March 10, 2013 |
The composer Richard Wagner, born 200 years ago this spring, believed (with justification) that he represented the music of the future. Los Angeles likes to think (with justification?) that it represents the city of the future. The two should be made for each other, and in the short history of Los Angeles Opera, they have been. No company in America can match so interesting and original a string of Wagner productions over the past quarter-century as those at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, beginning with David Hockney's gorgeous designs for "Tristan und Isolde" in 1987.
July 26, 2012 |
Los Angeles TimesFilm Critic Once upon a time, Richard Wagner dreamed a mighty dream. The composer envisioned a series of four operas so ambitious they dealt with nothing less than the creation and destruction of the world. And he dreamed of doing things - like having singers swimming underwater and riding through the clouds on winged horses - that were frankly impossible to stage. That did not, however, stop people from trying, both then and now. "Wagner's Dream,"an engaging new documentary directed by Susan Froemke, details the most recent attempt to put on a new version of the 19th century Ring cycle, considered, one insider says, "the peak of the mountain" for any opera company.
May 30, 2012 |
A classical music event in Israel is expected to break the country's taboo on performing the music of Richard Wagner, the 19th century German composer and a well-known anti-Semite. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported this week that the event, scheduled for June 18, will feature orchestral musicians performing selections from Wagner's "Der Ring des Nibelungen" and other operas. The event will be an academic symposium at Tel Aviv University devoted to Wagner, conductor Arturo Toscanini and Theodor Herzl, the famed Zionist leader.
April 18, 2012 |
Since its founding in 2003, Jacaranda has proved itself one of the best and most adventurous chamber music series in the country. Based at the First Presbyterian Church in Santa Monica, Jacaranda offers a mix of new and old, with an emphasis on West Coast composers. (This season the group - whose motto is "Music at the Edge" - has put on pieces by Nico Muhly, Philip Glass and Toru Takemitsu, and it will close out its season in May with a minimalist piece by Terry Riley and a Lou Harrison work, arranged from gamelan for string orchestra.)
December 4, 2010
Like a superhero after a bad beat-down, the Broadway musical starring Spider-Man has dusted itself off and is fighting back against perhaps its greatest nemesis ? its own complications. After the first preview performance Sunday, in which "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" had to be halted five times because of technical glitches, two subsequent shows have each been stopped only once. "We've worked out 80% of our bugs," says lead producer Michael Cohl. "We're way ahead of the game.
June 26, 2010 |
The "Ring" is vorbei — the great Los Angeles Wagner marathon ends tonight. It is Los Angeles' first full "Ring of Nibelung" cycle, that zenith of song and stagecraft and music for opera lovers, and it requires devotion and fortitude of the sort perfected by people sometimes referred to a bit rudely as "Ring nuts." People like Eleanor Gnup. She spent 17 years as the librarian at Brea Olinda High School, where a student told her about the opera appreciation class that changed her life.