[Updated] LA’s penchant for fresh works bears fruit

This week, the Los Angeles music scene shows off their new music prowess with two new operas and a special concert of art song, just to start. We’re lucky to be served by a community that makes music groundbreaking and not just good, surrounded as we are by excellent musicians who don’t shy away from the unusual or newly minted. Events over the next several days will show them off to advantage.

First, Jacaranda offers a concert run of Peter Knell and Stephanie Fleischmann’s ARKIPHOV, tells the story of the Bay of Pigs crisis from the perspective of a submarine, and finds heroism where your history books probably haven’t spotted it. The cast is well-stocked with Listers, and nearly 60 years after we came so close to ending everything, this story is still riveting.

LA Opera‘s debut run of Omar, from the ever-more-impressive composer/librettist Rhiannon Giddens and co-composer Michael Abels, takes a stirring autobiography and stages it with style and substance. The buzz around this production is intense, with cast members and operaphiles alike super excited to experience this true story and the insight it offers into the American history that most people don’t yet know. It runs through November 13, but don’t wait to get your seats secured.

Art song is still one of our most powerful forms of expression, and deserves more space than it is offered by most. On Wednesday, UCLA hosts a concert titled “Songs of Our Time”, with music by Mark Carlson (the celebratory centerpiece of this event) and Marcus Sjöwall, sung by Rebecca Sjöwall and with the incomparable Victoria Kirsch at the piano. The program includes settings of poetry from Pablo Neruda, the Song of Songs (translated by Marcia Falk), Diana Decker and Karin Boye. 

If ever there was a moment when classical could not be accused of being old and backwards, this is it. These organizations and artists are proving the vivacity and ingenuity of this art form on a regular basis. Get yourself to one of these events, and see what it inspires in you…

Original published in Next7 – Vocal events through 10/27/22. Resources below have been added and updated since then, for your general edification.

Bonus resources

To learn more about these exciting projects, check out their related calendar listings, websites and social media pages, but also, try these on for size:

Jacaranda to Present Concert Premiere of Cuban Missile Crisis Opera ‘Arkhipov’OperaWire, 9/28/22

More about Arkhipov has been revealed over the last ten years (since the 50th anniversary of the crisis). Try these articles from

More details about “Songs of Our Time” from UCLA

Check out Soundcloud to hear more music from Mark Carlson and learn more about Marcus Sjöwall on his website.

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