for Contemporary Opera)

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Why We Sing: LA Opera and City of Hope

Through the combined efforts of community venues and LA Opera, the public has access to opera throughout Los Angeles County, with recitals tailored to each individual community. Performances take place at a variety of spaces including libraries, museums, hospitals, community centers, senior centers and outdoor venues.

Read about LA Opera artist Ashley Faatoalia’s experience singing at a previous concert at City of Hope, in anticipation of an upcoming concert on June 15.

LA Opera artist Ashley Faatoalia

LA Opera artist Ashley Faatoalia

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Introducing the 2018/19 Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists!

Plácido Domingo, LA Opera’s Eli and Edythe Broad General Director, announced today that he has chosen the performers who will join LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program in the 2018/19 season. The artists were chosen from 650 applicants, 200 live auditions and, ultimately, 28 final candidates.

The 2018/19 Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists

The 2018/19 Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists

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The College Advisory Committee – Inspiring the Next Generation of Opera Lovers

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 On His Opera ‘Crossing’

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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Read What Audiences Are Saying About Rigoletto!

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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LA Opera Podcast: Introduction to Rigoletto

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 on Rigoletto

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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Staff Profiles: Getting to Know Production Stage Manager Chelsea Antrim

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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Rigoletto 101: A Brief History of Verdi’s Masterpiece

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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The Zarzuela Project: Learning About Opera Through Performance

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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