Citing both cash flow and production problems, Los Angeles Opera Theater has announced the postponement of its performances of Alban Berg's "Lulu," scheduled for Oct. 22, 25 and 26 in the Wiltern Theatre.
At a Friday morning press conference at the Greater Los Angeles Press Club, Henry Holt, artistic director, and Edmund M. Kaufman, president of the Opera Theater's board of directors, said the postponement ("perhaps until May, or until the 1986-87 season," Holt said) would give the six-year old Opera Theater time to solve several problems of production, as well as "to improve our cash flow position."
The Opera Theater's proposed three-production, 1985-86 season in the Wiltern began in July, with Mozart's "Don Giovanni," and is scheduled to close in March, with a double bill of "Cavalleria Rusticana" and "Pagliacci."
Explaining some of the obstructions to producing what will be the West Coast premiere of the complete, three-act version of "Lulu," Holt said that "the film which should accompany the musical interlude in Act II . . . was not planned and budgeted" and "could not be executed in time," and that "technical problems with raising the stage level to the optimum height for proper sightlines have not yet been solved."
Declining to give dollar amounts, Kaufman said that the Opera Theater "at this time has a deficit from previous seasons," but that that deficit would not affect the organization's ability to produce "Cav/Pag" in March. Later, Holt told The Times that the Opera Theater's current accounts payable are "in the neighborhood of $70,000," not counting "some outstanding loans."
"We are not in bad shape," Holt said, "But, if we had tried to go ahead with 'Lulu' in October, our financial position would be much weaker. What we need is time--time to solve all of the production problems of 'Lulu' and time to improve the fiscal solidarity of the company."
Holt said that he is negotiating with the theater, orchestra, singers and production personnel to determine the best future dates for the "Lulu" production.
"It may happen that we have to use each of the singers in another opera. But that is not our first choice. It would be incredibly wasteful to abandon the production, since so many elements in it are excellent," Holt said.
Both Kaufman and Holt promised an announcement, "before the end of the year," of the company's repertory for 1986-87 and 1987-88, including operas by Verdi, Rossini, Wagner, Strauss, Bizet and Massenet, plus "an important world premiere"--the first performance of Ernst Toch's final opera, on the subject of Scheherazade, "The Last Tale."