Music

Aida at LA Opera May 21-June 12

AIDA

  • By ARLENE WINNICK

Get ready Los Angeles as the LA Opera’s annual Opera Night returns June 4 when the production company live simulcasts their onstage performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s beloved Aida to three locations around the city so sit back and enjoy this incredible opera in a wide variety of special settings close to home!

Nine cameras in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will transmit the live performance in high-definition video to Opera at the Beach (on the Santa Monica Pier); Opera in the Park (Newhall Park in Santa Claria) and Opera at the Fairplex (Pomona Fairplex). Seating at all three locations is general admission and attendees are asked to bring their own seating and to arrive early both for the pre-performance picnicking and to get the best viewing areas.

Aida is a large-scale drama that fills the stage with its ageless tale of forbidden love in a time of war. Performed on the LA Opera stage for the first time in 16 years, the production stars soprano Latonia Moore and tenor Russell Thomas and will be conducted by James Conlon. Spectacular hieroglyphics by LA street artist Retna create a striking backdrop to this timeless opera. Aida will be performed in the original Italian; however, the simulcasts will feature subtitles in both English and Spanish. The simulcasts are free to the public thanks to the generous support of LA County and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

For more details, click here.

Carol Connors plays Catalina Jazz Club May 19 (One Night Only)

CAROL CONNORS

  • By KEN WERTHER

Few American singer-songwriters have influenced the American songbook like Carol Connors. Her songs have touched millions of listeners across the globe since she first appeared on the music scene with her debut vocal recording with The TeddybearsTo Know Him Is to Love Him, a song that became the #1 record in the world and still holds world records, having sold nearly two million copies. Connors became one of the female pioneers of music for film and TV in an industry dominated by men. She has been nominated twice for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, including the theme song Gonna Fly Now from Rocky, as well as being nominated for five Emmysone Grammy, and two Golden Globe Awards. She built a niche for herself in the music world and hasn’t slowed down one bit. Later this year, she will be seen in the Showtime documentary Spector(about legendary producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector) and has completed a feature documentary about her own career, her music, and her love life (Elvis Presley was her first boyfriend!). On May 19 at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, Connors will share these incredible personal stories and songs in a rare live performance. The evening will be hosted by Dan Gore from Oscar’s in Palm Springs with performances by Lloyd Coleman and many others still to be announced. This is going to be one amazing night!

For more details, click here.

Music Director Jaime Martín and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (Photo Brian Feinzimer)

LA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

  • By J.COOK
  • Photo By Brian Feinzimer

It is difficult to write about a piece of music one has never heard, much less one that has never been performed. There is only what the artist has done before from which to speculate. So, allow me to lay out some foundation so you can imagine what it might be. Composer and sound artist Ellen Reid, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Opera for Prism, and the only woman to have been commissioned by all of LA’s classical music institutions (Opera, Philharmonic, Master Chorale, and the focus of this piece, LA Chamber Orchestra) is premiering her latest work entitled Floodplain. It will be performed by LACO, and in her words, will imply “rich fertility and possible danger,” which could mean a lot of things. I’m sure Woody Allen’s Why Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching an Orgasm? is not one of them.

LACO will follow up with Brahms’ Double Concerto, his last work for orchestra that features a violin and violoncello having a conversation like old friends. In a way, it’s Brahms reconciling with his old friend and violinist Joseph Joachim. Clara Schumann wasn’t impressed, but the classical music world was. Concertmaster Margaret Batjer and Principal Cello Andrew Shulman will demonstrate why as they navigate the musical conversation with their instruments. The concert will conclude with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Dun-dun-dun-dun and all that. May 12–15 in Costa Mesa, Pasadena, and Westwood. 

For more details, click here.

Long Beach Opera begins a new season!

LONG BEACH OPERA

  • By ARLENE WINNICK

The Long Beach Opera’s begins its season in June with a new bold (and I mean bold) world premiere adaption of Handel’s Giustino. It is unlike any opera I have ever seen.  First off, forget the traditional sit in your theater seat/listen to endless arias format. Giustino will be performed throughout the sculpture garden and galleries of the Museum of Latin American Art. The action will move amongst the audience  – today’s word is immersive — as homage to the original 18th century music salons.  Next LBO’s Artistic Director and visionary James Darrah has ‘reassembled’ the libretto and score adding new music by composer Shelley Washington.  Lastly it will be live-filmed to create a film within an opera – playing at all times. Adding to this remarkable staging and setting is the story itself – an opera lovers dream:  dueling royals, maiden in distress; a hero; rebellion, betrayal, battles, and destiny.

The Central Park Five, the critically acclaimed operatic account of five NYC teenagers wrongfully convicted, incarcerated and eventually exonerated returns to the Jordan Auditorium by popular demand.   When the opera premiered in 2019, the LA Times said, “(Composer Anthony) Davis’ supercharged score grippingly conveys the claustrophobia of a racist legal system and society from which there was …no exit.”  Winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Music, this new production conducted by Anthony Parnther is so powerful and so relevant to today’s world.

For more details, click here.