Los Angeles Opera Marks 20th Anniversary With Gala

Classic Arts News   Los Angeles Opera Marks 20th Anniversary With Gala
Los Angeles Opera will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its debut with a gala performance tonight featuring general director Plšcido Domingo.

The evening includes a performance of Act IV of Verdi's Otello, with Domingo in the title role and Patricia Racette as Desdemona, and the party scene from Act II of Strauss's Die Fledermaus, with Cynthia Lawrence as Rosalinde, Lucy Schaufer as Prince Orlovsky, Malcolm MacKenzie as Frank, Earle Patriarco as Falke, and Rod Gilfrey as Eisenstein. Domingo will conduct the Strauss scene, which will also include "surprise party guests."

The performance will be followed by a black-tie dinner and dancing in the Grand Hall of Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Los Angeles Music Center.

Los Angeles Opera's origins date to 1948, when the Los Angeles Civic Grand Opera presented its first performance in a local church. The company moved to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 1964, but shortly thereafter stopped producing its own stagings and instead began presenting touring companies as the Music Center Opera Association.

In 1984, the Opera Association hired Peter Hemmings to direct a new local company; Plšcido Domingo was named artistic consultant. The new Los Angeles Opera debuted in October 1986 with a production of Otello starring Domingo.

Hemmings was general director of the company until 2000. After he stepped down, Domingo was named artistic director and, in 2003, general director. Kent Nagano was principal conductor from 2001 until 2003, when he became music director. James Conlon replaces him as music director this year.

The company has presented the world premieres of Aulis Sallinen's Kullervo (1992), Tobias Picker's Fantastic Mr. Fox (1998), Deborah Drattell's Nicholas and Alexandra (2003), and will premiere Elliot Goldenthal and Julie Taymor's Grendel next month. It has also taken advantage of its proximity to Hollywood, hiring such film veterans as Bruce Beresford, William Friedkin, Garry Marshall, and John Schlesinger to direct new productions.

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