Tag Archives: L.A. Opera



In one of the most artistically successful collaborations ever presented at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the L.A. Opera has joined with the Hamburg Ballet’s John Neumeier and the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago to bring Gluck’s ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE to the stage.

Neumeier—who directed, choreographed, and designed the sets, costumes, and lighting—guides his singers and dancers across the dance studio (Orpheus is a choreographer in this production) and through the underworld to mesmerizing effect. Gluck’s 1762 piece was opera’s first Gesamtkunstwerk, and, with its expressive emotional through line, a precursor to the nineteenth-century’s great Romantic scores.

A full company of 43 dancers animates the stage throughout the performance, providing spectacular visual counterpoint to the story of a lost wanderer (Maxim Mironov, in complete command as Orpheus), for whom the concept of love (Liv Redpath, as Amour) is poor compensation for love in the flesh (Lisette Oropresa’s Eurydice).



Sundays, March 18 and 25, at 2 pm.

Wednesday, March 21, and Saturday, March 24, at 7:30 pm.

DOROTHY CHANDLER PAVILION, Music Center, 135 North Grand Avenue, downtown Los Angeles.


Top: John Neumeier and Lisette Oropresa rehearsing a scene from the L.A. Opera production of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Below: Scenes from the opera at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with Maxim Mironov among the dancers. All photographs by Ken Howard.






Leonard Bernstein’s operetta CANDIDE (1956)—musical theater’s polymorphous masterpiece—started out as a Cold War retort against McCarthyism, with a libretto by Lillian Hellman, and lyrics by film writer James Agee (which were dropped), Richard Wilber, John Latouche, and Dorothy Parker. In the 1970s, a book by Hugh Wheeler—truer to Voltaire’s satire—replaced Hellman’s (who had prohibited use of her work in any revivals).

The acclaimed production now at the Music Center—directed by Glimmerglass Festival general director Francesca Zambello, and conducted by James Conlon—is a co-production of Glimmerglass, the Opéra National de Bordeaux, and Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, and features the John Caird libretto from his 1999 Royal National Theatre staging.

Jack Swanson stars as Candide, the disillusioned optimist, and Erin Morley as his elusive love Cunegonde. Broadway legend Christine Ebersole plays the Old Lady, and Kelsey Grammer performs double duty as Voltaire and the misguided Professor Pangloss.



Thursday, February 8, at 7:30 pm; Sunday, February 11, at 2 pm; Thursday, February 15, at 7:30 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, February 17 and 18, at 2 pm.

DOROTHY CHANDLER PAVILION, Music Center, downtown Los Angeles.


From top:

Erin Morley, Brian Michael Moore, and Danny Lindgren in CandideL.A. Opera, 2018.

Morley, Jack Swanson, and Christine Ebersole in Candide, L.A. Opera, 2018. Photographs by Ken Howard.




“What Camp taste responds to is instant character… [which] is understood as a state of continual incandescence—a person being one, very intense thing.”Susan Sontag, “Notes on ‘Camp’ “*

SALOME is an opera of instant character, and its exaltation of lust remains undiluted. Bodies and things are transposed, and the protagonists begin and end the narrative as unattainable objects of desire: Herod will never possess his step-daughter Salome, and Salome will never possess the prisoner Jochanaan (John the Baptist).

“Jochanaan, you were so beautiful….Your body was like a garden….You saw your God, but you never saw me.” — Salome

In 1905, Richard Strauss adapted Hedwig Lachmann’s German translation of Oscar Wilde’s play (which was written in French), and the first hour of the opera is a modern fever of polyrhythms and bitonality (the “Salome scale”). As the fatal obstinacy of Salome and Jochanaan hardens, the swift pace gives way to measured deliberation. In the current L.A. Opera production, beautifully conducted by James Conlon, soprano Patricia Racette embodies Salome—voice, body, and soul—and brings down the house.



Saturday, February 25 at 7:30 pm; Thursday, March 2 at 7:30 pm; Sunday, March 5 at 2 pm; Thursday, March 16 at 7:30 pm; and Sunday, March 19 at 2 pm.


*”Notes on ‘Camp’ ” was published in the Fall, 1964 issue of Partisan Review, and is included in the Library of America edition Susan Sontag: Essays of the 1960s & 70s.

Note on the illustration: In 2016, the L.A. Opera and the philanthropic initiative GRoW@Annenberg invited students from Southern California colleges to participate in the opera company’s first ever art contest. Marshall Dahlin of Cal State Fullerton was the first place winner, and his design illustrates the cover of the Salome program. The artwork is a less-epicene nod to Aubrey Beardsley’s drawings for the first English translation of Wilde’s play (and Marcus Behmer’s for the German edition), and locates the decapitation-as-castration theme of the piece.

Marshall Dahlin, Salome Image credit: LA Opera

Marshall Dahlin, Salome. Image credit: LA Opera