March 6, 2014 |
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.
February 15, 2014 |
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.
December 12, 2013 |
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.
December 10, 2013 |
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.
November 25, 2013 |
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.
November 16, 2013 |
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)