Peter Sellars reveals outlandish plans for L.A. Phil’s ‘Oedipus Rex’

This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Leave it to Peter Sellars to organize a truly outlandish send-off for his good pal Esa-Pekka Salonen.

As previously announced, Sellars will stage Stravinsky’s ‘Oedipus Rex’ for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in April 2009 as part of the last series of concerts that Salonen will conduct as music director.

For the world premiere production, Sellars told Culture Monster that he will use five ‘wild and bizarre’ thrones created by the contemporary Ethiopian artist Elias Simé. The thrones -- made of mud, straw and found objects -- will be part of a not-yet-announced Simé exhibition at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and will be ‘processed’ (as in a long, elaborate procession) from Santa Monica to Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A.

‘The interaction of these Ethiopian carvings with the wood interior of Disney Hall will be phenomenal,’ Sellars said. The thrones will also figure in Stravinsky’s ‘Symphony of Psalms,’ which will be performed on the same bill.


Exactly what route the thrones will take to Disney Hall Sellars did not divulge. (We have a hard time picturing the 10 Freeway closed off for such a high-brow event.)

‘Elias Simé: Stitches and Sculptures’ opens at the Santa Monica Museum of Art on Jan. 24 and runs through April 18. Sellars is co-curating the exhibition with Ethiopian anthropologist Meskerem Assegued.

— David Ng