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)
November 13, 2013 |
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.
October 13, 2013 |
There is an anecdote about Einstein from when he taught at Caltech in the early 1930s. One day, pianist and Beethoven specialist Artur Schnabel came to visit the famed physicist, who was an avid amateur violinist, and they read through a Beethoven violin sonata. It didn't go well. Fumbling a tricky rhythm, Einstein got lost, and Schnabel exclaimed in frustration, "Albert, you can't count!" I have no idea how true this is (there are variants of the story), but what matters is that 80 years later, Einstein counted at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and it was a momentous event.
October 9, 2013 |
It was said to have been a disastrous seven days for classical music in America. "Hell week" is what Russell Platt called it in the New Yorker last week. New York City Opera declared bankruptcy and shut down. Minnesota Orchestra's music director Osmo Vänskä resigned in frustration over a contract dispute that forced management to cancel all of last season and, still unresolved, resulted in the cancellation of a high-profile tour to Carnegie Hall next month. Speaking of Carnegie, the country's most famous hall canceled its opening night gala last week because of a strike by the stagehands.
September 30, 2013 |
When renowned tenor Plácido Domingo was still a relatively unknown singer from Spain, he made his Los Angeles-area debut at the Music Center in 1967 in a touring series by the New York City Opera. His local debut included performances in "Don Rodrigo," "La Traviata" and "Madama Butterfly. " "My early performances with New York City Opera were what really kicked off my international career, and I look back on those days with enormous pride," Domingo said in a recent statement sent to The Times.