Faces of the Opera
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 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!
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
Joffrey dancer Victoria Jaiani knows a thing or two about ballet — she’s been training in the art since age 10. Since joining the Joffrey Ballet in 2003, she’s gone on to perform roles such as Giselle (Giselle), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), Terpsichore (Apollo) and many more.
Though she’s well-seasoned in ballet, Jaiani is new to the world of opera. Currently appearing in Orpheus and Eurydice, she had the opportunity to answer our questions on working with opera singers, as well as her insight on the daily life of a ballerina.
For a lyric-coloratura soprano like Lisette Oropesa, it can be easy to be pigeonholed into the many mistreated ingenue roles that dominate the repertoire. But Oropesa has broken that mold. At only 34 years old, she already has a wide array of repertoire. From Baroque to bel canto to new music, she has sung it all.
This season, Oropesa returns to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage in two back-to-back roles. On March 10, she makes her role debut as Eurydice in John Neumeier’s new staging of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice. In May, she assumes the role of Gilda in the first three performances of Verdi’s Rigoletto.
John Neumeier is director, choreographer, set designer, costume designer and lighting designer for LA Opera’s new production of Orpheus and Eurydice (performed here in its 1774 French revision as Orphée et Eurydice). His staging comes to Los Angeles after performances earlier this season at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and it will be presented next season by a third co-producer, the Hamburg State Opera, featuring the Hamburg Ballet, where Mr. Neumeier is director and chief choreographer. During rehearsals for the Chicago performances, he spoke with Roger Pines, dramaturg of Lyric Opera of Chicago.
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.
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!
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.
Soprano Liv Redpath may have her sights set on a singing career, but opera isn’t her only passion. This member of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program is keen on maintaining a myriad of interests beyond the stage, most notably her love of literature.
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.
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.