October 4, 1994 |
As revealed in the matinee of "Aida" Sunday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, second casts are not always second-best. Camellia Johnson (Aida), Eugenie Grunewald (Amneris) and Vladimir Popov (Radames) carried the day when they took over at the second performance this season of Verdi's opera in a new production by Opera Pacific. Johnson's sizable and luscious soprano, edgeless to a fault, apparently found no difficulties in the familiar yet tricky vocal part.
November 26, 1991 |
Just as in the Old Testament, Samson didn't stand a chance against the bevy of tempting Dalilas who showed up in lavish costumes at the Opera Pacific's ninth annual Opera Ball on Saturday. About 450 guests attended the "Bacchanalia" at the Hyatt Regency Irvine's International Ballroom, which had been transformed into an exotic oasis for the evening. The ball, hosted by the Opera Pacific Guild Alliance, raised about $105,000 for the Costa Mesa-based opera company.
July 1, 1987 |
Soprano Ealynn Voss been supporting herself scrubbing floors and cleaning houses in Malibu. Tenor Armond Sierra keeps the pot boiling by singing in an Italian restaurant in Palm Springs. Bass Mario Storace has his own construction business in Los Angeles but wants to begin an opera career at age 50.
November 17, 1992 |
The romantic world of 18th-Century Vienna came to life Saturday when 600 guests in lavish ball gowns and tuxedos twirled beneath sparkling chandeliers at Opera Pacific's 10th Anniversary Opera Ball. Staged by the Opera Ball Guild, the "Strauss Waltz Gala" took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. The $200-per-person affair raised $250,000 for Opera Pacific, Orange County's resident opera company now in its seventh season.
February 28, 1988 |
'Kismet' is '50s musical-theater equivalent of the B movie: flashy sets, titillating costumes and low-brow comedy. "What's in a name?" immortal poet, playwright and part-time gardener Billy Shakespeare pondered long ago. "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Fair enough.
November 11, 2004 |
Opera Pacific opened its new season Tuesday with a spare but attractive production of Puccini's "Turandot" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Created for Minnesota Opera in 1995 and refurbished in 2000 by Houston Grand Opera, this James Robinson staging employs movable metal towers up to 13 feet high, flights of stairs of varying lengths and smaller set pieces. They are pushed about by stagehands clad in black like bunraku puppet theater assistants.
October 1, 1994 |
Yes, there will be no elephants on stage when Opera Pacific presents Verdi's "Aida" beginning Saturday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa. Or horses, or camels. "Just lots of people," Opera Pacific general director David DiChiera confirmed Wednesday. "Animals are being seen less and less on stage these days. We have found that animal-rights groups are very uncomfortable now with the use of animals on stage.
January 17, 1991 |
Some things change. Some don't. Opera Pacific introduced an alternate pair of leading singers in its handsome, hand-me-down production of "Madama Butterfly" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Sunday afternoon. Expressive stress and interpretive detail shifted in the process, but the quality of the generally conservative production remained solid.
February 13, 1987 |
Led by a stomping Dixieland band, nearly 500 supporters of Opera Pacific spilled from the ballroom at the Westin South Coast Plaza on Wednesday night and marched to the Orange County Performing Arts Center to attend "Porgy and Bess," the first performance in the opera company's premiere season at the Center. But not before they enjoyed a gala that was Southern-fried right down to its Cajun martinis, Tabasco-hot cuisine and "Catfish Row" decor.
January 18, 1988 |
Opera Pacific, the unofficial guardian of musical theater at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, likes to dabble in lightweight commercial fare such as "West Side Story" and, even more dubious, "Kismet." When it chooses to be grand, however, it is very grand indeed. Last year, the company mustered a super-lavish, quasi-veristic production of "La Boheme" staged by Gian Carlo Menotti. Saturday night, to open the 1988 season, David DiChiera and friends turned to Verdi's "Aida."