LA Opera announces ‘Einstein’ and six other operas for 2013-14

Los Angeles Opera will present the current touring revival of “Einstein on the Beach,” composed by Philip Glass and staged by Robert Wilson, as part of its 2013-14 season, the company is announcing on Tuesday. The company will present a special slate of programs devoted to the centenary of composer Benjamin Britten.

The season will also include tenor Plácido Domingo in the company premiere of Jules Massenet ‘s “Thaïs” and a new staging of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

“Einstein” will have three performances Oct. 11-13 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. It will be the first Glass opera presented by the company in its 27-year history.


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“Britten 100/LA: A Celebration” will commemorate the late English composer’s 100th birthday and will include a revival of the Francesca Zambello-directed production of “Billy Budd” (Feb. 22- March 16, 2014). Young baritone Liam Bonner will sing the title role.

L.A. Opera will see a total of seven main-stage productions at the Chandler, up from its reduced schedule of six in the last few seasons, presenting few new operas or original productions. The company has been working its way out of financial difficulties stemming from the recession and its costly “Ring” cycle production in 2010. In December, the company paid off the last part of a $14-million emergency loan it received in 2009 with the help of Los Angeles County.

Domingo, L.A. Opera’s general director, said that he wants the company to produce “more American operas” in future seasons and that the inclusion of “Einstein” is a step in that direction.

“We are going back into seven productions this season, and we want to grow even more,” the tenor said on the phone from Valencia, Spain, where he will perform Verdi’s “The Two Foscari” this month.

James Conlon, the company’s music director, said in a separate interview that the Britten celebration will involve the participation of arts groups around the region, much like the company’s “Ring” Festival of 2010.

As part of the festival, Conlon will conduct Britten’s “War Requiem” on Nov. 24 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and Nov. 25 at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The 2013-14 opera season will feature Domingo in “Thaïs” (May 17-June 7, 2014) alongside soprano Nino Machaidze. The production comes from the Finnish National Opera.

Verdi’s “Falstaff” (Nov. 9-Dec. 1) will be presented in a refurbished version of the 1982 production by the L.A. Philharmonic, originally led by Carlo Maria Giulini.

L.A. Opera will create the staging of “Lucia di Lammermoor” (March 15-April 6, 2014), but details about the production are not yet available.

Rounding out the opera season will be return productions of “Carmen” (Sept. 21-Oct. 6) and “The Magic Flute” (Nov. 23-Dec. 15).

In addition the company will present two recitals at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion: Broadway star Audra McDonald on Oct. 26 and Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky on May 22, 2014.

“Einstein,” which was first performed in 1976, has a running time of more than four hours, without intermission. Audiences will be allowed to leave and re-enter the hall throughout the performance. The non-narrative opera will be presented in collaboration with the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA.

L.A. Opera will present its commissioned work “Jonah and the Whale” by composer Alexander Prior at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on March 21 and 22, 2014.

The company will travel to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa to present concert versions of “Falstaff “ (Nov. 26) and “Thaïs” (May 22, 2014).

Christopher Koelsch, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said that he is looking to present more contemporary operas in future seasons. He said the company will continue using dynamic ticket pricing, which was introduced this season, and to provide about 200 seats at minimal cost, or free in certain cases, to select community members for every performance.


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