Los Angeles Opera / Music News & Info: Classical

LA Opera announces 2013/2014 season

Billy Budd at LA Opera (2000 production)
Los Angeles Opera announced their 2013/2014 season today.  As far as I’m concerned, the most noteworthy things:

  • Not a big increase in number of productions and performances versus the 2012/2013 season, but the mix is a bit more diverse — including three performances of Glass’s Einstein on the Beach.
  • Tenor Brandon Jovanovich returns to L.A. this fall as Don Jose in Carmen
  • Nino Machaidze appears twice (Carmen and Thaïs)
  • Plácido Domingo won’t be singing until late in the season (May-June 2014) when he takes on another baritone role, Athanaël in Thaïs; he’ll be seen at the beginning of the season conducting four performances of Carmen
  • Grant Gershon conducts the three remaining performances of Carmen
  • Music Director James Conlon will be conducting the vast majority of the performances throughout the season (thank goodness).
  • The only conductor appearing this season who does not hold some kind of title with the company will be Massenet specialist Patrick Fournillier in, appropriately enough, Massenet’s Thaïs
  • The company will celebrate the Britten centenary with a production of Billy Budd featuring Liam Bonner (last seen around here in Albert Herring in Spring of 2012) in the title role and will play a major role in “Britten 100/LA: A Centenary Celebration,” a county-wide celebration.
  • No Wagner opera this year.  The only opera to be sung in German will be The Magic Flute in the company’s well-known production by Sir Peter Hall and Gerald Scarfe.  The cast includes Janai Brugger (recently seen locally as Musetta in La Bohème) and, making her company debut, Erika Miklósa as Queen of the Night (click HERE to see a video of her singing the Queen of the Night’s big aria)
  • The company will make two visits to Orange County for one concert performance each of Falstaff and Thaïs
  • Mr. Conlon will conduct two performances of the world premiere of Alexander Prior’s Jonah and the Whale,  inspired by Britten’s Noye’s Fludde
  • Dmitri Hvorostovsky appears in recital and Audra McDonald performs a one-night concert

The short version of the schedule (all performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion unless otherwise noted):

  • Carmen (Bizet):  Seven performances, Sep. 21 ̵ Oct. 6, 2013
  • Einstein on the Beach (Glass):  Three performances, October 11, 12 and 13, 2013
  • Audra McDonald in Concert:  October 26, 2013
  • Falstaff (Verdi):  Six performances, Nov. 9 ̵ Dec. 1, 2013; ; additionally, there will be one concert performance in Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa on Nov 26, 2013
  • Billy Budd (Britten):  Six performances, Feb. 22 – March 16, 2014
  • Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti):  Six performances, March 15 – April 6, 2014
  • Jonah and the Whale (Alexander Prior):  Two performances at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, March 21-22, 2014 (World Premiere)
  • Thaïs (Massenet):  Six performances, May 17 – June 7, 2014; additionally, there will be one concert performance in Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa on May 22, 2014
  • Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Recital:  May 22, 2014

Complete details taken from the official Los Angeles Opera press release are below:

(Los Angeles, CA) January 8, 2013 – Plácido Domingo, General Director of LA Opera, announced the details of the Company’s 2013/14 Season today. The season will include seven productions at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, including the Company premiere of Massenet’s Thaïs and the highly anticipated first performances in Los Angeles of the Philip Glass/Robert Wilson collaboration Einstein on the Beach. Mr. Domingo will conduct the season-opening production of Carmen and he will also perform the role of Athanaël in Thaïs. James Conlon, LA Opera’s Music Director, will conduct four mainstage productions as well as the world premiere of Alexander Prior’s community opera Jonah and the Whale at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. According to Christopher Koelsch, President and CEO of LA Opera, the season will include 42 performances presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as well as four LA Opera Off Grand performances taking place in other venues. The season opens on September 21, 2013, and will run through June 7, 2014.

The season opens with a revival of Georges Bizet’s Carmen (Sep. 21 ̵ Oct. 6, 2013). Plácido Domingo will conduct four of the seven performances, with Resident Conductor Grant Gershon conducting three performances. The popular production, staged by Spanish director Emilio Sagi, has previously been seen in Los Angeles in 2004 and 2008. The title role will be performed by Irish mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon, who made her LA Opera debut in 2009 as Andronico in Tamerlano and who recently performed Erda in the Metropolitan Opera’s new Ring cycle. Tenor Brandon Jovanovich (Good Hope in The Birds, 2009; Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly, 2012) returns as Don José, with baritone Dwayne Croft (Don Giovanni, 1999; Germont in La Traviata, 2006) as Escamillo. Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze (The Elixir of Love, 2009; The Turk in Italy, 2011; Roméo et Juliette, 2011) sings the role of Micaëla, the first of two leading roles she will perform with LA Opera in the season.

Opera companies around the globe will commemorate the 200th birthday of composer Giuseppe Verdi in 2013. LA Opera celebrates the greatest of Italian opera composers with his final, comic masterpiece, Falstaff(Nov. 9 ̵ Dec. 1, 2013), conducted by James Conlon. Director Lee Blakeley will make his LA Opera debut reimagining a production last presented in 2005, with new designs by Adrian Linford. Italian baritoneRoberto Frontali (Count di Luna in Il Trovatore, 2005) sings the role of Shakespeare’s beloved rogue, Sir John Falstaff. The cast also includes Italian soprano Carmen Giannattasio (Amor in Orfeo ed Euridice,2003) as Alice Ford. The cast also includes several singers making their Company debuts, including Italian baritone Marco Caria as Ford, Russian soprano Ekaterina Sadovnikova as Nannetta and Argentinean tenorJuan Francesco Gatell as Fenton. The cast will also feature two mezzo-soprano alumnae of LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program: Ronnita Nicole Miller (Florence Pike in Albert Herring, 2012; Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro, 2010) as Dame Quickly and Erica Brookhyser (Kate Pinkerton inMadame Butterfly, 2008; Waltraute in Die Walküre, 2009 and 2010) as Meg Page.

The Magic Flute
Another of LA Opera’s iconic productions, Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Nov. 23  ̵  Dec. 15, 2013) returns to the repertoire conducted by James Conlon, in the colorful Peter Hall production designed by Gerald Scarfe. Tenor Lawrence Brownlee makes his LA Opera debut as Tamino opposite the Pamina of Janai Brugger(Musetta in La Bohème, 2012; Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program alumna). Hungarian coloratura soprano Erika Miklósa will make her Company debut as the Queen of the Night, and bass Morris Robinson(Fasolt in Das Rheingold, 2009 and 2010) reprises his performance as Sarastro, his LA Opera debut role in 2009. As Papageno, Russian baritone Rodion Pogossov will make his first LA Opera appearance.

Billy Budd
Throughout 2013, the Benjamin Britten centenary will be observed worldwide. Locally, Britten 100/LA: A Celebration will bring together a number of Los Angeles artists and institutions in a countywide collaboration featuring performances, conferences and exhibitions by a host of organizations. LA Opera will conclude the initiative in 2014 with Britten’s Billy Budd (Feb. 22 – March 16, 2014) conducted by James Conlon in a revival of the Francesca Zambello production last seen in Los Angeles in 2000. Baritone Liam Bonner (Sid in Albert Herring, 2012) returns to make his role debut as Billy, and tenor Richard Croft (The Shaper inGrendel, 2006) returns as Captain Vere. Bass Greer Grimsley makes his LA Opera debut as the sinister John Claggart. The cast also includes British baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore in his Company debut as Mr. Redburn and Australian bass Daniel Sumegi (Colline in La Bohème, 2004; Monterone in Rigoletto, 2010) as Mr. Flint. The great bass Samuel Ramey (Méphistophélès in Faust, 2000; Bluebeard in Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, 2002; the four Tales of Hoffmann villains2002; Méphistophélès in The Damnation of Faust, 2003) returns as Dansker.

Lucia di Lammermoor
Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova returns to LA Opera in the title role of a new production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (March 15 – April 6, 2014) her first appearance with the Company since her 2009 debut as the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute. Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu (Rinuccio inGianni Schicchi, 2008; Ferrando in Così fan tutte, 2011) will return as Edgardo. The production, new to Los Angeles, will also feature baritone Stephen Powell (Sharpless in Madame Butterfly, 2008; Germont in La Traviata, 2009) as Enrico and bass James Creswell (Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin, 2011; Daland in The Flying Dutchman, 2013) as Raimondo. James Conlon will conduct.

LA Opera’s season concludes with the Company premiere of Jules Massenet’s Thaïs (May 17 – June 7, 2014), starring soprano Nino Machaidze in the title role and Plácido Domingo as Athanaël, a baritone role that he has recently performed to great acclaim in Seville and Valencia. Tenor Paul Groves (Faust in The Damnation of Faust, 2003; Fritz in The Grand Duchess, 2005) returns as Nicias. The production, directed byNicola Raab, will be conducted by Patrick Fournillier in his Company debut.

Audra McDonald in Concert / Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Recital
LA Opera’s season at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will also include a concert by soprano Audra McDonaldon October 26, 2013. Ms. McDonald made her LA Opera debut in 2007 starring as Jenny in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. The season will also include a recital by Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky on May 22, 2014. Mr. Hvorostovsky has previously appeared in recital with LA Opera in 2004 and 2011, as well as in a 2006 concert.

Einstein on the Beach
As a special addition to the season, LA Opera presents a rare revival of the groundbreaking 1976 collaboration by Robert Wilson and Philip GlassUniversally hailed as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century, Einstein on the Beach breaks all rules of conventional opera. Non-narrative in form, the work uses a series of powerful recurrent images as its main dramatic device, shown in juxtaposition with abstract dance sequences created by Lucinda Childs. The Los Angeles performances will be the final North American stop of the production’s international tour. Presented in collaboration with the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (CAP UCLA), Einstein on the Beach features the Philip Glass Ensemble, the Lucinda Childs Dance Company and violinist Jennifer Koh. There will be three performances of Einstein on the Beach at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (October 11, 12 and 13, 2013).

LA Opera Off Grand
The Off Grand initiative was developed to bring LA Opera performances to a wider geographical area, to increase audience diversity and to expand on traditional ideas of the operatic experience by experimenting with performance spaces, creative artists new to the genre and a variety of musical styles. Off Grandperformances for the 2013/2014 season include the world premiere of Jonah and the Whale by composerAlexander Prior and librettist Velina Hasu Houston, a community opera for families that will be conducted by James Conlon and performed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on March 21 and 22, 2014. LA Opera will also partner with Orange County’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts to present two concert performances at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa: Falstaff on November 26, 2013, and Thaïs on May 22, 2014.

Britten 100/LA: A Centenary Celebration
Throughout 2013, the centenary of English composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) will be observed around the world by musicians and institutions of every kind. James Conlon, whose lifelong admiration of Britten’s genius is reflected in his personal three-year performance cycle of the composer’s works in the United States and Europe, will helm LA Opera’s participation in Britten 100/LA: A Celebration, a countywide festival presented in collaboration with a host of local organizations. The festivities will begin with a free-of-chargeInaugural Event with Mr. Conlon presenting, in the form of his customary pre-performance talks, an overview of the legacy of the composer. This will include an emphasis on Britten’s personal history in Los Angeles and of the celebration itself and will be held in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion’s Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall. Festival highlights include the War Requiem conducted by Mr. Conlon, featuring the Colburn Orchestra in collaboration with musicians from USC Thornton and the USC Thornton Chamber Singers and Concert Choir. This central event will unite musical institutions across Southern California including choristers from CSU-Long Beach, CSU-Fullerton, Chapman University, the New Zealand Youth Choir and the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus. It will be performed twice, at Walt Disney Concert Hall presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall presented by the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. Other highlights an all-day birthday celebration of Britten’s birth date on November 22, 2013, culminating in a performance of the Cantata Misericordium, Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings andRejoice in the Lamb at St. James’ Church; LA Opera’s community performances of Noye’s Fludde at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels; performances of A Ceremony of Carols by the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall, by the National Children’s Chorus at the Broad Stage, and by the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica; a season-long series of concerts as well as the church parable Curlew River, presented by Jacaranda; The Rape of Lucretia performed by the Colburn Orchestra with singers from LA Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, conducted by Mr. Conlon; a concert of choral works by the Pacific Chorale; concerts presented in LACMA’s “Sundays Live” series; programs with the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts; performances of sacred works by local church choirs; an exhibition of Britten’s letters at the Huntington Library; and a conference on Britten and literature presented at UCLA. The festivities will continue well into 2014, culminating in LA Opera’s spring production of Billy Budd. Visit www.Britten100LA.org for updated details and associated events.

Continuing Audience Development Initiatives
A number of audience development programs continue to enable a broader spectrum of the Los Angeles community to experience LA Opera performances. These include the Community Circle, a seating initiative in which at least 200 seats are set aside at every performance for students, senior centers and underserved groups to attend at minimal (or no) cost. For more information, please visit www.LAOpera.com/community.The Domingo Family Program features ticket packages with discounts for children so that families can experience family-friendly performances of Falstaff and The Magic Flute together. For more information, please visit www.LAOpera.com/tickets/packages.

Season Tickets
Subscription tickets for the 2013/14 Season are now available. For further information, please visit LA Opera’s website at www.LAOpera.com or call LA Opera’s Box Office at 213.972.8001.  Unless specifically stated otherwise, performances take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center, 135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012.  For disability access, call 213.972.0777 or e-mailwehelpyou@laopera.com.

Quotes about LA Opera’s 2013/14 Season
“I am thrilled that LA Opera has been able to expand our activities by presenting more productions. I am particularly excited to conduct our season-opening production of Carmen in Septemberand then return in the spring to perform Athanaël in Thaïs, a Company premiere that will be a truly dazzling conclusion to the season. LA Opera has a long and proud history of presenting the operas of Benjamin Britten, and I look forward to reuniting with many of our Ring Festival partners for Britten 100/LA, a countywide celebration of the Britten centennial that will showcase the richness of L.A.’s cultural offerings. Our season features world-class singers in a remarkably diverse repertoire that our audiences will enjoy. I am certain that the Los Angeles premiere of Einstein on the Beach will create great anticipation and bring new audience members into our theater.”
Plácido Domingo, Eli and Edythe Broad General Director

“The opera world has a big job in 2013: adequately celebrating the birthdays of three geniuses, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi and Benjamin Britten. Each of them represents the zenith of operatic art in their respective, discrete cultures. I am happy that LA Opera has been able to recognize all three in the context of mainstage productions over two seasons. It gives me particular pleasure that we will be the catalyst behind a countywide celebration of Benjamin Britten’s works and legacy that will span an entire year and which testifies to the multifaceted nature of his genius. In this context I am also proud to conduct the world premiere of Alexander Prior’s Jonah and the Whale, an LA Opera commission inspired by Britten’s Noye’s Fludde, a seminal work which exemplifies Britten’s mission to educate and unite communities around a shared musical experience.”
James Conlon, Richard Seaver Music Director

“As we move into the New Year, LA Opera has much to celebrate. Our audience members and donors have supported our artistic initiatives with overwhelming enthusiasm, and we are determined to reward their commitment to us by remaining strong both artistically and fiscally.”
Marc I. Stern, Chairman of the Board of Directors

“I am excited that our coming season gives us so many opportunities to reach out to new audiences. After the incredible success that Plácido Domingo and James Conlon had with our concert performance of The Two Foscari in Orange County, we are expanding the Off Grand series to include two concert performances of Falstaff and Thais at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Our thriving community outreach programs, such as our popular Community Circle seating initiative and the Domingo Family Program, also continue to introduce so many people to opera for the very first time.”
Christopher Koelsch, President and Chief Executive Officer

All programs, artists and dates are subject to change.

Artist headshots and production photographs are available on the Los Angeles Opera Press Gallery:

Rolex is the Official Timepiece of LA Opera.
Yamaha is the Official Piano of LA Opera.



Saturday, September 21, 2013, at 7:30pm
Thursday, September 26, 2013, at 7:30pm
Saturday, September 28, 2013, at 7:30pm
Sunday, September 29, 2013, at 2:00pm
Tuesday, October 1, 2013, at 7:30pm
Friday, October 4, 2013, at 7:30pm
Sunday, October 6, 2013, at 2:00pm

Einstein on the Beach: An Opera in Four Acts 
Friday, October 11, 2013, at 6:00pm
Saturday, October 12, 2013, at 6:00pm
Sunday, October 13, 2013, at 2:00pm

Audra McDonald in Concert                  
Saturday, October 26, 2013, at 7:30pm

Saturday, November 9, 2013, at 7:30pm
Wednesday, November 13, 2013, at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 16, 2013, at 7:30pm
Thursday, November 21, 2013, at 7:30pm
Sunday, November 24, 2013, at 2pm
Sunday, December 1, 2013, at 2pm

Concert performance of Falstaff at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall:
Tuesday, November 26, 2013, at 7:30pm

The Magic Flute
Saturday, November 23, 2013, at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 30, 2013, at 7:30pm
Thursday, December 5, 2013, at 7:30pm
Sunday, December 8, 2013, at 2:00pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013, at 7:30pm
Sunday, December 15, 2013, at 2:00pm

Billy Budd   
Saturday, February 22, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 2, 2014, at 2:00pm
Wednesday, March 5, 2014, at 7:30pm
Saturday, March 8, 2014, at 7:30pm
Thursday, March 13, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 16, 2014, at 2:00pm

Lucia di Lammermoor
Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 7:30pm
Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 23, 2014, at 2:00pm
Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at 7:30pm
Saturday, March 29, 2014, at 7:30pm
Saturday, April 6, 2014, at 7:30pm

Jonah and the Whale
Friday, March 21, 2014, at 7:00pm
Saturday, March 22, 2014, at 7:00pm
(Performances of Jonah and the Whale will take place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels)

Saturday, May 17, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, May 25, 2014, at 2:00pm
Thursday, May 29, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, June 1, 2014, at 2:00pm
Wednesday, June 4, 2014, at 7:30pm
Saturday, June 7, 2014, at 7:30pm

Concert performance of Thaïs at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall:
Thursday, May 22, 2014, at 7:30pm

Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Recital
Thursday, May 22, 2014, at 7:30pm

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