Los Angeles Opera / Music News & Info: Classical

LA Opera announces rest of 2017/18 season


The other shoe has dropped.  Having already mentioned that Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice will be on the 2017/18 season docket, Los Angeles Opera announced the rest of next season’s schedule earlier this evening.

As with the LACO 207/18 season announcement, I’ll give my $0.02 later this week.  In the meantime, here are some noteworthy tidbits:

  • Six mainstage productions — Carmen, The Pearl Fishers, Nabucco, Candide, Orpheus and Eurydice, and Rigoletto — each performed six times.
    • For those keeping score, that means:
      • Only 36 total mainstage performances.
      • Two Bizet operas, two Verdi operas, a Gluck opera, and a Bernstein operetta.  Zero Puccini.  Zero Mozart.  Zero Wagner.  No true grand opera written in the 20th or 21st century for the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
      • Three productions sung in French, two in Italian, and one in English.
      • The is the first time the company will present The Pearl Fishers(!) and/or Candide.  Three of the other four productions will be new to LA; only the San Francisco Opera production of Rigoletto has been on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage before.
    • Plácido Domingo, the company’s General Director celebrating his 50th Anniversary of his Dorothy Chandler Pavilion debut, will sing the title role in Nabucco and conduct four performances of The Pearl Fishers (Grant Gershon conducts the other two).
    • James Conlon, whose term as Music Director was recently extended, will conduct four of the mainstage productions, none of which he has conducted with the company before (including his first Carmen in 20+ years).
    • Legendary baritone Leo Nucci makes his company debut in the title role of Rigoletto
  • A pair of one-off performances at the Dorothy Chandler:  A Plácido Domingo 50th Anniversary concert and a night with Audra McDonald in concert
  • Four “Off-Grand” productions:  Jean Cocteau’s classic film, La Belle et la Bête, with live soundtrack written by composer Philip Glass (three shows, Theatre at the Ace Hotel in DTLA); the West Coast premiere of Persona, based on the Ingmar Bergman film, with music by Keeril Makan (four shows, REDCAT in DTLA); the West Coast premiere of Crossing, written by Matthew Aucoin, LA Opera’s Artist-in-Residence, and starring Rod Gilfrey (one performance, The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills); and a double-bill of The Canterville Ghost (West Coast premiere) and Usher House, both by Gordon Getty (The Broad Stage in Santa Monica).

The full press release is below.



Photo credit:  A scene from the Thaddeus Strassberger production of “Nabucco.” (Photo: Scott Suchman / Washington National Opera)


LA Opera Announces 2017/18 Season

Five of the season’s six mainstage productions are new to LA Opera, including two company premieres; other highlights include a gala
celebration of Plácido Domingo’s 50 years in Los Angeles

(Los Angeles) January 23, 2017 –  General Director Plácido Domingo has announced the repertory and artist roster for the company’s 2017/18 season. Planned by Mr. Domingo in collaboration with Music Director James Conlon and President and CEO Christopher Koelsch, the season will include six mainstage productions presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and additional performances presented in four different venues through the company’s Off Grand initiative. The company will also present two concerts at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, including a gala celebration marking the 50th anniversary of Mr. Domingo’s first performance in Los Angeles.

The season will open on September 9, 2017, and will run through June 24, 2018.

“Many of the world’s most gifted and most important artists converge in Los Angeles to bring the magic of opera to our community,” said Mr. Domingo, who will sing the title role of Nabucco and conduct performances of The Pearl Fishers during the season. “The 2017/18 season emphasizes the new. Five of the season’s six mainstage productions will be completely new to Los Angeles, and two of those will be company premieres. We will see a number of major house debuts by world-class talents, including two truly legendary artists: director-choreographer John Neumeier and baritone Leo Nucci. Furthermore, our Off Grand season introduces no less than five contemporary works in their company premieres. Put together, all of these groundbreaking performances showcase the transformative power of opera and the incredible variety of operatic expression.”

“With so many wonderful events surrounding my tenth anniversary at LA Opera, it would seem difficult to surpass the remaining months of our current season,” said Mr. Conlon. “But as I look ahead to the 2017/18 season, I am happy that we will continue to revive significant works that have been long absent from our stage. In all, I will conduct four mainstage productions of operas that I have never previously led at LA Opera. I am particularly proud to collaborate with Plácido Domingo for our fifth Verdi opera together here, Nabucco, which has not been seen in Los Angeles since 2002. Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice returns to our repertory for the first time since 2003, when it was performed in the original Italian, but this time I will conduct the company premiere of the composer’s subsequent French adaptation. The season opens with Bizet’s Carmen, which, astonishingly, I will conduct for the first time in more than 20 years. I also look forward to celebrating the centenary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth with the company premiere of Candide. Most of all, I look forward to making music with our orchestra, chorus and staff, who are the musical backbone of LA Opera.”

Complete casting and additional information can be found at LAOpera.org or by clicking on the titles below for more details.

In just over three decades of existence, LA Opera has become one of America’s most exciting and ambitious opera companies, dedicated to staging imaginative new productions, world premiere commissions and inventive stagings of the classics that preserve the foundational works while making them feel fresh and compelling. The company also explores unusual repertoire and new works through the Off Grand initiative, performed in a variety of venues throughout Los Angeles. As a non-profit organization, LA Opera depends on philanthropic support to ensure that opera thrives in Los Angeles for generations to come. Sharing the arts is part of the company’s civic responsibility, and LA Opera deepens community involvement with this rich art form through many wide-ranging initiatives.


(presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion)

Carmen (Sep 9–Oct 1, 2017; production new to L.A.) — Georges Bizet
James Conlon conducts a cast led by Ana María Martínez as Carmen, featuring Alexander Vinogradov as Escamillo and Amanda Woodbury as Micaëla. The production is directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, winner of Tony, Emmy and Olivier Awards.

The Pearl Fishers (Oct 7–28, 2017; company premiere) — Georges Bizet
Plácido Domingo and Grant Gershon will each conduct performances of a rarely performed treasure, directed by Penny Woolcock. Nino Machaidze returns as Leïla, her seventh leading role in Los Angeles, with superstar tenor Javier Camarena making his company debut as Nadir. The cast also includes Alfredo Daza as Zurga and Nicholas Brownlee as Nourabad.

Nabucco (Oct 14–Nov 19, 2017; production new to L.A.) — Giuseppe Verdi
Plácido Domingo sings the title role of the monumental opera that made Verdi famous, conducted by James Conlon. Directed by Thaddeus Strassberger, the production also features Liudmyla Monastyrska in her LAO debut as Abigaille, with Morris Robinson as Zaccaria, Mario Chang as Ismaele and Nancy Fabiola Herrera as Fenena.

Candide (Jan 27–Feb 18, 2018; company premiere) — Leonard Bernstein
In celebration of Bernstein’s 100th birthday, James Conlon conducts one of the composer’s finest stage works, in a production by Francesca Zambello. The cast includes Jack Swanson as Candide and Erin Morley as Cunegonde.

Orpheus and Eurydice (March 10–25, 2018; new production) — Christoph Willibald Gluck
A living legend in the dance world, John Neumeier directs, choreographs and designs a new production of Gluck’s enormously influential masterpiece, conducted by James Conlon and featuring the brilliant dancers of the Joffrey Ballet. The title roles are sung by Maxim Mironov and Lisette Oropesa.

Rigoletto (May 12–June 3, 2018) — Giuseppe Verdi
Artist in Residence Matthew Aucoin conducts a revival of Mark Lamos’s striking production, headlined by two extraordinary Italian baritones. From May 12 through 19, the legendary Leo Nucci makes his company debut as Rigoletto, with Lisette Oropesa as Gilda and Arturo Chacón-Cruz as the Duke of Mantua. From May 27 through June 3, charismatic powerhouse Ambrogio Maestri takes over the title role, with Irina Lungu and Michael Fabiano making their company debuts as Gilda and the Duke.


(presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion)

Plácido Domingo 50th Anniversary Concert (Nov 17, 2017)
On November 17, 1967, a young singer on tour with the New York City Opera took to the stage of the new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. In the subsequent five decades, Plácido Domingo has made a profound impact on the cultural life of Los Angeles—as a singer, conductor and champion of the arts. Fifty years to the day since that remarkable debut, Plácido Domingo headlines a gala concert, joined by a legion of special guest artists and James Conlon conducting the LA Opera Orchestra, in a musical celebration of Domingo’s incomparable artistic legacy.
Audra McDonald in Concert (May 20, 2018)
Unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actress, Audra McDonald—winner of an Emmy Award, two Grammy Awards and a record-setting six Tony Awards—returns to Los Angeles in concert with the LA Opera Orchestra.


(presented in various venues)

La Belle et la Bête (Oct 28–31, 2017; company premiere) — Philip Glass
Jean Cocteau’s cinematic masterpiece is recast with an enchanting soundtrack by composer Philip Glass, who replaced the film’s original music and dialogue with nothing less than a classical opera. As the film plays on the screen, a quartet of vocal soloists perform live in synchronization with the film actors, as Michael Riesman conducts the Philip Glass Ensemble.

Presented at the Theatre at Ace Hotel (929 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, 90015)

Persona (Nov 9-12, 2017; west coast premiere) —   Keeril Makan
Based on the classic Ingmar Bergman film, Persona is a provocative and artistically complex depiction of human frailty, cruelty and identity, unfolding in a taut psychological drama. The west coast premiere of Persona marks LA Opera’s fourth season of collaborations with Beth Morrison Projects.

Presented at REDCAT (631 W. Second Street, Los Angeles, 90012)

Crossing (May 26, 2018; west coast premiere) —  Matthew Aucoin
In its west coast premiere, a haunting, compassionate work by Artist in Residence Matthew Aucoin is based on poet Walt Whitman’s experiences tending to wounded soldiers during the Civil War. Starring Rod Gilfry as Whitman, the concert performance is conducted by the composer.

Presented at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (9390 N. Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, 90210)

A Gordon Getty Double Bill (June 22-24, 2018)
The Canterville Ghost
(west coast premiere) —  Gordon Getty
 (company premiere) — Gordon Getty
A ghostly double bill begins with The Canterville Ghost, a deft comic spin on Oscar Wilde’s witty tale, in which a 300-year-old English ghost fails to impress a family of Americans who refuse to be frightened. Writer Edgar Allen Poe takes the stage himself as the main character of Usher House, an unsettling chiller that has all the classic elements of Gothic horror: a high-strung recluse, a beautiful madwoman and a sinister doctor, all hidden away together in a crumbling manor house full of secrets.

Presented at The Broad Stage (1310 11th Street, Santa Monica, 90401)

For more information about LA Opera’s Off Grand initiative, visit LAOpera.org/OffGrand.


(presented in various venues)

LA Opera performances are experienced by vast numbers of Angelenos throughout the year, and not just through the musical events mentioned above. In its longstanding belief that the arts are essential to building our community, the company strives to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to experience or participate in opera. To that end, LA Opera presents a robust variety of outreach and family offerings, experienced by more than 135,000 people of all ages each season. Highlights of these initiatives include (to mention just a few):

Saturday Mornings at the Opera (Jan 13, 2018, and May 5, 2018)
LA Opera presents two Saturday morning, hour-long, interactive performances, preceded by fun and creative workshops for children that prepare the audience with art and music-making activities.

Presented in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, 90012)

Jonah and the Whale  (March 16–17, 2018) — Jack Perla
James Conlon conducts an opera by composer Jack Perla and librettist Velina Hasu Houston, premiered by LA Opera in 2014. Created for audiences of all ages, and featuring more than 400 professional, amateur and student performers, the opera is presented free of charge as a gift to the community.

Presented at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (555 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, 90012)

Great Opera Choruses  (April 28, 2018)
Grant Gershon conducts the LA Opera Chorus in a free performance featuring soloists from the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. Audience members of all ages will have the opportunity to join in the fun by singing along to the Toreador Song from Carmen and other favorites.

Presented at the Valley Performing Arts Center (18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, 91330)

Community Circle   (ongoing through the season)
The Community Circle seating program enables LA Opera to increase service to students, low-income senior centers, nonprofit service organizations and underserved community groups. Carefully selected groups can experience opera at a significantly reduced price (and even, at times, no cost). Over 150 tickets are set aside in the orchestra section for every mainstage performance to accommodate these special groups, who can apply online to be considered for the program. These tickets are not available for sale to the public.

For information about Community Circle, please visit LAOpera.org/CommunityCircle.


Additional Comments

“LA Opera has made a name for itself as a truly forward-thinking opera company,” said Marc Stern, chairman of LA Opera’s board of directors. “The adventurous artistic profile created by Plácido Domingo, James Conlon and Christopher Koelsch is wholeheartedly supported by our board of directors, whose generosity is extraordinary, and by our equally enthusiastic audience members. I am very proud of what we have accomplished in Los Angeles.”

“I am grateful that our audiences have responded so positively to the work we have created for them,” noted President and CEO Christopher Koelsch. “The coming season’s mainstage productions are every bit as impressive and noteworthy as anything presented on the world’s greatest stages. Our groundbreaking Off Grand series, which continues to grow in fascinating ways, will feature wildly diverse contemporary works presented in no less than four different venues, an enormous draw for new and younger audiences. I am also excited that two of the season’s presentations, Rigoletto  and Crossing, will enable our audiences to deepen their appreciation for the artistry of Matthew Aucoin, in his second season here as Artist in Residence.”


Subscription Ticket Information

Season subscription tickets for the 2017/18 season are now available, starting at $108 for all six mainstage operas. Tickets for La Belle et la Bête, Persona, Crossing, The Canterville Ghost and Usher House, the Plácido Domingo 50th Anniversary Concert and the Audra McDonald concert are currently for sale only with subscription packages. For further information, please visit LA Opera’s website at LAOpera.org or call LA Opera’s box office at 213.972.8001.

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

Please visit LAOpera.org for updated casting information and performance dates.

Artist headshots and production photographs are available on the LA Opera Press Gallery: LAOpera.org/press/Press-Photos

All programs, artists and dates are subject to change.

LA Opera is a non-profit organization
dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community.

Yamaha is the Official Piano of LA Opera.

LA Opera Media Contact
Fran Rizzi, Director of Public Relations
frizzi@laopera.org / 213.972.7554

3 thoughts on “LA Opera announces rest of 2017/18 season

  1. Yikes! Who on earth cooked up this wretched excuse for a season? We’ve been subscribers since day one and love new and provocative work as well as the classics.

    We don’t ever need another “Carmen”- who does? “Pearl Fishers” is truly as brainless as they ever get, with a slushy purple score that might as well be by Mantovani. “Candide” is a real sacred cow with a nifty overture and couple of tunes, otherwise it’s a very long crashing bore with a maudlin, disfiguring end. It’s also not opera.

    Verdi is always a treat, but Sr Nucci must be at least 75 by now! “Orpheus” is long overdue, and most welcome. Matthew Aucoin’s “Crossing” provides the only contemporary item of interest but one must travel to Beverly Hills to see it, removing the sense of LAO community.

    Lastly, even the very idea of “Persona The Opera” elicits wild laughter immediately! A dated and lugubrious Bergman film into music? Give me a break!

    Just sayin’ !


  2. Pingback: Two new seasons announced for 2017-18 | Singerpreneur

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