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L.A. Opera's Recovered Voices to go quiet in 2010-11

No project is scheduled next season, but general director Placido Domingo assures that the program will continue.

April 12, 2010|By David Ng

In three short years, Recovered Voices has become one of Los Angeles Opera's signature programs. But its absence from the company's main-stage calendar next season suggests an uncertain future for the pioneering series.

L.A. Opera inaugurated Recovered Voices in the 2006-07 season to explore works by composers whose careers and lives were cut short by the Third Reich.

The project is the brainchild of conductor James Conlon, who joined the company as music director that season.

This year's entry is Franz Schreker's "The Stigmatized," which opened Saturday and continues for three more performances through April 24.

The absence of a Recovered Voices opera from the 2010-11 lineup at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion marks the first time since the program's inception that the company hasn't committed to a production.

Plácido Domingo, the company's general director, said Wednesday that L.A. Opera hasn't axed Recovered Voices, adding that the company is working on the shape of the series.

"In future seasons where there may not be a designated Recovered Voices production, we are preparing to expand the Recovered Voices project beyond our mainstage productions in a variety of ways that we hope to announce in the coming months," Domingo said in a statement.

Besides its productions at the Dorothy Chandler, L.A. Opera organizes related educational and out- reach programs at ven- ues around Los Angeles County.

L.A. Opera's financial health has become the object of increased scrutiny in recent months. In December, the company received an emergency $14-million loan from the county. At the time, Stephen Rountree, the company's chief executive, said L.A. Opera was $20 million in debt.

Christopher Koelsch, the company's head of artistic planning, said budgetary concerns were "a factor but not the only factor" in the decision not to produce a Recovered Voices opera next season at the Dorothy Chandler. He said the company also considered artistic balance and variety.

Productions in the Recovered Voices program have ranged from concerts to fully staged productions. The series was made possible by an initial gift of $4 million, most of it coming from company board member Marilyn Ziering.

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