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ENTERTAINMENT
October 15, 1995
Breslauer wonders why high-profile director Peter Sellars is not appreciated here. She should have seen his production of "The Persians" at the Taper. I have never seen so many people walk out early on a performance in my 30 years of L.A. theatergoing. Sellars is doing 1930s agitprop with artistic pretensions and '90s political correctness. L.A. theatergoers are showing wisdom by not encouraging him further. NORMAN ROSEN Rolling Hills Estates
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ENTERTAINMENT
May 4, 2013 | By Irene Lacher
Theater director Peter Sellars, a UCLA professor of world arts and cultures, will be honored by the Santa Monica Museum of Art at its 25th-anniversary Precognito Gala on May 9. Why are you based in Los Angeles instead of New York, which has a larger arts community? For me, Los Angeles has always been the future and New York has always been the past. New York is the old power structure, and frankly, what's way more interesting is what's taking form in the 21st century in L.A. The future of America is happening right here.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 15, 1991
Regardless of one's point of view on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the concept of an "evenhanded" presentation of a coldblooded terrorist murder makes me gag. Next, Sellars and company will do an "evenhanded" production of the gas chambers at Auschwitz. SIMON A. SAYRE Ojai
ENTERTAINMENT
March 8, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
"The Gospel According to the Other Mary" is now another "Other Mary," the "Mary" we have been waiting for. John Adams' Eastertide combination of Passion and oratorio was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and given its premiere late last spring at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Impressive and stirring as it was, the work felt a masterpiece still in the making. It was long (135 minutes rather than the 90 minutes expected) and unwieldy. It was delivered late and required a draining last-minute preparation for Gustavo Dudamel and the orchestra at the same time they were already overextended by staging Mozart's "Don Giovanni.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 21, 2003
SO, the left-wing writer Jane Smiley "tapped her inner rage" to write her new book ("Good Faith Amid Bad Judgments," by Shawn Hubler, June 17). What fuels such anger? Capitalists and conservatives. Smiley lives in a posh Monterey ranch house, owns 12(!) horses and makes enough money from her books that she no longer has to teach -- all courtesy of a system she consistently slams. To top it off -- like demented icing on an already absurd cake -- she sees herself as a victim. It is breathtaking to observe the aggressive self-delusion of the liberal elite.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 9, 1993
Your article really bothered me. It's bad enough that the guy responsible for one of the least challenging, most yuppie-oriented (give 'em a nice tune, John), "insider" art works of the '80s, "Nixon in China," is again in charge of the major L.A. arts event, his last outing having been an unmitigated disaster. Now to add insult to injury, we have to read Sellars' bad agitprop Marxist sloganeering (circa the '60s!) concerning the very attitudes he himself acts out, his condemnation of the very capitalist structure that has put food on his table ever since he became the Evian crowd's glamour boy in the very decade he claims to despise so ardently, his cynical view of morals while decrying that art is about " valuation , not e -valuation" and, finally, the painful chronology of his behind-smooching all over the city to raise funds for this second installment of his monument to himself, the (so-called)
ENTERTAINMENT
September 6, 1997
Do I have this right? Peter Sellars, who makes his base in Los Angeles, thinks Salzburg is racist and Gerard Mortier, who lauds California for being "open-minded," agrees ("Leading a Revolt in Mozart Country," Calendar, Sept. 3). I would remind both of them that Austria, in 1993, rejected its so-called "anti-immigrant initiative" by the right-radical populist "Freedom Party" on which I write regularly, while California has subsequently passed Propositions 187 and 209 by large margins.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 18, 2009 | Mark Swed, MUSIC CRITIC
Before "A Flowering Tree," which the Los Angeles Philharmonic festively mounted Friday night in Walt Disney Concert Hall, John Adams created five theater works with Peter Sellars that shunned the miraculous. Simple solutions were simply not an option in subject matter that incorporated the cumbersome conflicts between East and West ("Nixon in China"), Arab and Jew ("The Death of Klinghoffer"), creation and destruction ("Doctor Atomic"). In "I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky," a Los Angeles earthquake transforms society.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 18, 1995
As season subscribers, my wife and I were anticipating "Pelleas et Melisande." However, we did not realize that we had purchased "obstructed view seats." The idea that Peter Sellars (and the Los Angeles Opera) would write off the entire second balcony (and probably the first balcony as well) is particularly distressing. I have spent my life in the theater (including starring roles in "Camelot" and "Lovely Ladies Kind Gentlemen" at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion), and I don't recall ever performing on a set that excluded any portion of the audience.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 1, 1995
As season subscribers, my wife and I were anticipating "Pelleas et Melisande." However, we did not realize that we had purchased "obstructed view seats." The idea that Peter Sellars (and the Los Angeles Opera) would write off the entire second balcony (and probably the first balcony as well) is particularly distressing. I have spent my life in the theater (including starring roles in "Camelot" and "Lovely Ladies Kind Gentlemen" at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion), and I don't recall ever performing on a set that excluded any portion of the audience.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 6, 2013 | By David Ng, Los Angeles Times
Perhaps the best way to describe "The Gospel According to the Other Mary" by John Adams is to borrow a phrase from the composer's frequent collaborator Peter Sellars, who wrote the libretto for the piece and is directing a newly staged production premiering Thursday at Walt Disney Concert Hall before traveling with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on its upcoming tour to Europe and New York. "It's not something you would see at the Crystal Cathedral," Sellars said during an interview following a recent rehearsal.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 1, 2012 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Many of John Adams' scores pursue the big ideas. His subjects have included the U.S. relationship with China, Middle Eastern terrorism, the L.A. earthquake and riots, caring for the dying, the Nativity, the bomb. On Thursday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall, he tackled perhaps the biggest of all when the Los Angeles Philharmonic premiered Adams' "The Gospel According to the Other Mary. " Taking on the most monumental narrative in Western civilization, Adams' part-opera/part-Passion is - in subject, meaning, emotion, relevance, historical resonance and musical ambition - huge.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 1, 2012
Saying that he "took the starch out of the Bugs Bunny version of opera," director Peter Sellars was honored at the Opera News Awards on Sunday. The Pittsburgh-born Sellars accepted the award at the Plaza in Manhattan, sounding appropriately like an evangelist for the art form in his acceptance, where he described opera as "the deep end of the pool, where we get real. " Among Sellars' memorable works are his collaborations with composer John Adams that include the Grammy-winning "Doctor Atomic" and the recently staged "Desdemona," a collaboration with Toni Morrison and Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré performed in Berkeley last year that Times Music Critic Mark Swed described as "a great, challenging, haunting and lasting work.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 27, 2011 | By Sergei L. Loiko and Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
As Olga Digonskaya held the faded, long-lost documents, her body shaking with emotion, she was transported backward 70 years into Soviet-Russian history. "I sat there speechless and my hands and legs were trembling," Digonskaya recently recalled of that gray December day in 2004. Had she stumbled upon Joseph Stalin's secret diaries? Or perhaps a trove of his political enemies' trumped-up "confessions"? Not quite. But in some ways, what the eminent musicologist had discovered speaks volumes about the hopes surrounding the early Soviet Union, the artistic flowering of that short-lived era, and the dark forces that soon would enshroud them both.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 30, 2011 | By Kevin Berger, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Watching Peter Sellars rehearse is to observe a man possessed. Last week at the Metropolitan Opera House, L.A.'s reknowned theater director was fine-tuning "Nixon in China," which opens Wednesday. The new production of the John Adams opera, about the pre-Watergate president's historic meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong in 1972, will mark, at long last, Sellars' debut at the Met. It will be broadcast live in movie theaters worldwide Feb. 12. Working on a scene in which Premier Chou en-Lai greets the Nixons in the Great Hall of the People, an ornate banquet room, Sellars raced across the stage like Puck, wearing a polyester shirt left over from "Starsky & Hutch.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 18, 2009 | Mark Swed, MUSIC CRITIC
Before "A Flowering Tree," which the Los Angeles Philharmonic festively mounted Friday night in Walt Disney Concert Hall, John Adams created five theater works with Peter Sellars that shunned the miraculous. Simple solutions were simply not an option in subject matter that incorporated the cumbersome conflicts between East and West ("Nixon in China"), Arab and Jew ("The Death of Klinghoffer"), creation and destruction ("Doctor Atomic"). In "I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky," a Los Angeles earthquake transforms society.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 30, 1988
Peter Sellars is laughable ("Peter Sellars: Provocateur at the Opera," by Martin Bernheimer, Oct. 23). He's over his ugly hairdo in art offal. Of course, he's giving up on the core opera repertory--even he can't dream up enough outrageous trash to throw at the perennials that have stood up despite nearly every kind of maltreatment. Sellars and the kind of chic-tacky "artistes" who did in the visual side of "King Roger" in Long Beach are too self-centered and publicity-voracious to care about the opera.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 31, 1986
Perhaps all of us who have come to California do so, at least in part, to escape the failures--private or professional--of our lives "back East." That has always been the lure of the Golden West and its promise to new opportunities. But when Peter Sellars says that he is finally ready to embark "on my real life," one wonders at his sense of history, not to mention responsibility ("Peter Sellars: Boy Wonder Grows Up," by Dan Sullivan, Aug. 24). No man of the Ph.D. candidates to whom he compares himself would have been allowed to nearly wipe out two theaters (the American National Theater and the Boston Shakespeare Company)
ENTERTAINMENT
June 23, 2007 | Kevin Thomas, Special to The Times
Seven films featured as part of last year's New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna to mark the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth will be shown next week as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival. The six features and a short were commissioned by Peter Sellars, the Vienna festival's artistic director, who sought international filmmakers who would deal in highly personal ways with such Mozartian themes as transformation, forgiveness and recognition of the dead.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 3, 2007 | Mark Swed, Times Staff Writer
John Adams achieves exultation with ease. By simply relying on his rhythmic sense and his facility for colorfully manipulating an orchestra or voices, he can easily light up a black sky with fireworks. But optimism is not the natural state of his music. It is something he has to shop for. Adams' opera "A Flowering Tree," which was given its North American premiere semi-staged by the San Francisco Symphony on Thursday night, is joy purchased.
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