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January 24, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
MADRID - Walt Disney was hardly a perfect American. He may have been the most famous and beloved American during his lifetime. But his private magic kingdom was not always the happiest place on Earth. Disney had his own private torments and is reputed to have railed against unions, blacks and Jews. At least that is part of the 21st century Disney legend, and it is necessarily part of Philip Glass' new opera, "The Perfect American. " Far from sterilized yet also disarmingly affectionate, it looks at Disney the myth, the artist and the man. The work contrasts between the America that formed Walt Disney and the America he formed for the rest of us. And that is what makes Disney a perfect American opera character, even if it took Spain to bring Glass' "The Perfect American" to the lyric stage.
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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 26, 2012 | By Richard S. Ginell
It took seven years for "The Face," a new opera by composer Donald Crockett and poet David St. John, to get from its inception to its world-premiere staging at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre on Saturday night - and when three of its characters sing the lines, "What a long 11 months it's been, the movie's in the can," you wonder if art is mimicking life. Indeed, "The Face" strikes me as a collection of poetry that is still striving with all its might to become an opera, and it won't be easy for a narrative-driven opera audience to follow without an advance reading of the synopsis.
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
November 16, 1992 | MARTIN BERNHEIMER, TIMES MUSIC CRITIC
And now, from the folks who brought you "Nixon in China". . . . The opera, of course, is "The Death of Klinghoffer," a rambling, quasi-moralistic sociopolitical treatise with semi-minimalist music by John Adams and a self-consciously poetic libretto by Alice Goodman.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 1, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
SAN DIEGO - Devout opera companies caring to connect with Holy Week easily can. Along with the obvious choice of Wagner's "Parsifal," contemporary composers such as Harrison Birtwistle ("The Last Supper") and John Adams ("The Gospel According to the Other Mary") have been contributing to the cause. On Easter Eve, San Diego Opera looked a little further afield, however, by offering the first major American production of Ildebrando Pizzetti's "Murder in the Cathedral" at Civic Theatre.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 16, 1990 | MARTIN BERNHEIMER, TIMES MUSIC CRITIC
The program magazine at the Civic Theatre on Saturday heralded Mozart's "Magic Flute." But the San Diego Opera presented no such thing. For better or worse--probably worse--this was "Die Zauberflote." It was performed with even more German dialogue than one normally encounters in American houses. Ironically, there wasn't a single German on the stage. There cannot have been many Germans out front.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 24, 1992 | MARTIN BERNHEIMER, TIMES MUSIC CRITIC
The ambitious new "Carmen" staged by Nuria Espert at the Music Center Opera on Wednesday began ominously. The curtain rose prematurely (modern directors cannot bear to have the audience listen to the orchestra) to disclose what turned out to be an all-purpose set with a pretty lady in white framed in an arch. The pretty lady turned out to be the tempestuous heroine. Alone on the empty stage, Carmen cautiously traipsed forward to the strains of the fate motive, then doubled over.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 10, 1992 | MARTIN BERNHEIMER, TIMES MUSIC CRITIC
Figaro, the baritonal barber of Seville, got married again, Saturday night at the Civic Theatre. It was a nice wedding. As its final contribution to the official season of Mozartean delirium, the San Diego Opera mustered something old (the work itself) but little new; something borrowed (sets, staging scheme and costumes) but little blue (apart from a dubious bit of would-be comedy in which Basilio sniffed Susanna's underwear). This, essentially, was "Le Nozze di Figaro" by the book.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 10, 1991 | MARTIN BERNHEIMER, TIMES MUSIC CRITIC
The opera season opened here on Friday with a routine "Traviata" surrounded by gala glitz. That, it turned out, was just foreplay. The real, victorious action began on Saturday, when Lotfi Mansouri & Co. celebrated the Prokofiev centenary with the first local staging of a massive, sprawling, rarely ventured opus called "Voina y Mir." It is better known in the West as "War and Peace." Did I say massive? The score demands a vast orchestra and a heroic chorus.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 11, 2013 | By David Ng
Gérard Mortier has been replaced as the artistic director of the Teatro Real opera company in Madrid, the organization announced on Wednesday. Mortier, who recently had started undergoing treatment for cancer and whose tenure wasn't set to expire until 2016, will be succeeded at the helm of the company by Joan Matabosch, who was the artistic director of the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. The appointment of Matabosch is effective immediately and his tenure will last for at least six years, the company said.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 13, 2013 | By David Ng
Long Beach Opera announced Wednesday its 2014 season will include works by Duke Ellington, John Adams and Wynton Marsalis. The season will feature four productions -- the same as the current season -- at venues around Long Beach and San Pedro. The company specializes in intimate and experimental productions of pieces that aren't often performed at major opera houses. Long Beach Opera will kick off the season with a production of Ellington's "Queenie Pie" (Jan. 25, Feb. 1 and 2)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 1, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
SAN DIEGO - Devout opera companies caring to connect with Holy Week easily can. Along with the obvious choice of Wagner's "Parsifal," contemporary composers such as Harrison Birtwistle ("The Last Supper") and John Adams ("The Gospel According to the Other Mary") have been contributing to the cause. On Easter Eve, San Diego Opera looked a little further afield, however, by offering the first major American production of Ildebrando Pizzetti's "Murder in the Cathedral" at Civic Theatre.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 20, 2013 | By David Ng
Composer Mark-Anthony Turnage's biographical opera of the late Anna Nicole Smith will jiggle its way to the U.S. in September in a production from the New York City Opera. The piece will be staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which is co-producing.  "Anna Nicole" had its world premiere in 2011 at the Royal Opera House in London. The opera, with a libretto by Richard Thomas, follows Smith's rise to fame and her marriage at the age of 26 to the then-89-year-old oil magnate J. Howard Marshall.  In the London production, Smith was played by Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 2013 | By David Ng, Sherry Stern and Mark Swed
This post has been updated. "The Death of Klinghoffer," the controversial 1991 opera by John Adams, is scheduled to make its much-belated Los Angeles-area debut in March 2014. But the producing company won't be L.A. Opera, which was one of several groups that commissioned the piece. Long Beach Opera said it will present the work as part of its season next year, in a staging directed by James Robinson. The dates and venue for the performances have not been announced.  In April 2014, the production will be part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's recently announced "Minimalist Jukebox" festival.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 14, 2013 | By F. Kathleen Foley
Prolifically produced worldwide since its 1979 premiere, Peter Colley's comically dark thriller, “I'll Be Back Before Midnight” now receives a belated Los Angeles premiere at the Colony in Burbank. Stephen Gifford's moldering farmhouse set, lighted with creepy virtuosity by Luke Moyer, is the ideal milieu for Colley's roller-coaster play, which contains the kind of stomach-dropping twists that will make you hoot with laughter even as you clutch your theater companion's sleeve.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 18, 1990 | MARTIN BERNHEIMER, TIMES MUSIC CRITIC
It's June, June, June, and "Rings" are busting out all over. Wagner's epochal "Ring des Nibelungen" tonight begins a consecutive four-night stand on the home screen, courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera and Public Television. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Opera is embarked on a controversial four-cycle marathon of its own, arousing large, essentially undiscriminating audiences to instant ecstasy whenever musical climaxes threaten to beckon.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 12, 1989 | MARTIN BERNHEIMER, Times Music Critic
Lights. Camera. Inaction. "Mahagonny" has come to Hollywood. The trip, alas, wasn't necessary. And getting there wasn't half the fun. Play it again, Kurt? No, thanks. Ready when you are, B.B.? Not quite. Just show me the way to the next whiskey bar. . . . Perhaps you're wondering what this blather is all about. That seems reasonable. What doesn't seem all that reasonable is the blathering new production of "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny," a.k.a.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 14, 2013 | By David Ng
Banana Joe, the lovable affenpinscher who won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York on Tuesday, has chosen Broadway for a victory lap.  The pooch was scheduled to make a cameo appearance Wednesday evening in the Broadway revival of the musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" at Studio 54. He was to fill in the role normally played by Macaco, the dog held by actress Stephanie J. Block in the show. Banana Joe's theater career was scheduled to last for only one performance. "Drood," which is very loosely based on the unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, is produced by the Roundabout Theatre Co. The ending is determined by an audience vote as to who is guilty.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 12, 2013 | By Margaret Gray
In 1986, when Luis Valdez's play “I Don't Have to Show You No Stinking Badges” premiered in Los Angeles, its portrait of an upwardly mobile Latino family in Monterey Park shattered Hollywood stereotypes. Buddy Villa wasn't a bandito or a gardener, Connie Villa wasn't a madam or a maid - they just played them in the movies, earning enough as extras to send their daughter to medical school and their son, Sonny, the play's troubled, troubling protagonist, to Harvard. Casa 0101's affectionate revival, 25 years after the last L.A. production of “Badges,” is compelling not only historically, as a benchmark for how opportunities for Latinos on stage and screen have developed (not as much as one might have hoped)
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