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)

The Broad Stage

The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center

The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center

We move from our home at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to The Broad Stage in Santa Monica for LA Opera Off Grand‘s performance of Scare Pair. Created in 2012, the objectives of Off Grand aim to “serve a broader geographical area, increase the diversity of our audience and expand the range of experiences available to existing audiences.” This isn’t the first time LA Opera has collaborated with The Broad Stage either — together we presented the world premiere of Lee Holdridge’s Dulce Rosa there in 2013.

Gordon Getty

Scare Pair composer Gordon Getty

Scare Pair composer Gordon Getty

Scare Pair composer Gordon Getty is not only a classical music composer, but an investor, businessman and philanthropist as well. The fourth son of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, Gordon received his bachelor’s degree in English from University of San Francisco before ultimately deciding to pursue music full-time. He went on to study music at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and subsequently wrote a myriad of other operas and orchestral compositions, including Plump JackHomework Suite and many more.

LA Opera Debuts

Tenor Dominic Armstrong (Edgar Allan Poe/Duke Cecil), baritone Keith Phares (Roderick Usher/Hiram Otis) and director Brian Staufenbiel

Tenor Dominic Armstrong (Edgar Allan Poe/Duke Cecil), baritone Keith Phares (Roderick Usher/Hiram Otis) and director Brian Staufenbiel

Most of the artists performing in Usher House and The Canterville Ghost make their LA Opera debut in these performances! Tenor Dominic Armstrong, who has performed on stages all across the country, finally makes his way to LA to perform the roles of Edgar Allan Poe and Duke Cecil. Keith Phares, who has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Shoshana Foundation, debuts as Roderick Usher and Mr. Hiram Otis. Brian Staufenbiel, who is the creative and stage director for Opera Parallèle in San Francisco, makes his way south for his directorial debut with LA Opera.

Female Conductor

Scare Pair conductor Sara Jobin

Scare Pair conductor Sara Jobin

In addition, conductor Sara Jobin makes her LAO debut in Scare Pair. As the chief conductor of the Center of Contemporary Opera, Jobin has also conducted operas all around the country. Most noticeably, she made history as the first female conductor at San Francisco Opera in its 2004 production of Tosca. She has since conducted a total of 17 performances in five productions at the company. Next season, she makes her LA Philharmonic debut in the Green Umbrella New Music Series.

Young Artist Alum

Summer Hassan; Photo: Kristin Hoebermann

Summer Hassan, soprano (Photo: Kristin Hoebermann)

We also have a Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist alum in the mix! Soprano Summer Hassan, who participated in the program from 2014-17, returns to LA Opera as Madeline Usher (voice)/Virginia Otis in Scare Pair. Hassan also performed both roles at the Center of Contemporary Opera in New York City last October, and has been seen at Wolf Trap Opera since completing her tenure at LA Opera. Next season, she’ll debut as Pip in Moby-Dick for Chicago Opera Theater.

For more information or to purchase tickets for Scare Pair, click here.

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