Long Beach Opera to showcase Duke Ellington, John Adams next season


Long Beach Opera announced Wednesday its 2014 season will include works by Duke Ellington, John Adams and Wynton Marsalis. The season will feature four productions -- the same as the current season -- at venues around Long Beach and San Pedro.

The company specializes in intimate and experimental productions of pieces that aren’t often performed at major opera houses.

Long Beach Opera will kick off the season with a production of Ellington’s “Queenie Pie” (Jan. 25, Feb. 1 and 2) at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro. The presentation will be a co-production with the Chicago Opera Theater. Conductor Andreas Mitisek serves as artistic director of both companies.


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“Queenie Pie” is a seldom performed quasi-opera that Ellington was still working on when he died in 1974. The story involves a Harlem woman who strikes it rich after discovering a hair straightener.

As previously reported, the company will present the local premiere of Adams’ controversial 1991 opera “The Death of Klinghoffer” (March 16 and 22) at the Long Beach Terrace Theatre. The staging will be directed by James Robinson, who also staged the piece in 2011 at Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

The company will present a double bill of “An American Soldier’s Tale,” a piece by Igor Stravinsky that was reworked by Kurt Vonnegut, and “A Fiddler’s Tale,” a piece written by Marsalis in response to the original Stravinsky work. The double bill will run May 4 and 10 at the Center Theatre in Long Beach. No director has been announced for the production.

Rounding out the season will be a revival of the company’s production of David Lang’s “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field” (June 22, 28 and 29, 2014) at the Terrace Theatre. Mitisek staged the production in 2011 and is expected to direct it again next year.


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