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ENTERTAINMENT
October 21, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
If you hoped to catch the twilight Pacific Surfliner on Saturday at Union Station, you first had to pass through the Twilight Zone. The sign on the information booth read: "Please do not bother the nice person on the computer. She is part of an opera performance. " Dancers in imaginative traveling outfits might have obstructed your path or simply distracted you with some ferocious funny business on the floor. You would have had further need to jostle past a couple hundred gawkers sporting large headphones and not going where you were going or hearing what you were hearing.
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ENTERTAINMENT
October 19, 2013 | By Reed Johnson
The idea of a headphone opera was hatched over drinks at a downtown Mexican bar. The production design was partly inspired by flash mobs and silent disco. And the setting won't be a proscenium theater, but the majestically melancholy Union Station train terminal in downtown Los Angeles. These are someways in which Saturday night's world premiere performance of "Invisible Cities" won't be a conventional night at the opera, and why the audience it attracts likely won't be conventional either.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 13, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 12, 2013 | By David Ng
Philip Glass' groundbreaking American opera "Einstein on the Beach" opened at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Friday for what promoters billed as one of the biggest cultural events of the season. And what about the composer's new opera, the one about Walt Disney? Don't expect to see it in town any time soon. "The Perfect American" was staged in Madrid and London earlier this year and will be performed in Australia in fall 2014. PHOTOS: Operas by Philip Glass L.A. Opera President Christopher Koelsch attended the world premiere of "The Perfect American" in January in Madrid so that he could consider producing the piece's U.S. premiere.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 12, 2013 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
Inside Union Station, a robotic voice is barking out destinations for Amtrak's northbound Train 785, departing from track No. 9. "Glendale, Burbank Airport, Van Nuys … Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta! All aboard!" Yuval Sharon smiles, pauses mid-sentence and brings the racing locomotive of his thoughts to a screeching halt. Twilight is settling over the downtown L.A. train terminal, where, on Saturday, Sharon and his 3-year-old opera company, the Industry, will stage the world premiere of "Invisible Cities," Christopher Cerrone's "headphone opera" based on Italo Calvino's memory-circumnavigating novel.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 1, 2013 | By David Ng
New York City Opera, the venerated institution that New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia once affectionately dubbed the "people's opera," has officially lowered the curtain for good.  The company announced on Tuesday morning that it has begun the process of shutting down and that it will enter bankruptcy protection. The move was widely expected after the company failed to raise $7 million in an emergency fundraising campaign launched last month. City Opera, which has been New York's second-largest opera company, has been experiencing financial difficulty since at least 2008, when the company slashed its operating budget, prompting Gérard Mortier to quit his future position as the company's general and artistic director.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 30, 2013 | By David Ng
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 28, 2013 | By David Ng
New York's second-largest opera company appears to be on the brink of bankruptcy as an emergency fundraising effort is failing to meet its target, barring any last-minute miracle. The New York City Opera was looking to raise $1 million through Kickstarter by the end of September. As of late Saturday, the campaign had received less than $250,000 in pledges. The company had said it needs to raise a total of $7 million by the end of the month or it would have to suspend its 2013-14 season.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 27, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
SAN FRANCISCO - A Stephen King opera had to happen. Many of his 56 novels have been made into movies and have spent time on bestseller lists, making King a king of pop culture accessibility - just what the opera world lusts after these days. Moreover, Maine's master of the supernatural is also fast rising in the ranks of literary respectability. On my way to see Tobias Picker's new opera based on "Dolores Claiborne" at San Francisco Opera on Wednesday night, I stopped off at University Press Books in Berkeley.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 23, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Summer's over. That may not be a sigh of relief in all quarters, but you could almost hear one Saturday night at the Dorothy Chandler. Los Angeles Opera General Director Plácido Domingo was in the pit to conduct the season opening on this first night of fall. He began by racing through the opening of Bizet's "Carmen. " FOR THE RECORD: "Carmen": A review in the Sept. 23 Calendar section of Los Angeles Opera's "Carmen" identified the chorus as being singers of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
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