Yesterday was a big day for Los Angeles Opera. With a Dulce Rosa dress rehearsal in Santa Monica and a Tosca dress at the Music Center, the company was plenty busy. Placido Domingo is conducting both productions, and several of the chorus members are in both, as well. As luck would have it, we were there, too — tweeting, as usual, for Tosca, and as one of a very few guests for Dulce Rosa. Here’s what we can report, with pictures courtesy of LAO. All photos by Robert Millard.
The inaugural endeavor of LAO’s new Off Grand program, where smaller works are presented in a variety of venues around town, Dulce Rosa launches tonight at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. This is the world premiere of Lee Holdridge‘s
Dulce Rosa, a chamber opera based on a short story by the celebrated author Isabel Allende, and the production, directed by Richard Sparks (who is also the librettist), is beautiful, poignant and full of truly gorgeous singing. Particular bravos to baritone Alfredo Daza (Tadeo), Lister tenor and LAO young artist Ben Bliss (Tomás) and new favorite mezzo Peabody Southwell (Inez), whose voices and performances were especially memorable. Lister baritone Craig Colclough also had a nice turn as the ambitious politico Aguilar — the small part got him big cheers at the end. The set and projections designed by Yael Pardess and Jenny Okun, respectively, were innovative, spectacular and very effective in creating a variety of rich settings in a small space.
Finally, many thanks to Lister accompanist and assistant conductor Tali Tadmor for saving us a seat. The show will get six performances between May 17 and June 9, and seating in this intimate yet grand space is limited.
Tosca is a perennial favorite, and certainly one of Puccini’s best efforts. Full of grand amore and political intrigue, this new production is well worth a look-see. Although Sondra Radvanovsky was said to be a bit under the weather, she sounded glorious, and the new sets, designed by Bunny Christie, are breathtaking — the audience broke into spontaneous “oohs” and “ahs” when the large silk curtains displayed at the top of each act dropped to the floor dramatically to reveal one great set after another. To see more from the dress rehearsal, check out the chatter from the Tweet Seat crew: search Twitter for #LAOTosca.
LAO’s Tosca runs six performances between May 18 and June 8, at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown LA.
Learn more —
Watch Isabel Allende‘s funny, smart TED talk on ‘Tales of Passion‘, where she discusses women, creativity, the definition of feminism — and, of course, passion.
Download the libretto for Dulce Rosa.
See Jenny Okun‘s evocative projections for Dulce Rosa at the Craig Krull Gallery, in Santa Monica’s Bergamot Station, on exhibit from June 1 to July 6. (While available, you can see small digital copies of some of the projections online.)
Read about Tosca‘s new scenery on the LAO blog. (Love how they created the many sculptures for Act 2!)
Grab the DVD of Shirley Verrett‘s lush and historic performance as Tosca, with Luciano Pavarotti at the height of his powers. Conducted by LAO music director James Conlon in 1978, this DVD was released in 2010, the first time this Met production was made available in any format.