Tag Archives: 2017/2018

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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Five Spooky Things To Do in LA This Summer!

If you keep on the pulse of arts and entertainment (and of course you do, you’re on the LA Opera blog 😉) we’re sure you’ve noticed an influx of horror movies hit the theatres, scary TV shows on the small screen and a few spooky events crop up around the Los Angeles area. Why has the horror genre seen such a resurgence, and a summer one at that?! We like to think it has something to do the fact that horror is one of the only genres that elicits a physical response — a cold sweat, a yelp, a scream, a cry for help in the middle of the night when you’ve thought you’ve just seen a ghost.

Sure, you could go to the beach and dine al fresco all summer long, but really — this is California and you can do that all year long, so why not do something a bit out of the ordinary and get your spook on this summer? Here are five creepy things to do in LA this summer.

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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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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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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Ginger Costa-Jackson Discusses Maddalena in LA Opera’s Rigoletto

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.”

Ginger Costa-Jackson in rehearsals for LA Opera's Rigoletto with The Duke (cover) Joshua Wheeker

Ginger Costa-Jackson in rehearsals for LA Opera’s Rigoletto with Joshua Wheeker, who covers the role of the Duke of Mantua. (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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Audra McDonald: An Artist Who Transcends Genre

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.

Broadway legend Audra McDonald

Broadway legend Audra McDonald

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From the Opera Stage to a Recital Tour: Getting to Know Young Artist Taylor Raven

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.”

Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Taylor Raven (center) as the Venderdendur in LA Opera's 2018 production of Candide (Photo: Ken Howard)

Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Taylor Raven (center) as the Vanderdendur in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Candide (Photo: Ken Howard)

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LA Opera Announces Three Winners for Rigoletto Art Contest

Three Southern California college students were selected as the winners of LA Opera’s Rigoletto art contest.

Thanks to the generous support of GRoW @ Annenberg, a philanthropic initiative of the Annenberg Foundation, local college students were invited to create original artwork inspired by the company’s upcoming production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto, which opens on May 12. Students from 18 different southern California colleges submitted a total of 53 entries in a competition to see their artwork appear on the Rigoletto program cover and displayed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

The winning submissions of the 2018 LA Opera Poster Contest (From left: Benjamin Macias, First Place; Faith Angelie Dela Cruz, Second Place; Sean Devine Robinson, Third Place)

The winning submissions of the 2018 LA Opera Art Contest (From left: Benjamin Macias, first place; Faith Angelie Dela Cruz, second place; Sean Devine Robinson, third place)

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Inside the Costume Shop: Rigoletto

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

Mark Lamos’ opulent production of Verdi’s Rigoletto contains intricate and vividly colored costumes designed by Constance Hoffman. In anticipation for LA Opera’s upcoming production of this Verdi masterpiece, here is an exclusive look at what our costumers are working on as we prepare to open on May 12!

The titular character's costume pieces from LA Opera's upcoming production of Verdi's Rigoletto (Photo: Arya Roshanian/LA Opera)

The titular character’s jester costume from LA Opera’s upcoming production of Verdi’s Rigoletto (Photo: Arya Roshanian/LA Opera)

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Five Highlights From Rigoletto To Look Forward To

LA Opera is no stranger to the impassioned operas of Giuseppe Verdi. In the last six seasons alone, the company has staged five operas written by the Italian composer, from popular favorites including La Traviata, Falstaff and Macbeth, to lesser-known works like The Two Foscari and Nabucco.

Another classic – Rigoletto – returns to the stage on May 12. Here are five things you may not know about LA Opera’s upcoming production of Rigoletto!

George Gagnidze as the title character in Rigoletto (2010); Photo: Robert Millard

George Gagnidze as the title character in Rigoletto (2010) (Photo: Robert Millard)

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Verdi: Bel Canto and Beyond – Domingo-Colburn-Stein YAPs in Concert

Timed to coincide with LA Opera’s production of Verdi’s classic Rigoletto, this concert program focuses on the emergence of Verdi, Italy’s quintessential composer, out of the bel canto greats that preceded him. This concert features LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists, with music and program arranged by LA Opera Artist-In-Residence Matthew Aucoin.


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Read What Audiences Are Saying About Orpheus and Eurydice!

John Neumeier’s haunting new production of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice has been been called “exquisite” (LA Times) and “an achingly beautiful dream of a show” (Chicago Tribune). But what does the public think? Check out what audiences are saying about LA Opera’s Orpheus and Eurydice!

Dancers from the Joffrey Ballet, in LA Opera's 2018 production of "Orpheus and Eurydice." (Photo: Ken Howard)

Dancers from the Joffrey Ballet, in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Orpheus and Eurydice. (Photo: Ken Howard)

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Orpheus & Eurydice: Stephen Fry and James Conlon In Conversation on March 25

JUST ANNOUNCED:

Stephen Fry — English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, and film director — will join Maestro James Conlon for a conversation about the Orpheus & Eurydice myth throughout literature and music.

The conversation is free to anyone who attends the matinee performance on Sunday, March 25 and will take place directly after the performance.

If you need tickets for the performance, click here.

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