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March 22, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Conditions on the ground weren't ideal, and "The Flying Dutchman" did not achieve liftoff when Los Angeles Opera opened its gloomy new production of Wagner's gloomy early opera the second Saturday of March at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. But by the first day of spring, a little elevation, if not exactly winged victory, had become possible. As the curtain was about to rise on that uncertain opening night, Portuguese soprano Elisabete Matos felt suddenly unwell, giving her cover and former L.A. Opera chorus member Julie Makerov only 12 minutes to get costumed and made up (with no time left to fit her wig)
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
The Bristol Old Vic production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" currently at the Broad Stage and the Théâtre de Bouffes du Nord production of "The Suit," which opens Wednesday at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, both are connected to South Africa. Shakespeare's play involves Cape Town's Handspring Puppet Company. "The Suit" is an adaptation of a short story by South African writer Can Themba.  Furthermore, both productions are projects of British directors. But while Tom Morris and Peter Brook are generations apart and Morris' "Dream" and Brooks' "Suit" represent quite different sensibilities, what the directors mainly have in common is that each, in his own way, has worked now and then in opera and made a considerable impact doing so.  Morris' primary claim to fame may be his collaboration with Handspring on "War Horse.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 4, 2013 | By David Ng
Renée Fleming will return to Los Angeles Opera later this season in a production of André Previn's "A Streetcar Named Desire," which is scheduled to run for three performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on May 18, 21 and 24, 2014. The production will mark the first time that Fleming has performed in an opera for the company since her 2006 role in "La Traviata. " (She has appeared in recitals for L.A. Opera in the interim.) Fleming, who plays Blanche DuBois in the adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play, first performed in the role in 1998 at San Francisco Opera.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 15, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
The sound of a woman descending into madness is rich and piercing - and oddly beautiful. In a quiet rehearsal room at the Los Angeles Opera, music director James Conlon gathers about half a dozen people around a grand piano. Among them is Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova and French musician Thomas Bloch, who's just arrived from Paris with a rare, treasured instrument, the glass harmonica. Bloch takes a seat at what looks like an antique pedal sewing machine with gold-rimmed glass discs rotating on its spindle.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 23, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Summer's over. That may not be a sigh of relief in all quarters, but you could almost hear one Saturday night at the Dorothy Chandler. Los Angeles Opera General Director Plácido Domingo was in the pit to conduct the season opening on this first night of fall. He began by racing through the opening of Bizet's "Carmen. " FOR THE RECORD: "Carmen": A review in the Sept. 23 Calendar section of Los Angeles Opera's "Carmen" identified the chorus as being singers of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 28, 2013 | By Deborah Vankin
Culture Monster got the chance to chat with Australian opera director Barrie Kosky on Thursday, head of Berlin's experimental Komische Oper Berlin. He's in town for just three days, to meet with the Los Angeles Opera about the fall production of his interactive, wildly nontraditional version of Mozart's “The Magic Flute.” We met up with Kosky at the LA Opera's costume shop, which was crammed with racks and racks of colorful outfits from operas past - gypsy armor from “Il Trovatore” and a Spanish bullfighter's uniform from “Carmen,” among them.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 14, 2013 | By Lee Margulies
"L.A. Opera on Air" returns to classical music station KUSC-FM (91.5) for its seventh season Saturday, beginning with a broadcast of Verdi's "The Two Foscari" (I Due Foscari), starring Placido Domingo (the opera company's general director), Francesco Meli and Marina Poplavskaya. The series will run for six weeks, airing at 10 a.m. Saturdays. It also will be streamed online at www.kusc.org . Duff Murphy will host. The series will feature all six operas from the company's 2012-13 season, including "Don Giovanni," "Madame Butterfly," "The Flying Dutchman," "Cinderella (La Cenerentola)"
ENTERTAINMENT
January 8, 2013 | By David Ng
Los Angeles Opera will present the current touring revival of “Einstein on the Beach,” composed by Philip Glass and staged by Robert Wilson, as part of its 2013-14 season, the company is announcing on Tuesday. The company will   present a special slate of programs devoted to the centenary of composer Benjamin Britten. The season will also include tenor Plácido Domingo in the company premiere of Jules Massenet 's “Thaïs” and a new staging of Donizetti's “Lucia di Lammermoor.” “Einstein” will have three performances Oct. 11-13 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 4, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
Having developed a momentary case of the 20-year itch for the beloved production of Mozart's “The Magic Flute” that it has been rolling out since 1993, Los Angeles Opera announced Tuesday that it's about to have a fling with a sexy new flame it met earlier this year in Berlin. Instead of a fifth helping of the 1993 production directed by Peter Hall and designed by noted British cartoon artist Gerald Scarfe - as had been anticipated when the company announced its 2013-14 season in January - L.A. Opera's general director, Placido Domingo, announced Tuesday it will offer the U.S. premiere of an unorthodox version of “The Magic Flute” that was launched early this year by Komische Oper Berlin and combines live opera with silent film that uses 21 st century digital animation to create a 1920s Buster Keaton-ish feel.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 20, 2013 | By Richard S. Ginell
This review has been updated. See below for details. While the proposed “subway to the sea” may be decades away if it ever comes, Los Angeles Opera isn't waiting for it to happen.   The company is making the trek from downtown right now, launching L.A. Opera Off Grand on the Broad Stage on Friday night with an evening-length, world-premiere opera, “Dulce Rosa.”  L.A. Opera's tireless general director Plácido Domingo was in the pit, vigorously lending his prestige and drawing power.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 6, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
On announcing the death last week of composer Robert Ashley in New York at 83, the composer and critic Kyle Gann wrote on his blog that Ashley was "the greatest genius of 20th-century opera. I don't know how long it's going to take the world to recognize that. " I think I do. A little while, but not too much longer. Let's not argue about the greatest genius of opera in the 20th century. It's enough that Ashley was one of the greats and a true pioneer. Some might even want to argue about Ashley's lack of recognition.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 15, 2014 | By David Ng
Under the Articles of War enacted by the British Navy in the 18th century, many crimes qualified as capital offenses, including mutiny, treason, robbery, sodomy and murder. Executions were often carried out by hanging, with the convict strung up from the ship's yardarm. By accounts from that era, these hangings were more a gradual strangulation than a snap of the neck. They were also complicated, requiring several men to hoist and secure the convict at a considerable height on a moving ship.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
The National Endowment for the Arts is helping to fund the Southern California premiere of John Adams' controversial opera "The Death of Klinghoffer," 23 years after it was first performed. The $25,000 grant to the adventurous Long Beach Opera for its March staging of the piece was among $25.8 million in new awards announced Wednesday to nonprofit arts organizations and writers nationwide. “The Death of Klinghoffer," sung in English with a libretto by Alice Goodman, retells the story of Palestinian hijackers' 1985 murder of an Jewish American passenger aboard an Italian cruise ship they had commandeered.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 10, 2013 | By David Ng
The Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles is launching a new Recovered Voices series with conductor James Conlon that will present performances, seminars and other events focused on composers whose careers were cut short during the Holocaust. Conlon launched Recovered Voices in 2006 at Los Angeles Opera, but the company put the series on indefinite hiatus in 2010 because of budgetary reasons. The new Recovered Voices at the Colburn is being funded by a $1-million grant from Marilyn Ziering, the philanthropist and L.A. Opera board member.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 25, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
With its show-business staging of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" as a cheekily animated silent movie, Los Angeles Opera on Saturday night got what it very much needs. That this will be a hit goes without saying. But what this once pioneering company really needs right now is a reason to be talked about again. So let's talk about Barrie Kosky, one of the hot directors on the international scene and, like most hot directors on the international scene, ignored in America. Not too many American opera companies dare hire directors who put buckets of excrement onstage, as Kosky did in a recent German production of Janácek's "From the House of the Dead.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 16, 2013 | By Deborah Vankin
In a bare rehearsal space downtown at the Music Center, a dozen or so people work through a scene in the dark. The only light comes from projected black-and-white animation flickering on the back wall of the stage - a nude fairy fluttering her wings atop a tree, a black cat leaping over a glowing full moon. Rodell Rosel, who plays the lovesick Monostatos in this Los Angeles Opera production of "The Magic Flute," gestures wildly from a vine-covered balcony; he is crooning his affection for Pamina (Janai Brugger)
ENTERTAINMENT
May 16, 2013 | By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
John Caird, who's directing the L.A. Opera production of "Tosca" that opens Saturday, played crucial roles in launching two of the biggest stage blockbusters of modern times. The fact that the British director remains somewhat below the radar, at least in America, speaks volumes about the difference between having blockbuster directing credentials on stage, as opposed to on screen. In 1980, Caird teamed with Trevor Nunn to direct the Royal Shakespeare Company's 81/2 -hour theatrical adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Nicholas Nickleby," scripted by David Edgar.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 16, 2013 | By Deborah Vankin
In a bare rehearsal space downtown at the Music Center, a dozen or so people work through a scene in the dark. The only light comes from projected black-and-white animation flickering on the back wall of the stage - a nude fairy fluttering her wings atop a tree, a black cat leaping over a glowing full moon. Rodell Rosel, who plays the lovesick Monostatos in this Los Angeles Opera production of "The Magic Flute," gestures wildly from a vine-covered balcony; he is crooning his affection for Pamina (Janai Brugger)
ENTERTAINMENT
November 13, 2013 | By Deborah Vankin
When the Komische Oper Berlin debuted its edgy and nontraditional reimagining of Mozart's “The Magic Flute,” combining live singing and hand-drawn animation, the 2012 run of 13 performances sold out in two days. The U.S. premiere of the production, Nov. 23 at Los Angeles Opera, similarly is seeing strong ticket sales. So the company has added an additional performance, Dec. 13 at 8:30 p.m., bringing the total number of performances to 7. “We knew 'The Magic Flute' would be popular with our audiences, but ticket sales have vastly exceeded our expectations," L.A. Opera's General Director Plácido Domingo said in a statement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 6, 2013 | By Nita Lelyveld
What do turkey and opera have in common?  The L.A. Opera recently invited food writers and bloggers in to see. Opera staff members gave them a backstage tour as they prepared to stage Verdi's "Falstaff," in celebration of the Italian composer's 200th birthday. "Falstaff" opens Saturday. For each performance, a turkey will be cooked to be served onstage. For my latest City Beat story, I visited the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to find out more about the opera's edible props.
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