August 20, 2012 |
Classical music fans in Southern California have known for several years that Andreas Mitisek works minor miracles on a shoestring at Long Beach Opera. With limited financial resources, he has maintained the small company's reputation as a risk-taker, embracing experimental and unconventional works that major opera houses tend to ignore. Mitisek is among the 25 people named this month by Opera News as part of its "Next Wave" cover story. The venerated monthly, published by New York's Metropolitan Opera Guild, chose 25 individuals the editors believe "are poised to break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade.
May 22, 2012 |
Long Beach Opera's new production of Osvaldo Golijov's "Ainadamar" comes at an important time. The opera is a meditation on the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca's murder by the fascists during the Spanish Civil War, which is ever relevant, especially in the way the work echoes the current situation in the Middle East. But there is another reason why this opera matters right now, despite LBO's somewhat slapdash production at Terrace Theater Sunday night. Golijov has been going through a bad patch, and we need to be reminded why the music world would be unwise to lose faith in him. He has missed deadlines, including for a violin concerto that was to have been premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic a year ago. He has also come under attack for plagiarism by "gotcha" critics who miss the larger context of his work and what makes it so culturally rich and pertinent.
May 8, 2011 |
Perhaps more than any other composer, Dmitri Shostakovich is rooted in his time and place. He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1906, and his life and career paralleled the history of the Soviet Union, which variously celebrated and pressured him until his death in 1975. His music reflects the turmoil of his personal story and the difficult times in which he lived, especially World War II — or as Russians call it, the Great Patriotic War. Even now, decades after his death, Shostakovich's scores remain primarily associated with either grim historicity (exemplified by his "Leningrad," "The Year 1905" and "Babi-Yar" symphonies)
March 13, 2011 |
Andreas Mitisek has plenty of reasons to be nervous: It's just a few minutes before he'll vault onstage to talk about "Medea," the bloody, extreme opera he's distilled and remade. And it's only an hour before the boyish 47-year-old will conduct the orchestra during a performance of the piece. Mitisek also designed the production's stark lighting ? emitted eerily from below ? that had been sharply criticized in a review a few days before. But instead of composing himself in a green room, trying to control his anxiety while memorizing his speech or conducting, Mitisek is relaxing on an audience seat, discussing his love of putting on shows.
February 17, 2008 |
Long Beach Opera is nothing if not nervy. Two years ago, it mounted an abbreviated version of Wagner's "Ring" cycle, with the composer's majestic orchestrations played by an ensemble of 25. Last year, its production of Grigori Frid's "The Diary of Anne Frank" was staged in two parking garages. That kind of moxie has brought LBO national and even international attention. Yet for all its acclaim and a loyal cadre of supporters, it continues to be relatively unfamiliar to L.A. audiences.
June 8, 2002 |
Talk about a splashy entrance. Conductor Andreas Mitisek made his American debut with Long Beach Opera's 1998 wild and crazy staging of Henry Purcell's "The Indian Queen." He was dressed for the part--decked out in skintight leather in lieu of the traditional tux and tails. Conceived by performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena and director David Schweizer, that production was pronounced "a dazzling mess" by Times music critic Mark Swed.