Los Angeles Opera / Music News & Info: Classical

LA Opera announces 2014/2015 season (UPDATED): Conlon leads “Figaro” trilogy; Domingo to play “Germont” in La Traviata


Los Angeles Opera announced their 2014/2015 season today.  After browsing the press release (seen in its entirety below), here are my top of mind thoughts and observations:

  • A little surprised that the number of main stage productions is still at six (well, seven productions if you count the double bill as two separate operas).  That said, it’s an intriguing mix of six productions, with some favorites by Mozart, Rossini, and Verdi being bookended on one side by the 17th-century Dido and Aeneas by Purcell, and by 20th-century works by Bartók, Corigliano, and Catán on the other.
  • Plácido Domingo, everyone’s favorite tenor-cum-baritone-cum-impressario (not to mention LA Opera’s General Director), will bring to Los Angeles his latest baritone role:  Germont in La Traviata.  The season opening production also stars Nino Machaidze as Violetta.  Music Director James Conlon conducts.  All that is great; however, the fact that Mr. Domingo’s wife, Marta, directs . . . well, let’s just say that I reserve judgement.
  • Mr. Conlon also leads a deep dive into the Beaumarchais-based trilogy of “Figaro” operas in a three-month long community project grandly titled “Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power and Revolution at Play.”  Assuming that it is even just a fraction of what the Britten100/LA events have been like, this should be quite interesting.
    • He starts at the end, with the company’s first-ever presentation of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles.  Patrica Racette and Patti LuPone headline the cast.
    • Next is The Barber of Seville by Rossini, with Rodion Pogossov (most recently seen as Papageno in LA Opera’s eye-popping Magic Flute) in the title role.
    • Wrapping up is Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.  Pretty Yende, this season’s Micaëla in Carmen, plays Susanna.
  • Soprano Sandra Radvanovsky, spectacular in last season’s Tosca, sings a recital in November.  Yes, please!
  • That there is a double bill of Dido and Aeneas and Duke Bluebeard’s Castle is intriguing as heck, in and of itself.  That Magic Flute director Barrie Kosky returns to manage the action for this run makes it even more compelling.  Sign me up.
  • Resident Conductor Grant Gershon takes the reigns in a six performance revival of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas.  
  • There is a gaping hole in the main stage calendar at the end of the season that just begs to be filled.  Given the late announcement of A Streetcar Named Desire being added to the 2013/2014 season, I wouldn’t be surprised — nay, I’d be shocked — if a seventh production isn’t announced before the new season begins in earnest.  (Maybe, just maybe, my  begging and pleading to James Conlon and Christopher Koelsch will finally pay off, and they’ll announce a production of The Rake’s Progress . . . a guy can dream, can’t he?!)

Some additional noteworthy information included on their website, but not in the press release below:

  • Liam Bonner, soon to be starring in this season’s Billy Budd, appears in the role Aeneas in the Purcell opera next season.
  • Two of the men from last season’s Rossini opera (Cinderella), tenor René Barbera and baritone Alessandro Corbelli, return for next season’s Rossini opera (The Barber of Seville).   Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong makes her company debut as Rosina.
  • In The Marriage of Figaro, Nicola Alaimo makes his company debut in the title role.  No one is listed yet for the role of Count Almaviva.


  • The LA Opera website has been updated to list Ryan McKinny in the role of Count Almaviva for The Marriage of Figaro.
  • Speaking of Count Almaviva . . . Christopher Maltman, last seen locally in that very same role with the Los Angeles Philharmonic last year, makes his LA Opera debut as Beaumarchais in The Ghosts of Versailles.  (Not sure if it was missing from the website, or if I just missed it.)
  • Speaking of The Ghosts of Versailles . . . it’s not clear from the press release below, but this will be a new production, not the version that was seen at The Met.


Photo credit:  A scene from the 2010 production of Bluebeard’s Castle from Frankfurt Opera (photo by Monika Rittershaus)


LA Opera Media Contacts:
Gary Murphy, Director of Communications and Public Relations
gmurphy@laopera.org | 213.972.7554
Shannita Williams, Associate Director of Communications, Social Media
shannita@laopera.org | 213.972.7347

LA Opera’s 2014/15 Season Showcases
Mix of Contemporary and Classic Operas


(Los Angeles, CA) January 14, 2014 – General Director Plácido Domingo announced LA Opera’s 2014/15 season, created in collaboration with Music Director James Conlon and President and CEO Christopher Koelsch. The upcoming season will include six mainstage productions, with 41 performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Additional performances will take place in other venues through an expansion of the Company’s Off Grand initiative. The season will open on September 13, 2014, and will run through June 14, 2015.

“We have created several exciting projects for LA Opera’s new season,” said Mr. Domingo. “I’m especially thrilled to perform along with James Conlon in the season-opening La Traviata, our fourth opera—and our third Verdi opera—together in Los Angeles. Our mainstage season features works by composers of six nationalities that trace the course of operatic history for more than 300 years, including adaptations of Beaumarchais’ three Figaro plays retold in three different operatic genres: classical, bel canto and contemporary. I am also very pleased to expand the Off Grand series with three very interesting productions that truly show off the striking diversity of the operatic experience. I think that our audiences will love what we have to show them.”

“Our 2014/15 season is designed to offer our audiences a broad balance of great opera written over the last 200 years: a baroque opera, an 18th-century Mozart masterpiece, a bel canto comedy and a middle-period Verdi work as well as magnificent operas from both the early and the late 20th century,” said Mr. Conlon. “The artistic flexibility of the company in presenting works in Italian, Spanish, English and Hungarian, with an orchestra and chorus capable of passing fluently from one style to another, marks an impressive artistic trajectory which we can celebrate. La Traviata and The Barber of Seville happened to be the first two operas I saw as a child, slightly over 50 years ago. I am particularly looking forward to conducting both of these beloved works, collaborating with Plácido and Marta Domingo in La Traviata as well as conducting all three parts of the Beaumarchais Trilogy.”

La Traviata Opens New Season
The season opens with a revival of LA Opera’s 2006 production of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata (September 13–28, 2014), conducted by James Conlon and directed by Marta Domingo. Plácido Domingo returns as Giorgio Germont, a role he performed at the Metropolitan Opera last year. La Traviata will star soprano Nino Machaidze as Violetta.

Innovative Director Barrie Kosky Returns to L.A.
From October 25 through November 15, 2014, a strikingly theatrical pairing of
 Dido and Aeneas andBluebeard’s Castle (October 25 – November 15, 2014) will bring together two masterpieces, written more than two centuries apart, that explore the fine line between devotion and obsession. Staged by Barrie Kosky, director of LA Opera’s 2013 production of The Magic Flute, the double-bill begins with the Company premiere of Dido and Aeneas,a 1688 masterpiece by English composer Henry Purcell, in which a queen loses her heart to a man who abruptly abandons her. Bluebeard’s Castle is a 1918 opera by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, inspired by the famous story by Charles Perrault. The operas will be conducted by Steven Sloane.

Celebrated Opera by Composer Daniel Catán Returns
LA Opera will next present Florencia en el Amazonas (November 22 – December 20, 2014) by the late Mexican-born composer Daniel Catán, whose final opera Il Postino was premiered in Los Angeles in 2010. Inspired by the writings of Gabriel García Márquez, the opera paints an intoxicating portrait of the transformative nature of love. It will feature Chilean soprano Verónica Villarroel as Florencia Grimaldi, a famous prima donna who returns to her Brazilian homeland in search of the great love of her life. Grant Gershon, LA Opera’s Resident Conductor, will conduct a revised and updated revival of a celebrated production by Francesca Zambello that was first presented by LA Opera in 1997.

LA Opera Launches Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power and Revolution at Play
The second half of the season will be devoted to operas based on plays by one of France’s greatest playwrights. The adventures of Figaro, originally told in a series of three stage comedies by French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, have captivated generations of music lovers. Operatic adaptations of the first two plays,The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, are repertoire staples, and composer John Corigliano incorporated plot elements from the third play into his 1991 opera The Ghosts of Versailles. With this “Figaro Trilogy”—LA Opera’s presentation of three Figaro operas in one season, all conducted by James Conlon—audiences have the rare opportunity to follow the complete antics of Figaro, Count Almaviva and Rosina. The trilogy will be accompanied by Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power and Revolution at Play, a three-month celebration of the revolutionary spirit and the legacy of Beaumarchais. With a variety of programming for all ages, Figaro Unbound will investigate the ongoing relevance of Figaro and the Beaumarchais trilogy, as well as the many ways the arts can impact social change.

“I am looking forward to the robust conversations that will be engendered by Figaro Unbound and the programming of three different operas based on the Beaumarchais plays,” said Mr. Koelsch. “It’s a great opportunity for us to reassert the role of the opera house as a center of intellectual and artistic debate, and to explore the many ways that the arts have influenced history.”

The “Figaro Trilogy”

  • The first opera presented in the “Figaro Trilogy” will be John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles(February 7 – March 1, 2015). Described as a “grand opera buffa,” the opera premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1991. The long-awaited West Coast premiere will be conducted by Mr. Conlon and directed by Darko Tresnjak. The cast will feature soprano Patricia Racette as Marie Antoinette and Broadway legend Patti LuPone as the Turkish entertainer Samira.
  • Rossini’s razor-sharp musical wit glints through every scene of The Barber of Seville, one of opera’s most delicious comedies (February 28 – March 22, 2015). James Conlon conducts a top-notch cast, led by the Figaro of Russian baritone Rodion Pogossov, who made his LA Opera debut in 2013 as Papageno in The Magic Flute. The production, from Madrid’s Teatro Real, was created by Spanish stage director Emilio Sagi.
  • LA Opera’s mainstage season concludes with one of Mozart’s greatest masterpieces, The Marriage of Figaro (March 21 – April 12, 2015), conducted by Mr. Conlon. The cast includes South African sopranoPretty Yende returning as Susanna after her sensational 2013 Company debut as Micaëla in Carmen.An ageless message of love and forgiveness, The Marriage of Figaro returns in one of LA Opera’s signature productions, created by director Ian Judge.

Sondra Radvanovsky Returns in Recital
LA Opera’s season at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will also include a recital by one of the most celebrated artists of our time, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, on November 8, 2014. In addition to recent Los Angeles appearances in the title roles of Suor Angelica (2008) and Tosca (2013), the soprano has enjoyed triumphs in Norma, Don Carlo andTosca at the Metropolitan Opera, in Un Ballo in Maschera at La Scala, and in Aida in Munich, Barcelona and Chicago.

LA Opera Off Grand Presents Two L.A. Premieres
The LA Opera Off Grand initiative was developed 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. Three Off Grand productions will be presented during the 2014/15 season.

  • Free performances of a community opera for families, Noah’s Flood by Benjamin Britten, will be conducted by James Conlon and performed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in March 2015
  • A mash-up of opera and film, Hercules vs. Vampires synchronizes an operatic score by composer Patrick Morganelli, performed live by members of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, with the spectacular visuals of Mario Bava’s cult fantasy film Hercules in the Haunted World.Presented in partnership with American Cinematheque, performances will take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in April 2015.
  • The West Coast premiere of Dog Days by composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Vavrek, will be presented in partnership with REDCAT, where it will be performed in June 2015. Hailed by The New York Times as one of the greatest operas of our time, the work incorporates elements of opera, musical theater and rock-infused concert music. Dog Days is the first production in a multi-year partnership with Beth Morrison Projects.

For more information about the Off Grand initiative, visit www.LAOpera.org/OffGrand.

Building on New Audience 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. The Domingo Family Program features ticket packages with discounts for children so that families can experience family-friendly performances together.

LA Opera Board Chairman Marc I. Stern Comments
“The year 2013 was enormously successful for LA Opera, both artistically and financially,” said Marc I. Stern, Chairman of LA Opera’s Board of Directors. “Much of the credit for that goes to our dynamic Board of Directors and steadfast supporters for their incredible generosity and their wholehearted support for Plácido Domingo’s artistic vision. Our recent success will be hard to top, but I think that LA Opera’s 2014/15 season will be one of our most memorable yet.”

Subscription Ticket Information
Season subscription tickets for the 2014/15 season are now available, starting at $102 for all six mainstage operas. For further information, please visit LA Opera’s website at www.LAOpera.org or call LA Opera’s Box Office at213.972.8001.

Please visit www.LAOpera.org for updated casting information and performance dates. Artist headshots and production photographs are available on the LA Opera Press Gallery.

All programs, artists and dates are subject to change.

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



La Traviata         
Saturday, September 13, 2014, at 6:00pm
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, September 21, 2014, at 2:00pm
Tuesday, September 23, 2014, at 7:30pm
Friday, September 26, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, September 28, 2014, at 2:00pm
Production made possible by generous gifts from The Milan Panic Family and Barbara Augusta Teichert.

Dido and Aeneas / Bluebeard’s Castle
Saturday, October 25, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, November 2, 2014, at 2:00pm
Thursday, November 6, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, November 9, 2014, at 2:00pm
Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at 7:30pm
Saturday, November 15, 2014, at 7:30pm

Sondra Radvanovsky in Recital                  
Saturday, November 8, 2014, at 7:30pm

Florencia en el Amazonas
Saturday, November 22, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, November 30, 2014, at 2:00pm
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, at 7:30pm
Sunday, December 14, 2014, at 2:00pm
Thursday, December 18, 2014, at 7:30pm
Saturday, December 20, 2014, at 7:30pm

The Ghosts of Versailles
Saturday, February 7, 2015, at 7:30pm
Sunday, February 15, 2015, at 2:00pm
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, at 7:30pm
Saturday, February 21, 2015, at 7:30pm
Thursday, February 26, 2015, at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 1, 2015, at 2:00pm
Production made possible in part by a generous gift from the Ann & Gordon Getty Foundation.

The Barber of Seville
Saturday, February 28, 2015, at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 8, 2015, at 2:00pm
Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at 7:30pm
Saturday, March 14, 2015, at 7:30pm
Thursday, March 19, 2015, at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 22, 2015, at 2:00pm

Noah’s Flood
Friday, March 6, 2015, at 7:30pm
Saturday, March 7, 2015, at 7:30pm
Performances will take place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (555 W Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).

The Marriage of Figaro
Saturday, March 21, 2015, at 7:30pm
Thursday, March 26, 2015, at 7:30pm
Sunday, March 29, 2015, at 2:00pm
Saturday, April 4, 2015, at 7:30pm
Thursday, April 9, 2015, at 7:30pm
Sunday, April 12, 2015, at 2:00pm

Hercules vs. Vampires
Thursday, April 23, 2015, at 8:00pm
Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 7:00pm
Saturday, April 25, 2015, at 10:00pm
Sunday, April 26, 2015, at 2:00pm

Dog Days
Thursday, June 11, 2015, at 8:00pm
Friday, June 12, 2015, at 8:00pm
Saturday, June 13, 2015, at 8:00pm
Sunday, June 14, 2015, at 2:00pm
Performances will take place at REDCAT (631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012).
Production made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Unless otherwise specified, all performances take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012).

2 thoughts on “LA Opera announces 2014/2015 season (UPDATED): Conlon leads “Figaro” trilogy; Domingo to play “Germont” in La Traviata

  1. As always, thanks for your updates which have been in rather shorty supply lately. Hope all is well!

    I received my LAO renewal packet a few days ago. Unquestionably the dullest and least inspired season in LAO history. The attempt to cobble together the intellectual conceit of a so-called “Figaro” trilogy using Ghosts of Versailles with two tired productions from the warehouse is really testing the intelligence of the audience. Who believes this rubbish? Isn’t anyone insulted at least a little bit? The whole season is driven by abject economy, not creativity. I understand this- opera is so very hard to produce. But it appears that there are a majority of MBA’s running da joint, not artists with vision. Real artists can do a lot with very little – look at The Industry or LBO.

    The Dido/Bluebeard pairing may be of some interest. However upon further thought I really cannot believe that after the small chamber orchestra required for Dido they would spring for the huge orchestra that is Bluebeard. Who on earth wants to hear a cut-down version which is surely what we’ll get? Bartok did not have intimacy in mind, I can assure you. Add the utterly dreadful, derivative and useless Florencia to the mix (an ancient production “starring” the now-voiceless Villaroel), together with mostly Class B casting throughout the season made up my mind for me: no renewal this year after over ten years of steady renewals. Very sad, but I have little interest in this season and do now want to pay top dollar for second-rate casts one can find in Des Moines. Will snag a Goldstar seat for Ghosts which will be really easy to get.

    I really fear for LAO’s future after learning about this trainwreck of a season. James Conlon – a true treasure- must be just biding his time with this mess.

    Sad, Sad, SAD – just keepin’ it real.


    • Yeah, I didn’t mean to be away for so long, but other things got in the way. . . . Thanks for following BTW.

      I don’t love the season, but I don’t hate it either. I can’t call any season where half the productions are by 20th century composers a bad one. We all know that all the big opera companies are going to do warhorses to help pay the bills, and if you’ve gotta pick 3 warhorses, the three they chose are some of my favorites. It may not be the most exciting season, but I’m not thinking it’s as awful as you do.

      I’m most in agreement with you about casting; hoped that there would have been more noteworthy choices.

      I guess I’m just less prone than you to assume the worst about the things we don’t know about — especially the orchestra size of the Purcell/Bartok double bill. I’ll see if we can get an answer about it from the folks at LA Opera.

      Totally with you that Conlon is “a true treasure.” I can say with confidence that he is very happy to be a part of this company and to be making music in this city. Will he stay here after his current contract runs out in 2018? Who knows, but opera seasons are planned years in advance (as I’m sure you know), so if he didn’t like what was coming down the pipe, he could have bowed out instead of signing that extension.

      Moreover, I’ll point out that Conlon is VERY involved in putting together the season. He isn’t the only vote (Placido and Christopher Koelsch are the other primary voices), but if he doesn’t feel it’s up to snuff, he won’t let it get on stage. If the season is as bad as you say it is, you have to blame Conlon (as well as Placido & Koelch), not some alleged collection of MBAs you mentioned.

      I think that the current season could be indicative. Don’t be shocked if, like Falstaff and Magic Flute this year, one or more of the older productions get updated or replaced entirely before they hit the stage. And I’d bet serious money one more opera will be added to the list — who knows, maybe it’ll be one of your favorites.


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