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L.A. Opera hopes to produce DVDs of all its productions

September 20, 2003|Chris Pasles | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Opera has embarked on a new project to produce high-definition video recordings of all its productions.

The first two operas of this season -- Achim Freyer's new staging of Berlioz's "The Damnation of Faust" and the world premiere of Deborah Drattell's "Nicholas and Alexandra" -- have already been recorded.

Those recordings will be released on DVD early next year, although the details of distribution have to be worked out, according to company artistic director Edgar Baitzel.

During the recording of Drattell's opera Sept. 14, its opening night, company general director Placido Domingo was suffering from tracheitis and sang the role of Rasputin against doctor's orders. But he subsequently recovered, Baitzel said.

"We had a performance yesterday that provides us with 95% satisfaction of what we need from Mr. Domingo," Baitzel said Thursday.

Brian Large, who has directed more than 400 opera recordings, directed the first two recordings. He said Thursday that plans call for him to be the director for the whole series.

Moshe Barkat of Burbank-based Modern VideoFilm will be the producer of the series, along with L.A. Opera.

The cost of videotaping each opera is approximately $700,000, Baitzel said. Almost all of the money to pay for the first two productions -- about $1.2 million -- has been provided by company benefactors.

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