Mining indie opera for new ears
With so many opera companies, big and small, spending the bulk of their resources on tried-and-true repertoire that puts butts in seats, it’s especially exciting to see a new troupe of excellent performers placing their focus on underappreciated chamber operas — and their seats are plenty full.
Chamber Opera Players of Los Angeles (COPOLA) arrived on the SoCal scene with a flourish (and a guy in a giant cigarette suit) in January, with a revival of Wolf-Ferrari’s Susannah’s Secret. This first offering was a good choice for the ensemble, and drew enthusiastic crowds. Offering the shows for free (donations are accepted, of course) and making them family-friendly makes these selections even more appealing to those who might be new to opera, and great fun for buffs who are ready for something new.
The challenge, of course, is sifting through the works that should be forgotten, and finding new things in the works worthy of resurrection. But with co-founders soprano Ariel Pisturino and baritone E. Scott Levin, joined by the ever-inventive directorial talents of Josh Shaw, this new(ish) group is likely to be the Little Company That Could.
This weekend, COPOLA brings us a double bill of one-act operas, both lesser-known works by heralded composers: A Hand of Bridge by Samuel Barber, and Gallantry by Douglas Moore. (See the company website for synopses.) Joining the group are mezzo Jessica Mamey and tenor Joseph Michels, with Daniel Gledhill at the piano. This should be great fun.
Chamber Opera Players of Los Angeles presents
A Hand of Bridge
Friday & Saturday
November 15 & 16, 8pm
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
— Parish Hall —
1020 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale
Map & Directions