November 1, 2011 |
Nino Machaidze, the 28-year-old soprano from Tbilisi, Georgia, has only been singing professionally for a little more than four years, but the origin of her latest turn in L.A. stretches to 2005 and includes a few twists of fate. In January of that year, Los Angeles Opera's production of Gounod's "Romeo and Juliet" helped catapult into operatic superstardom young singers Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón. Soon these two were headlining at major houses and in 2008 were set to re-create their L.A. roles with a highly anticipated new production at the Salzburg Festival — until Netrebko dropped out due to a much publicized pregnancy.
October 1, 2011 |
When Ildebrando D'Arcangelo storms the stage in Mozart's "Così fan Tutte" at Los Angeles Opera, the bass-baritone singer projects a swaggering confidence and dangerous sex appeal that act like a powerful audience magnet. But please don't call him a bari-hunk. The 41-year-old D'Arcangelo, who is one of six members of the "Così" ensemble cast, has garnered fans around the world as much for his voice as for his model looks — tall, dark and handsome in an earthy way. Yet the singer appears uneasy with references to his status as a bari-hunk — the group of opera stars known for their pecs and neck size, as well as their deep, sonorous voices.
May 1, 2011 |
In general, Mark Morris tends toward the fiery and passionate expression of his opinions. But get him riffing on why he considers live music so essential to dance performance and be prepared for the choreographer and master of the sharply worded rant to take things up a notch. "Why do I use live music? I would turn that question around and ask why would you use recorded music. Why am I the freak? Live music is music. The fact that recorded music has become so acceptable is unacceptable to me. If you have to use recorded music, then don't do the piece," he says, noting he will boycott even the most highly acclaimed dance performances if they are bereft of live music.
April 12, 2011 |
The Mexican composer Daniel Catán — who died at 62 in his sleep over the weekend of as yet causes unknown — was a mensch. He made his name with opera, especially with his last work, "Il Postino," which the Los Angeles Opera premiered in September starring Plácido Domingo as the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. Like its composer, "Il Postino" proved warm and popular. Everyone — even singers and stage directors and opera administrators — liked him. Critics and some important people in the music business were put off by Catán's unabashed neo-Romanticism, but no one had a bad word to say about him. His students adored him. He always struck me as someone who cared about people and who cared about music and had no intention of letting one form of caring obstruct the other.
March 6, 2011 |
By the time Michael Kepler Meo takes the Los Angeles Opera stage on Saturday for "The Turn of the Screw," he will have ventured from his hometown of Portland, Ore., to perform in St. Louis; Vancouver, Wash.; and New York (at Carnegie Hall, no less), and it will be his third production of Benjamin Britten's opera. And he's just 12 years old. The boy's path to singing began when his parents suspected a special voice in their toddler's babbles. At 6, he joined the Portland Boychoir and scored his first opera role two years ago as Miles in the Portland Opera's staging of "Turn of the Screw.
February 26, 2011 |
The rising Southern California-bred soprano Angel Blue is having a smashing Vienna debut ? except for an ugly encounter with a racist cab driver outside a Starbucks in the Austrian capital. Blue, who has sung several roles for Los Angeles Opera, where she trained in its Domingo-Thornton Young Artist program, was on break from rehearsals for Benjamin Britten's "The Rape of Lucretia" and needed a ride back to the venerable Theater an der Wien opera house. She hopped in a white Mercedes cab, according to the Viennese weekly magazine News, only to hear the driver snarl, "I don't drive black women.
February 13, 2011 |
The first time the word "Regietheater" appeared in these pages was in 1985. The German term, which means "director's theater," was described a year later by a Times critic as a trend that "consigned the 'outdated' wishes of composer and librettist to a stupid oblivion. " Twenty-five years later, "Regietheater" is no longer just a German trend but a significant part of operatic life in America ? especially on the West Coast. When Los Angeles Opera presents the company premiere of Gioacchino Rossini's "The Turk in Italy" on Saturday, it will not be seen in costumes or sets reflecting the period in which the opera was originally set (18th century)
February 6, 2011 |
Silver-haired Dmitri Hvorostovsky, a celebrated operatic baritone from Siberia, returns to Los Angeles Opera on Thursday for a recital of classical music from his native Russia and Western Europe. This is your third recital in L.A., and half the program is devoted to Russian songs. Last year you sang Russian war songs. Are you trying to raise the profile of Russian music in the West? As a Russian musician ? Russian born and raised ? that's what I do the best on the concert stage.
January 9, 2011 |
? At first glance, it appears that basses get the short end of the stick in opera. Even if they've managed to avoid mugging as a comic foil for the lovesick tenor, they are too busy raging, possessing or controlling to ever get the girl. Asked if he wished he were a tenor so he could have a crack at being the hero, bass-of-the-moment René Pape let out a small Mephistophelian laugh before answering with a firm no. "Who wants that kind of pressure?" It's just as well. Pape's intensity and total approach to singing and stagecraft are much better suited to the strong-but-flawed characters he plays as a bass.
December 5, 2010 |
Where else but Los Angeles could the names in the audience be as familiar as those onstage? Witness the Nov. 28 opening for "Next to Normal," the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical at the Ahmanson Theatre . The guests included Keely and Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Camryn Manheim, Sarah Silverman, Rob Corddry, Tracie Thoms of "Cold Case," Adam Brody of "The O.C.," Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Sarah Hyland of "Modern Family" and Billie...