Los Angeles Opera Theater (LAOT) will open its 1985-86 season with a new production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" July 9, 12 and 13 in its new home, the Wiltern Theater.
Johanna Dordick, artistic director of the company, viewed the move from the Wilshire Ebell Theatre to the recently renovated, 2,400-seat Wiltern as "a major turning point" for the company.
Dordick said that the Wiltern's large stage (55 feet wide, 45 feet deep) and pit (90 musicians can be accommodated) will enable the company to mount more ambitious productions. The budget for the upcoming season--the company's sixth--is $2 million, she said.
Although in previous years, LAOT has maintained a policy of no-star casting, that tradition will be broken next season with the engagement of tenor Jon Vickers in the role of Canio in "I Pagliacci." Leoncavallo's one-act opera will be included on a double bill with Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" on March 25, 27 and 29, 1986.
The season also lists a new production of Berg's "Lulu," in the West Coast premiere of the three-act version (Oct. 22, 25, 26).
In addition, comic singer Michael Aspinall, who calls himself "the surprising soprano," and mezzo-soprano Susan Quittmeyer will appear in LAOT-sponsored recitals at the Wiltern on July 10 and Oct. 24, respectively.
"Don Giovanni," sung in Italian, will be directed by Hans Hartleb, who staged the company's "Der Rosenkavalier" last season. Principal singers include Jeffrey Wells (in the title role), Jonathan Mack (Don Ottavio), Kay Griffel (Donna Anna) and Constance Cloward (Donna Elvira).
Hans Neugebauer will direct the English-language production of "Lulu," with June Card singing the title role. Other singers include Chester Ludgin (Dr. Schoen), Eric Garrett (Schigolch), John Gilmore (Alwa) and Sandra Dudek (Countess Geschwitz). Neugebauer directed the LAOT English-language production of "Die Fledermaus" last season.
In addition to Vickers, principal singers in "Pagliacci" include Marianna Christos (Nedda) and James Rensink (Tonio). Principal roles in "Cavalleria" will be sung by Maria Abajian (Santuzza) and Kristian Johannsson (Turiddu). Both operas will be sung in Italian in a new production by Frank Corsaro.
LAOT music director Henry Holt will conduct "Don Giovanni" and "Lulu"; Neil Varon will conduct the double bill.