Despite gremlins, a ‘Grendel’ reprise?


COMPOSER Elliot Goldenthal’s troubled “Grendel,” which closed its Los Angeles Opera run June 17, wound up such a financial hit that the company may bring it back at the start of the 2007-08 season, according to artistic director Edgar Baitzel.

“The last three performances were completely sold out,” Baitzel says. “It’s sad when you have to turn away people at the box office, but there was no possibility of getting a ticket. The buzz was tremendous.”

Over the opera’s six performances, Baitzel says, the company made up for the $300,000 it lost when it canceled the original May 27 premiere because of computer glitches that rendered the massive mechanical set piece designed by George Tsypin virtually inoperable.


“We exceeded our income projections by almost $70,000,” he says. “If we had had our original revenue, this show would have done $370,000 better.”

But the company would not restage the production -- directed by Goldenthal’s life partner and frequent artistic collaborator, Julie Taymor of “Lion King” fame -- unless it could get Eric Owens to reprise his marathon title role.

“To do that, we need the support and help from the other theaters where he’s already engaged,” Baitzel says. “We’re working on it.”

Despite its success, “Grendel” was no “La Traviata.” A new production of the Verdi war horse -- this one directed and designed by Marta Domingo, wife of company general director Placido Domingo -- ran in repertory with Goldenthal’s opera.

“Basically, we’re looking at making $150,000 better than projected for ‘Traviata,’ ” Baitzel says. “Overall, our ticket revenue for the season will be three-quarters of a million in the black over our projected ticket revenue. We have no reason to complain.”


Chris Pasles