May 1, 2013 |
As the classical-music world continues to struggle with graying and shrinking audiences, companies are experimenting with ways to attract new crowds. On Tuesday, 13 opera companies across the nation were named recipients of a new grant from Opera America designed to foster attendance growth. Based in New York, Opera America is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to promote and raise general awareness of opera as an art form. The group said it awarded a total of $300,000 in grants -- ranging from $7,500 to $30,000 -- under the new program, which is titled "Building Opera Audiences.
May 20, 2013 |
An essay in the program for Los Angeles Opera's new production of "Tosca," which opened at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Saturday night, begins by quoting Benjamin Britten on Puccini's opera. The British composer, Joseph Berger writes, was "'sickened' by the music's 'cheapness and emptiness,' and the astute critic Joseph Kerman famously called [the opera] 'a shabby little shocker.'" A few pages on, director John Caird starts out a note on his production by calling "Tosca" "one of the greatest works of music theater ever written.
April 4, 2013 |
Los Angeles Opera wheeled into its final three performances of Rossini's “Cinderella” Wednesday night with a new Cinderella toiling amid her cadre of lovable, helpful rats. She is the Georgian mezzo-soprano Ketevan Kemoklidze -- yet another winner of Plácido Domingo's Operalia competition to appear on the L.A. Opera stage (her debut), and also somewhat of a contrast to the previous Cinderella, Kate Lindsey. This Cinderella registered a distinctive vocal presence with a Slavic accent (which lessened as the performance unfolded)
September 16, 2012 |
In celebration of the start of its 2012-2013 season, Los Angeles Opera started partying early Saturday with a 5 p.m. reception and dinner on the Music Center Plaza, before the opening performance of Verdi's “The Two Foscari” at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The crowd then returned to the plaza for a high-energy after-party, chaired by Stana Katic, star of TV's “Castle.” The gala theme of “Ignite!” proved appropriate not only because of the patron level categories of "blaze," "fire" and "flame" but also because the party ended a day of record-setting temperatures, which reached 103 degrees in downtown Los Angeles.
March 14, 2014 |
Who knew the sound of insanity could be so beautiful? We had the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal of Los Angeles Opera's production of Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," which opens Saturday. The afternoon was the very first time cast or crew would be rehearsing with the rare, treasured instrument -- the glass harmonica -- that Donizetti intended for his tragic opera of love and madness. French musician Thomas Bloch had arrived from Paris only the night before, with the glass harmonica in tow. The scene being rehearsed was the climax of the Italian opera, in which the fragile, young Lucia -- played by Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova -- goes crazy after being forced by her family to break ties with her lover and marry another man. Because of the range of sounds it makes, from hollow and deep to eerie and shrill, the glass harmonica was key to Donizetti's vision for the scene; in the 1700s, the instrument was even reputed to invoke insanity among listeners.
December 5, 2012 |
Leaders at Los Angeles Opera are breathing a little easier now that a huge financial burden has been lifted from their shoulders. L.A. Opera is announcing Wednesday that it has fully repaid a $14 million emergency loan it received in 2009, a loan obtained with the help of Los Angeles County. With this step, the company is now looking forward, hoping to add more productions to future seasons and mix in more contemporary operas. The opera company repaid half of the principal in January in order to save money on interest payments.