Long Beach Opera Sets 2017 Season

Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek today announced Long Beach Opera's (LBO) 2017 season. "LBO's 38th season will offer four operas new to Southern California," said Mitisek. "We'll bring stories that play against the tide of conventions and that are also quintessentially American. And, we'll work alongside a broad range of collaborators to tell these stories. As always, to paraphrase Robert Frost, we take the road less travelled, and that makes all the difference.

Opening the season in January will be the West Coast Premiere of a new take on Henry Purcell's The Fairy Queen. The original opera was inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The iconic Culture Clash comedy troupe has created a new gender-bending version of Shakespeare's famous love story. The Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra will perform in the pit.

In March, LBO commemorates the composer's 80th birthday with the U.S. premiere of Philip Glass' The Perfect American, a fictional story about Walt Disney's final days. For Glass, his opera is a "journey poetic and tragic" through the last months of the life of an artist who "faced the same doubts that beset us all."

Celebrating diversity, in May LBO will stage the Southern California Premiere of Laura Kaminski's As One, a powerful opera about a transgendered protagonist in search of identity, acceptance, and compassion.

Concluding the season in June will be the Southern California Premiere of Robert Xavier Rodriguez' Frida, a celebration of the famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. The work will be performed in open air venues at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach and at Grand Performances in downtown Los Angeles.

The Fairy Queen

Based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Composer: Henry Purcell

New Script by Culture Clash (Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza)

Venue: The Beverly O'Neill Theater, 300 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA

Performance Dates: January 22 (m), 28 (m) and 28, 2017

Conductor: Martin Haselböck

Stage Director: Andreas Mitisek

Featuring: Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra

Composed in 1692, this 'semi-opera' was first performed as self-contained scenes within a shortened version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The original script did not survive and LBO has recruited the iconic CULTURE CLASH performance troupe to create a new, gender-bending love story based on Shakespeare's original. The Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra returns to LBO, after their 2009 performance with the company in Motezuma by Antonio Vivaldi.

"It's A Midsummer Night's Dream, but not as you know it" - The Guardian

The Perfect American

Adapted from Peter Stephan Jungk's novel, The Perfect American

Composer: Philip Glass

Libretto: Rudy Wurlitzer

World Premiere: January 22, 2013, Madrid, Spain

Venue: The Terrace Theater, 300 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA

Performance Dates: March 12 (m) and 18, 2017

Conductor: Andreas Mitisek

Stage Director: Kevin Newbury

Featuring: Long Beach Camerata Singers

Glass' 25th opera was originally commissioned for New York City Opera (NYCO) in 2008. After NYCO's demise, the world premiere took place in 2013 at the Teatro Real in Madrid. Other performances have been at the English National Opera and at Opera Queensland (Australia) for the Brisbane Festival. The opera is based on the controversial biographical novel, Der König von Amerika by Peter Stephan Jungk, which imagines the last three months of the life of Walt Disney. Disney is depicted as something of a megalomaniac racist and misogynist.

In 2013, Glass told the Los Angeles Times, "Icons like Disney are complicated people...Everybody has different sides - that's not a bad thing. That makes it interesting. I think [the opera] serves his memory in an honest and interesting way."

"A great American opera that needs to be seen in L.A. And it is also the only great L.A. opera". - Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

As One

Composer: Laura Kaminsky

Libretto: Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed

Venue: The Beverly O'Neill Theater, 300 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA

Performance Dates: May 13, 20(m) and 22 (m), 2017

Conductor: TBA

Director: TBA

Laura Kaminski is a New York-based composer with "an ear for the new and interesting." Her works are "colorful and harmonically sharp-edged." (New York Times). As One was commissioned by American Opera Projects and premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in 2014. This chamber opera for two singers and a string quartet explores the story of its transgender protagonist, Hannah, as she searches for identity, authenticity, and compassion. With empathy and humor, the opera traces Hannah's experiences from her youth in a small town, to her college years on the West Coast, and finally to acceptance of herself.

"As One forces you to think, simultaneously challenging preconceptions and inspiring empathy... [with] winning humor and a satisfying emotional arc." - The New York Times


Composer: Robert Xavier Rodriguez

Libretto: Hilary Blecher

Venues: Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), 628 Alamitos Ave, Long Beach

Grand Performances, 350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles

Performance Dates: MOLAA: June 17, 18, 24, and 25, 2017 at 8:00 PM

Grand Performances: June 23, 2017 at 8:00 PM

Conductor: TBA

Director/Production Designer: Andreas Mitisek

Frida celebrates Frida Kahlo's vivacious spirit, sexuality, fragility, and her tumultuous life with Diego Rivera. Rodríguez describes his music as "in the Gershwin, Sondheim, Kurt Weill tradition..." The score calls for a mariachi-style orchestra and features authentic Mexican folk songs and dances fused with Rodríguez's characteristic "richly lyrical atonality" (Musical America) in a style "romantically dramatic" (Washington Post) and full of "the composer's all-encompassing sense of humor" (Los Angeles Times).

"...high drama...conveys the radiance and explosive fury of the woman whose art was, in the words of André Breton, 'a ribbon around a bomb.' " - Time Magazine


Subscriptions to Long Beach Opera's 2017 season range from $98 to $600 and will be available starting on Monday, June 13, 2016 by calling 562.432.5934 or online at www.longbeachopera.org. Individual tickets will go on sale in late September.

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