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L.A. Opera announces 2011-12 season details

The company will feature six productions with 37 performances; a seventh production is still being finalized. Among the highlights: the company's first production of Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin' and the return of Plácido Domingo in Verdi's 'Simon Boccanegra.'

February 01, 2011|By David Ng, Los Angeles Times
  • Plácido Domingo starred in Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra" at Covent Garden for the Royal Opera last June. Domingo will star in the title role with L.A. Opera in its next season.
Plácido Domingo starred in Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra"… (Catherine Ashmore )

The Los Angeles Opera, which is still recovering financially from the recession and its costly production of the complete "Ring" cycle in 2010, announced Monday that its 2011-12 season will feature six productions, with 37 performances. A seventh production, the 19th century Hungarian opera "Bánk bán," is in the process of being finalized and looks virtually certain for the season as well, according to company leaders.

Among the 2011-12 highlights will be the company's first-ever production of Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" and the return of Plácido Domingo, who will perform the baritone title role of Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra" for the first time in Los Angeles. Music director James Conlon will conduct four productions during the season, while Domingo is expected to conduct two.

The season will be comparable in size to the current season lineup, which includes six productions and 42 performances. At its most active, the company offered 10 productions with 75 performances.

Domingo, who serves as L.A. Opera's general manager, said in an interview from New York that the company "has to be careful" financially going forward but added that he would like to see a return to as many as eight productions by the 2012-13 season.

Christopher Koelsch, the company's chief operating officer, said he is "cautiously optimistic about the future," adding that the company is taking a conservative approach to the coming season while trying to be careful not to compromise quality.

In 2010, L.A. Opera put on hiatus its Recovered Voices series, devoted to composers whose careers suffered during the Nazi regime. Koelsch said that producing the series for 2011-12 would have been difficult in this period of financial moderation since it requires new stagings of rarely performed operas. "We're waiting for a more felicitous moment financially to bring it back," he said.

Kicking off the season will be "Eugene Onegin" (Sept. 17 to Oct. 9) in a production from London's Royal Opera House and the Finnish National Opera. Baritone Dalibor Jenis and soprano Oksana Dyka will star, with Conlon conducting. Running parallel will be Mozart's "Così fan tutte" (Sept. 18 to Oct. 8), in a production by theater and film director Nicholas Hytner from the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, also conducted by Conlon.

Domingo will take the podium to conduct a revival of the company's popular production of Gounod's "Romeo and Juliet" (Nov. 6 to 26), featuring Vittorio Grigolo and Nino Machaidze in the title roles. The pair will sing the same roles at La Scala in June.

Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra" (Feb. 11, 2012, to March 4, 2012) will feature Domingo performing the baritone role that he first sang in Berlin in 2009 and has since performed in New York, Milan and other cities. "I don't pretend to be a baritone, but I can do it — my voice is growing in that direction," said Domingo. "It's really a role that I adore because of the character and the vocal beauty of the part. It's an underestimated work." Conlon will conduct the production, which comes from London's Royal Opera House.

The company will mount a production of Britten's "Albert Herring" (Feb. 25, 2012, to March 17, 2012) for the first time since 1992. Conlon will conduct the production, which comes from Santa Fe Opera.

Closing the season will be the company's oft-revived 1987 production of Puccini's "La Bohème" (May 12, 2012 to June 2, 2012), conducted by Patrick Summers.

"Bánk bán," composed by Ferenc Erkel, is expected to be a special presentation at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Domingo is scheduled to conduct the opera, with a cast and run date to be announced later this year.

L.A. Opera season tickets will go on sale Tuesday, and single tickets will be available May 1.

Domingo, who is rehearsing "Iphigénie en Tauride" at the Metropolitan Opera, turned 70 on Jan. 21.

"Every morning, I'm grateful and thankful that I know I can sing," he said. "I don't know how many years I'll continue singing. I can say that I have plans already through 2014-15. I am enthusiastic — for tenor parts or baritone parts."

For details on the season, go to http://www.latimes.com/culturemonster.

david.ng@latimes.com

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