May 21, 1995 |
Summertime, and the listenin' is easy. Easy, of course, is a sometime thing. Take the lavish new production of Gershwin's epochal "Porgy and Bess," which originated in Houston and plays both at the Music Center Opera (June 6-18) and the Orange County Performing Arts Center (June 21-25). The production values are reasonably strong and so are the casts, though the evil intrusion of microphones forces the serious listener to take certain musical qualities on faith.
March 18, 1995 |
Speaking about his operatic career, the conductor declares, "Step by step, day by day, we just keep going." The Italian musician may be too humble. Now conducting Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" for L.A. Music Center Opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (opening today and closing April 1), Evelino Pido has every reason not to be impatient. He acknowledges as much in an interview outside a rehearsal room at the Pavilion, 11 days before the opening.
February 26, 1995 |
William Vendice, for the last three years music director of USC Opera, takes over a newly created full-time position at Los Angeles Music Center Opera May 1: Head of music staff and chorus master. Vendice spent 13 years (1975-1988) on the staff of the Metropolitan Opera. "I started as a rehearsal pianist and left as a full conductor," he recalled in an interview.
February 10, 1995 |
A rare company foray into the Wagner repertory with "Der Fliegende Hollander" (The Flying Dutchman) and the return of Placido Domingo to sing Verdi's seldom-staged "Stiffelio" highlight the 10th season of L.A. Music Center Opera, running from Sept. 7 of this year to June 7, 1996, in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Announced Thursday by General Director Peter Hemmings, the season includes 46 performances of seven operas--five new to the company repertory.
October 31, 1994 |
If you like Baroque opera, you'll love George Frideric Handel's "Xerxes," a.k.a. "Serse," as performed by the Music Center Opera. You'll love the exquisite singing, the delicate ensemble work, the elegant staging, the stylish impulses that emanate from the pit. You'll be charmed, even moved, by the period conventions. "Xerxes" (ever helpful, the Music Center ads tell the unwashed to pronounce the name "ZERK-sees") was written in 1738 for the King's Theatre in London.
September 29, 1994 |
In reviving the 1991 production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni," the Los Angeles Music Center Opera managed to make the work even darker and more comic than the earlier version. It thus heightened the contrast even more strongly between those seemingly disparate attributes of "dramma giocoso" (jocular drama) librettist Lorenzo da Ponte used to describe the work.
September 12, 1994 |
Mixed feelings greeted "Elektra" when the Music Center Opera first ventured Richard Strauss' taut little masterpiece of mythological shock and psychological resolution in 1991. David Pountney's fussy yet undeniably thoughtful staging relied heavily on potentially risible gimmicks, reinforced by John Bury's expressionist designs.
September 12, 1994 |
The Music Center Opera opened its season Friday night with a new--well, sort of new--version of Gounod's beloved old chestnut, "Faust." The word, I fear, is dreary. Much of the production looked familiar to opera-going fossils cursed with half-decent memories. That's because the Gallic devil-may-care opus was staged by Frank Corsaro, the bad-boy director responsible for the New York City Opera "Faust" frequently seen here between 1968 and 1979.
June 19, 1994 |
Southern California used to be an operatic wasteland. Sophisticates enjoyed pointing out that plastic La-La Land boasted swimming pools where other cities had culture. The world laughed--with justification, alas--at our pretensions. The scoffers aren't quite so noisy anymore. Not, at least, when it comes to what Henry Fothergill Chorley called the most irrational of art forms. (Now the out-of-town elitists just put us down--with continuing justification, alas--for ignoring ballet.
May 31, 1994 |
One approached the Dorothy Chandler with a certain degree of trepidation Sunday night. The Music Center Opera was venturing its first encounter with Richard Strauss' ever-poignant, ever-daunting "Der Rosenkavalier." That, of course, was cause for rejoicing. But the road to the premiere hadn't exactly been smooth. It was no secret that the staging scheme imported for the occasion would defy tradition. Some of the advance reports, moreover, were discouraging.