Placido Domingo teaming up with Woody Allen for L.A. Opera’s new season

A scene from L.A. Opera's 2008 production of Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi," directed by Woody Allen, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Opera will celebrate its 30th-anniversary season in the fall with a main-stage lineup featuring Plácido Domingo and Woody Allen working on “Gianni Schicchi,” the L.A. debut of “Moby Dick” and the company debut of Gustavo Dudamel conducting “La Boheme.”

The 2015-16 season, which is being announced on Tuesday, will include a total of six main-stage productions, beginning with a double bill of “Gianni Schicchi,” which Allen created for the company in 2008, and a return of Franco Zeffirelli’s production of “Pagliacci,” first seen in L.A. in 1996, that Domingo will conduct. The double-bill program is set to run Sept. 12 to Oct. 3.

To mark its 30th anniversary, L.A. Opera will stage a special concert on March 18, 2016, with Domingo and soprano Renee Fleming.

Christopher Koelsch, the company’s president and chief executive, said in a recent interview that the 30th-anniversary lineup is intended to celebrate the legacy of Los Angeles Opera and its history of collaborating with noted filmmakers.

“I think we’re in incredibly good shape. We’re creating a new model of what an opera company can be,” he said.


Domingo, who is the company’s general director and who recently turned 74, is scheduled to perform in Allen’s production of “Gianni Schicchi” in Madrid this summer, before the opera returns to L.A. The staging is inspired by black-and-white Italian comedies of the 1940s and ‘50s, and is to feature the tenor in the title role.

“Moby Dick” (Oct. 31 to Nov. 28) is composer Jake Heggie’s adaptation of the Herman Melville novel. James Conlon, who is L.A. Opera’s music director, is set to conduct with a cast that includes tenor Jay Hunter Morris as Captain Ahab. The 2010 piece was co-commissioned by several companies including the Dallas Opera and San Diego Opera.

The season is also to feature Bellini’s “Norma” (Nov. 21 to Dec. 13), starring soprano Angela Meade and conducted by Conlon, in a production from the Washington National Opera; a concert with bass Erwin Schrott (Dec. 12); and a return engagement of the cinematically inspired staging of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” (Feb. 13, 2016 to March 6, 2016) from the Komische Oper Berlin.

In addition, L.A. Opera is to present a staging of “Madama Butterfly” (March 12-31, 2016) that comes from the Santa Fe Opera and stars soprano Ana Maria Martinez.

Dudamel is scheduled to lead two performances of “La Boheme” on June 10 and 12, 2016. It will mark the first time that the conductor, who is the music director the the L.A. Philharmonic, will appear at L.A. Opera. The company’s oft-revived production by the late filmmaker Herbert Ross is to star Nino Machaidze in the role of Mimi.

“La Boheme” is also scheduled to run May 14, 2016 to June 5, 2016, under another conductor who will be announced later.

All main-stage productions are set for the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. As part of its Off Grand series of edgier work, the company is also scheduled to present composer Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet performing the composer’s score for the 1931 movie “Dracula,” starring Bela Lugosi, at three screenings (Oct. 29-31) at the Theatre in the Ace Hotel in downtown L.A.

The company is also to present composer Missy Mazzoli’s multimedia opera “Song from the Uproar” (Oct. 8-11) and composer David Lang’s “Anatomy Theatre” (June 16-19, 2016), both at REDCAT.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT