Yuval Sharon leading LBO’s 2021 season

Arguably one of the most sought-after opera directors on the current landscape will be taking a role at Long Beach Opera, as Yuval Sharon takes on an interim position to head up the 2021 season. Longtime director Andreas Mitisek has stepped down as artistic director and LBO is on the hunt for a new one, but this development bodes well for the mid-sized company as they work through the coming transition. The match itself shows grand potential, as Sharon and LBO have both established themselves as innovators in the field, with imagination and audacity to spare. This should be fun!

See the press release below:

Long Beach Opera announces Yuval Sharon to serve as company’s Interim Artistic Advisor for 2021 Season, to be announced this spring

2020 season proceeds as announced, final under Andreas Mitisek

Long Beach CA. November 21, 2019 — Long Beach Opera announces Yuval Sharon will serve as the company’s Interim Artistic Advisor, who will work together with LBO leadership to plan LBO’s 2021 season.  Sharon will curate the 2021 season, including selecting the operas, productions, and artistic teams. He will also participate as director for one of the season productions.

Long Beach Opera will announce its 2021 season in April 2020. Sharon will continue his work as Artistic Director for his company, The Industry, while concurrently serving as LBO’s Interim Artistic Advisor.

Since announcing that longtime Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek will depart at the end of 2020, Long Beach Opera has commenced the search for the next Artistic Director of the 41-year-old company, which is known for producing innovative productions of new and rarely performed works.

While this search is in process, Sharon will provide artistic curation for the bridge season. Sharon will work with board leadership, including Board Chair Robert Braun, and Executive Director Jennifer Rivera.

Sharon was described by The New York Times as “opera’s disrupter in residence,” and has been creating an unconventional body of work that seeks to expand the operatic form. He founded and serves as Artistic Director of The Industry in Los Angeles, an acclaimed company devoted to new and experimental opera that has brought opera into moving vehicles, operating train stations, and various “non-spaces” such as warehouses, parking lots, and escalator corridors.

Sharon recently completed a three-year residency at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and was honored with a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship. Major recent productions include an original setting of War of the Worlds, and a staging of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Gustavo Dudamel at the LA Phil, Lohengrin for the Bayreuth Festival, and The Magic Flute for the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden.

Long Beach Opera Board Chair Robert Braun said, “We at LBO are very excited to have the opportunity to work with Yuval, as we all deeply admire his work not only in Southern California but internationally, as a director and as an opera visionary. We feel he is the perfect person to continue Long Beach Opera’s mission to engage people with provocative, meaningful experiences that challenge, connect, and inspire for this bridge season, where we will seek to define the next chapter of LBO’s future.”

Executive Director Jennifer Rivera noted, “This is an exciting moment for LBO, and also for me personally, as Yuval and I both began our careers together at New York City Opera in the early 2000s. Ever since those days I have admired Yuval’s ability to creatively change the face of opera in America with his truly innovative artistic sensibilities, and I am so thrilled at the opportunity to collaborate with him, and help fulfill his vision for a full season at LBO.”

Yuval Sharon said, “When I founded The Industry here in 2010, I knew I was building off a culture of innovation in the LA region that Long Beach Opera played a significant role in shaping. LBO’s 40-year history has opened up so many possibilities for artists in Southern California. I see my assignment as Interim Artistic Advisor as a chance to honor that history, and it offers me another opportunity to deepen my commitment to the audiences and artists in Southern California.”

Long Beach Opera’s current season, the final under outgoing General & Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek, begins January 12, 2020 with a new version of Henry Purcell’s King Arthur,followed by the Los Angeles premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse in March, The American premiere of The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Gavin Bryars in May, and finally, a revival of Frida by Robert Xavier Rodriguez in June.

For more information please visit longbeachopera.org.

About Yuval Sharon

For The Industry, Sharon conceived, directed, and produced the company’s acclaimed world premieres of Hopscotch, Invisible Cities, and Crescent City. He also devised and directed the company’s two “performance installations”: In C at the Hammer Museum and Nimbus at Walt Disney Concert Hall. His stage productions in more conventional spaces have been described as “ingenious” (The New York Times), “virtuosic” (Opernwelt), “dizzyingly spectacular” (New York Magazine), and “staggering” (OperaNews).

He is the recipient of the 2014 Götz Friedrich Prize in Germany for his production of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic, originally produced at the Staatstheater Karlsruhe and later presented in Seville’s Teatro de la Maestranza. Sharon also directed a landmark production of John Cage’s SongBooks at the San Francisco Symphony and Carnegie Hall with Joan La Barbara, Meredith Monk, and Jessye Norman.

His most recent production was Peter Eötvös’s Three Sisters at the Wiener Staatsoper, which lead Opernwelt to call him “one of the most interesting arrivals on the musical landscape.” His production of Cunning Little Vixen, originally produced at the Cleveland Orchestra, was the first fully-staged opera ever presented in Vienna’s historic Musikverein in October 2017.

Sharon recently completed a three-year residency at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where his projects included newly commissioned works, site-specific installations, and performances outside the hall. Major recent productions include an original setting of War of the Worlds,performed both inside and outside the concert hall simultaneously, a staging of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Gustavo Dudamel at the LA Phil, Lohengrin for the Bayreuth Festival, The Magic Flute for the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden, and Meredith Monk’s ATLAS with the LA Phil, for which he was the first outside director to work with the composer.

Sharon was honored with a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship and a Foundation for Contemporary Art grant for theater. He has served on the board of Opera America, the Artist Council for the Hammer Museum, and as a Fellow for the LA Institute for Humanities.

About Long Beach Opera

Founded in 1979, the Long Beach Opera is the oldest operatic producing company in the metropolitan Los Angeles/Orange County region.

With a repertory of more than 100 operas, including early and late Baroque works, twentieth-century works, and operas of special interest from the standard repertory, Long Beach Opera is well known for its world, American and West Coast premieres of new and rare operas. Long Beach Opera is a recognized member of the American operatic community, enjoying funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Long Beach.

Long Beach Opera’s history demonstrates that its essential purpose is the advancement of the frontiers of opera, in repertory and in production style. LBO’s artistic vision is to present unconventional works—repertoire which is neglected by other, more mainstream opera companies—ranging from the very beginnings of opera to modern, avant-garde works, emphasizing their theatrical and musical relevance to our time.

Following a period of early growth marked by the presentation of repertory staples, Long Beach Opera took a radical departure from the operatic mainstream. Under founder Michael Milenski’s guidance, the company developed an alternative vision for opera—to present striking visual drama that would speak directly to contemporary audiences while maintaining the highest musical standard.

Significant LBO productions have included Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (abridged version by Jonathan Dove), Powder Her Face by Thomas Adès, Richard Strauss’ Elektra (which was televised in Germany) and The Beaumarchais Trilogy. In addition, several American premieres have been presented on the LBO stage, including: King Roger by Karol Szymanowski, Mozart’s Lucio Silla, Schoenberg’s Die Jakobsleiter, Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Turning, I Saw Great Injustice, and John Cage’s Europeras 3 & 4. Recent seasons have seen world premieres including Fallujah by Tobin Stokes, The Invention of Morel by Stewart Copeland, and The Central Park Five by Anthony Davis, as well as the American premiere of Philip Glass’ The Perfect American.

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