Tag Archives: 2017/2018

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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Six Questions for Victoria Jaiani of the Joffrey Ballet

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.

Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili , two dancers from the Joffrey Ballet, as Orpheus and Eurydice in the "Imaginery Ballet" that concludes LA Opera's 2018 production of "Orpheus and Eurydice." (Photo: Ken Howard)

Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili , two dancers from the Joffrey Ballet, as Orpheus and Eurydice in the “Imaginary Ballet” that concludes LA Opera’s 2018 production of Orpheus and Eurydice. (Photo: Ken Howard)

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Take a Peek Inside Rehearsals with The Joffrey Ballet!

On March 10, LA Opera premieres John Neumeier’s new staging of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice in partnership with The Joffrey Ballet. Coincidentally, the Joffrey also opens its production of Krzysztof Pastor’s “critically-acclaimed” re-telling of Romeo & Juliet the same week at The Music Center.

Fabrice Calmels and Jeraldine Mendoza, two dancers from the Joffrey Ballet, in LA Opera's 2018 production of "Orpheus and Eurydice." (Photo: Ken Howard)

Fabrice Calmels and Jeraldine Mendoza, two dancers from the Joffrey Ballet, in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Orpheus and Eurydice. (Photo: Ken Howard)

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Lisette Oropesa Talks Eurydice, Gilda and Strong Female Characters

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.

Lisette Oropesa as Eurydice (with Maxim Mironov, rear left, as Orpheus) in LA Opera's 2018 production of "Orpheus and Eurydice." (Photo: Ken Howard)

Lisette Oropesa as Eurydice (with Maxim Mironov, rear left, as Orpheus) in LA Opera’s 2018 production of Orpheus and Eurydice. (Photo: Ken Howard)

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Myth and Recovery, Music and Rebellion: A Note from Music Director James Conlon on Orpheus and Eurydice

“But Lot’s wife looked back as she lingered behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”
Genesis 19:17, Luke 17:32

“Then he turned to her. It was too soon; she was still in the cavern. He saw her in the dim light, and he held out his arms to clasp her; but on the instant she was gone.
The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice (from Edith Hamilton’s Mythology)

The act of looking back, with its rewards and perils, reveals, conceals, mystifies and clarifies. It can be a source of inspiration or of loss and regret. It is an inducement to creativity or a temptation to indulge our regressive tendencies.

James Conlon, Richard Seaver Music Director of LA Opera (Photo: Robert Millard)

James Conlon, Richard Seaver Music Director of LA Opera (Photo: Robert Millard)

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