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September 5, 2009 | Karen Wada
Those who've been awaiting the L.A. debut of Ruggero Raimondi will have to wait a little longer. The venerable Italian bass was supposed to make his first appearance with the Los Angeles Opera as Doctor Dulcamara on Sept. 12 in the season opener, Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore" ("The Elixir of Love"). But the company has just announced that the 67-year-old singer ruptured an Achilles tendon during rehearsal and must withdraw from the production. In his place, Italian baritone Giorgio Caoduro will assume the role of Dulcamara.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 19, 2014 | By David Ng
It will be curtains for the venerated San Diego Opera. In a surprising move, the company announced Wednesday that it will cease operations at the end of the current season, citing financial reasons including a tough fundraising environment and weak ticket sales. The company said its board made the decision Wednesday to avoid declaring bankruptcy and to be able to honor its remaining commitments. GRAPHIC: Highest-earning art executives | Highest-earning conductors San Diego Opera, which was created close to 50 years ago, has a strong national reputation and is ranked among the top 10 U.S. opera companies, according to the national nonprofit Opera America.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 7, 2013 | By David Ng
James Conlon, music director of Los Angeles Opera, will have surgery to have part of his colon removed. The 63-year-old conductor is suffering from an inflamed portion of his colon as a result of diverticulitis, the company said. The surgery, which will take place in New York, will force Conlon to miss scheduled performances at the Ravinia Festival on Aug. 17 and the La Jolla Music Society on Aug. 23. The conductor is scheduled to rest for three to four weeks following the procedure, according to his representative.
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
May 1, 2013 | By David Ng
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 25, 2012 | By David Ng
For the first time in five years, Los Angeles Opera will have one person overseeing both the company's artistic efforts and finances on a daily basis. The company's board of directors on Wednesday afternoon elected Christopher Koelsch to the position of president and chief executive officer. His appointment takes effect Sept. 15, at the start of the 2012-13 season. He will report to Plácido Domingo , who serves as L.A. Opera's general director. Koelsch will replace Stephen Rountree, who has pulled double duty in recent years as CEO of L.A. Opera and head of the Music Center.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 16, 2012 | By Ellen Olivier
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2013 | By Richard S. Ginell
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)
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2013 | By David Ng
James Conlon is a born and bred New Yorker but sunny Los Angeles apparently agrees with him. The 62-year-old conductor has renewed his contract with the Los Angeles Opera for five more years, and will remain music director at least through the end of the 2017-18 season. The company made the announcement Wednesday evening at an event honoring Conlon at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Conlon works closely at L.A. Opera with Plácido Domingo, the tenor who is the general director of the company.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 14, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 12, 2014 | By Jeffrey Fleishman
It is an opera that like its choruses rouses recriminations and unsettled ghosts. "The Death of Klinghoffer" by composer John Adams sets the Israeli-Palestinian struggle on a ship sailing with the histories and opposing realities of two peoples bound by the rage and agony of an unreconciled land. The opera, based on the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro by Palestinian militants who killed Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled American Jew, is also a deeper meditation on nationalist passions that for ages have set alight the world's conflicts.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 10, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Gerard Mortier, who died of cancer on Saturday at age 70, is being widely eulogized for the incalculable role he played in the opera world in the years he headed opera companies in Brussels, Paris and Madrid. Most notably he revolutionized the Salzburg Festival. I can think of no one more important than the crafty, brilliant Belgian impresario in making opera a uniquely telling, relevant, contemporary and meaningfully controversial art form in Europe. But it wasn't only Europe and it wasn't only opera in which Mortier's influence has proven pervasive.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 24, 2014 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
A bellicose anti-war opera, Benjamin Britten's "Billy Budd" is a stifling shipboard drama with only strong male voices, a theater of testosterone. Manhood stands trial. In 1951, the year of its premiere, "Billy Budd" bravely evoked homoeroticism on the British lyric stage when homosexuality was outlawed. Britten further bravely insinuated disapproval of the military code when his country was recovering from World War II. Praise comes easily to "Billy Budd. " It is consummate music theater.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 17, 2014 | By David Ng
Woody Allen will team with tenor Plácido Domingo in a revival of the director's Los Angeles Opera production of "Gianni Schicchi" that will be produced in Madrid. The production will be part of the Teatro Real's 2014-15 season, which was announced this week. Allen first staged the short Puccini opera in L.A. in 2008. His staging was an homage to black-and-white Italian cinema from the 1940s and '50s. Domingo, who didn't star in the L.A. production, will play the title role in Madrid.
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
June 26, 2013 | By David Ng
Los Angeles Opera is going to be $7 million richer thanks to a new gift from billionaire Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe. The gift, being made through the couple's charitable organization, the Broad Foundation, represents the largest sum they have given to L.A. Opera. “I think the opera is one of the great cultural jewels of Los Angeles,” said Eli Broad in a phone interview. “Having Plácido Domingo [as general director of the company] raises the view that people have of L.A. over the world.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 5, 2012 | By David Ng
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.
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.
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