L.A. Opera’s 2019-20 season brings Kosky’s new ‘Bohème,’ Aucoin’s ‘Eurydice’ and Du Yun
Los Angeles Opera announced its 2019-20 season lineup Sunday, touting composer and artist-in-residence Matthew Aucoin’s world premiere of “Eurydice” with Mary Zimmerman directing, as well as renowned director Barrie Kosky’s new production of “La Bohème” and composer Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera “Angel’s Bone.”
Next season kicks off with a bang: Kosky’s “La Bohème,” which has already sparked a good amount of buzz in advance of its world premiere in Berlin on Sunday. Kosky, head of Berlin’s experimental Komische Oper, led a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” that prompted Times music critic Mark Swed to call him “one of today’s most riotously (and, on occasion, chillingly) imaginative opera directors.” The upcoming production will be the first new staging of the Puccini classic at L.A. Opera since 1993. (Opera Vision will stream Kosky’s “Bohème” for six months starting Sunday.)
For the record:
3:55 PM, Jan. 27, 2019An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the forthcoming production of “La Bohème.” It will be L.A. Opera’s first new staging of the work since 1993, not its first staging of the work since ’93.
Kosky will return later in the season with a revival of “The Magic Flute,” staged at L.A. Opera in 2013 and 2016. The production, with its clever use of projected artwork, has been a big crowd pleaser for the company — and beyond. Created by Kosky and the British theater company 1927, this version has been presented in dozens of theaters around the world.
In an interview with The Times in 2013, Kosky described his version of “The Magic Flute” as “weird and wonderful,” adding that he never would have touched the Mozart classic unless he hit on a completely new way to do it. Which he did. In a review headlined “Brilliant Transformation of ‘The Magic Flute,’ ” Swed wrote: “That this will be a hit goes without saying.”
Composer-conductor Aucoin will lead the world premiere of his “Eurydice,” scheduled to be the first mainstage performance of 2020. Based on librettist Sarah Ruhl’s play by the same name, “Eurydice” reimagines the story of Orpheus through the eyes of the myth’s heroine. It’s a genius team: Aucoin, Ruhl and director Zimmerman are all recipients of MacArthur Foundation grants.
At 27, Aucoin has been heralded by some as a young Leonard Bernstein, and in 2016 he was appointed as L.A. Opera’s first artist-in-residence. Last year, reviewing the West Coast premiere of Aucoin’s “Crossing,” Swed noted that the work had made Aucoin an “overnight sensation” when it premiered in Boston in 2015.
L.A. Opera will scale back its Off Grand series to two programs next season. Off Grand, staged at locations away from the company’s home base at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, features non-traditional or experimental work that often draws people who haven’t attended L.A. Opera before.
The Off Grand program likely to garner the most attention in the coming season is the West Coast premiere of “Angel’s Bone,” composed by Du. The show is an allegory of human trafficking in modern times, and the Pulitzer committee called it “a bold operatic work that integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range of styles.”
L.A. Opera President and Chief Executive Christopher Koelsch said the number of Off Grand performances will be reduced partly because of projects like a county-wide festival timed to “Eurydice.” Events that normally would fall under the Off Grand banner will be packaged as part of the festival, he said.
Here’s the full 2019-20 schedule released by Koelsch, general director Plácido Domingo and music director James Conlon:
“La Bohème” by Giacomo Puccini. Barrie Kosky directs, James Conlon conducts. Six performances Sept. 14-Oct. 6.
“The Magic Flute” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. James Conlon conducts four performances, Grant Gershon conducts two in a production created by Kosky and 1927. Performances Nov. 16-Dec. 15.
“Eurydice” with music by Matthew Aucoin and libretto by Sarah Ruhl. Mary Zimmerman directs, Aucoin conducts. Six performances Feb. 1-23, 2020. A related festival will consist of events — music, film, dance and more — planned for January through March 2020, in locations across Los Angeles County.
“Roberto Devereux” by Gaetano Donizetti. Stephen Lawless directs, Eun Sun Kim conducts. Cast led by Davinia Rodríguez, Ramón Vargas and Domingo. Six performances Feb. 22-March 14, 2020.
“Pelléas et Mélisande” by Claude Debussy. David McVicar directs, James Conlon conducts. Six performances May 2-23, 2020.
“The Marriage of Figaro” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Co-production with the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées of Paris. James Gray directs, James Conlon conducts. Costumes by Christian Lacroix, scenery by Santo Loquasto. Six performances June 6-28.
“The Light in the Piazza” with music and lyrics by Adam Guettel and book by Craig Lucas. Daniel Evans directs, Renée Fleming stars. Six performances Oct. 12-20.
“Rodelinda” by George Frideric Handel. Concert performance May 8, 2020. Harry Bicket conducts the English Concert orchestra with soprano Lucy Crowe and countertenors Iestyn Davies and Anthony Roth Costanzo.
Javier Camarena with pianist Ángel Rodríguez. Oct. 20.
Off Grand productions
“Psycho” screening with live music. Film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, score by Bernard Herrmann. Louis Lohraseb conducts. Six performances Oct. 25-31 at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown L.A.
“Angel’s Bone” with music by Du Yun, libretto by Royce Vavrek. Collaboration with Beth Morrison Projects. Performances May 1 and 3, 2020, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
More information on the L.A. Opera season will be posted at laopera.org.
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