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So long, spring. L.A. Opera eyes September for reopening with new 2021-22 lineup

Inside the empty Dorothy Chandler Pavilion auditorium
Inside an empty Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, which is scheduled to welcome L.A. Opera fans again in September 2021.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

West and East Coast have agreed: Fall 2021 is the target for the resumption of in-person performance. Los Angeles Opera on Wednesday joined New York’s Metropolitan Opera in banking on a September reopening, announcing a 2021-22 season with five main stage productions including Richard Wagner’s “Tannhäuser.”

Wagner’s tribute to the powerful allure of the goddess Venus had been scheduled to open last month but now will hit its mark a year later.

The other main stage productions include two works by Verdi: the witchcraft-meets-revenge tale “Il Trovatore” and director Francesca Zambello’s interpretation of “Aida.” Director Laurent Pelly’s Dutch National Opera production of Rossini’s comic Cinderella story, “La Cenerentola,” will replace the previously announced production directed by Stefan Herheim. A newly announced addition is Bach’s “Saint Matthew Passion,” featuring choreography by John Neumeier.

The season also will include concerts: Handel’s “Alcina,” conducted by Harry Bicket; the orchestral song cycle “The Brightness of Light,” featuring soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry, based on the love letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz; and a pair of recitals by tenor Javier Camarena.

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Two shows under the umbrella of L.A. Opera’s adventurous Off Grand programming round out the offerings: “‘Get Out’ in Concert,” a Halloween concert and screening of Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning film, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun’s one-man opera, “In Our Daughter’s Eyes.”

In total, 41 performances will run between Sept. 18, 2021, and June 18, 2022.

“While we are saddened to lose in-person programming for the spring, we are heartened by the increasingly promising news of effective vaccines and are extremely optimistic about the fall,” said Christopher Koelsch, L.A. Opera’s president and CEO, in the announcement Wednesday.

Like most arts organizations in the country, L.A. Opera has taken a pandemic hit, with losses from canceled productions and performances estimated so far at $31 million in earned and contributed revenue. Help has come in the form of the L.A. Opera Relief Fund, which the company established amid the initial wave of coronavirus shutdowns. It has raised $2.6 million in support of artists, staff and company infrastructure.

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Although much of the previously scheduled programming for this coming spring simply got pushed to next season, the company noted two major changes: A production of “Don Giovanni” has been canceled, and composer Missy Mazzoli’s groundbreaking 2016 hit “Breaking the Waves” is moving from the main stage to the digital stage. It will still be presented this spring through L.A. Opera on Now, the company’s pandemic streaming service, which has allowed the company to largely avoid layoffs. Pay reductions are expected to continue through June.

Here is the L.A. Opera 2021-22 schedule in chronological order:

Main stage

“Il Trovatore”

Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, conducted by James Conlon, starring soprano Guanqun Yu and tenor Gregory Kunde

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Sept. 18-Oct. 10, 2021

“Tannhäuser”

Composed by Richard Wagner, conducted by James Conlon, starring Issachah Savage

Oct. 16-Nov. 6, 2021

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“La Cenerentola” (Cinderella)

Composed by Gioachino Rossini, directed by Laurent Pelly, conducted by Roberto Abbado, starring mezzo-soprano Serena Malfi and tenor Levy Sekgapane

Nov. 20-Dec. 12, 2021

“Aida”

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Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, conducted by James Conlon, directed by Francesca Zambello, starring soprano Latonia Moore

May 21-June 12, 2022

“St. Matthew Passion”

Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, conducted by James Conlon, choreography by John Neumeier, starring soprano Tamara Wilson, tenor Ben Bliss and bass-baritone Craig Colclough

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March 12-27, 2022

“Alcina” (concert)

Composed by George Frideric Handel, with Harry Bicket conducting the English Concert

Nov. 2 and 5, 2021

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Javier Camarena recital (concert)

March 31 and April 2, 2022

“The Brightness of Light” (concert)

Composed by Kevin Puts, conducted by James Conlon, starring soprano Renée Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry

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June 18, 2022

Off Grand

“Get Out” (film screening with live music)
Directed by Jordan Peele, composed by Michael Abels
Oct. 30-31, 2021
Theatre at Ace Hotel, L.A.

“In Our Daughter’s Eyes”
Music by Du Yun, libretto by Michael Joseph McQuilken, starring baritone Nathan Gunn
April 14-17, 2022
REDCAT, L.A.


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