With American mezzo-soprano Jennifer Larmore and tenor Placido Domingo in the leading roles, Bizet's "Carmen" will open L.A. Opera's 1998-99 season Sept. 8 in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center.
Also in the eight-opera, 56-performance season, ending June 13, 1999, are two works new to the company's repertory, Massenet's "Werther" and a world premiere, American composer Tobias Picker's "Fantastic Mr. Fox."
Larmore's appearance will be her first staged Carmen; that production will run in repertory with "Werther," a new co-production with Thea^tre du Capitole, Toulouse. "Fantastic Mr. Fox," based on the Roald Dahl story about a wily fox and his farmer neighbors, is being billed as an opera for all ages, with libretto by Donald Sturrock and set designs by Gerald Scarfe.
Another new co-production, "La Traviata" directed by Marta Domingo and designed by Giovanni Agostinucci, will also be on the agenda.
Among artists making L.A. Opera debuts in this, the company's 13th season, are singers Yoko Watanabe, Carla Maria Izzo, Dwayne Croft and Frank Lopardo, conductors Peter Ash, Bertrand de Billy and Emmanuel Joel and stage directors Nicolas Joel and Jonathan Alver.
"Carmen" (Bizet), Sept. 8 to 25, with Larmore; Domingo, who alternates with Jacque Trussel as Don Jose; Izzo and Richard Bernstein; led by French conductor De Billy and staged by Ann-Margret Pettersson.
"Werther" (Massenet), Sept. 9 to 26, with Paula Rasmussen as Charlotte and Ramon Vargas in the title role; conducted by Emannuel Joel and staged by Nicolas Joel.
"Falstaff" (Verdi), Oct. 28 to Nov. 14, with Ashley Putnam, Suzanna Guzman, Stephanie Blythe, Gregory Yurisich and Robert Orth; conducted by Gabriele Ferro and staged by Stephen Lawless.
"Fantastic Mr. Fox" (Picker), Dec. 9 to 22, with Gerald Finley, Guzman, Louis Lebherz, Doug Jones and Jamie Offenbach, designed by Gerald Scarfe, staged by the librettist, Sturrock, and conducted by Peter Ash.
"Madama Butterfly" (Puccini), Jan. 10 to 28, 1999, with Watanabe, Richard Leech, Guzman and John Atkins; conducted by Marco Guidarini and staged by Christopher Harlan.
"La Traviata" (Verdi), Feb. 14 to March 6, 1999, with Carol Vaness, Greg Fedderly and Jorma Hynninen; conducted by Ferro and staged by Marta Domingo.
"Don Giovanni" (Mozart), April 14 to May 2, 1999, with Dwayne Croft in the title role, Jane Eaglen, Sally Wolf, Zheng Cao, Michael Schade, Bernstein, Malcolm MacKenzie and Lebherz; conducted by Evelino Pido and staged by Karen Stone.
"Lucia di Lammermoor" (Donizetti), May 26 to June 13, 1999, with Sumi Jo, Frank Lopardo and Gino Quilico; conducted by Richard Bonynge and staged by Jonathan Alver.
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