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LA Opera Postpones or Cancels Remaining 2020/21 Season Programming

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The 2021/22 season will feature five mainstage productions.

LA Opera announced today that it is postponing, reimagining or canceling all currently scheduled in-person programming for the remainder of the 2020/21 season due to concerns for artist and patron safety regarding COVID-19. Recent news regarding the development of vaccines has reinspired confidence in the company's ability to return to normal production for the 2021/22 season, which will be a combination of rescheduled and new programming.

The 2021/22 season will feature five mainstage productions (Il Trovatore, Tannhäuser, Cinderella (La Cenerentola), St. Matthew Passion and Aida), three concerts (Alcina, The Brightness of Light and a Javier Camarena recital) and two Off Grand events (Get Out in Concert and In Our Daughter's Eyes), for a total of 41 performances between September 18, 2021, and June 18, 2022.

Details of the newly announced 2021/22 season are as follows:

  • Verdi's Il Trovatore will be performed from September 18 through October 10, 2021, conducted by Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon and directed by Francisco Negrin. Guanqun Yu will sing Leonora, with Gregory Kunde as Manrico, Raehann Bryce-Davis as Azucena, Vladimir Stoyanov as Count di Luna, and Morris Robinson as Ferrando.
  • Wagner's Tannhäuser will take the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage from October 16 through November 6, 2021, conducted by James Conlon and directed by Louisa Muller. The cast includes Issachah Savage as Tannhäuser, Sara Jakubiak as Elisabeth, Yulia Matochkina as Venus, Lucas Meachem as Wolfram and Morris Robinson as Hermann.
  • Rossini's Cinderella (La Cenerentola) will be performed from November 20 through December 12, 2021, conducted by Roberto Abbado and led by Serena Malfi as Angelina/Cinderella, Levy Sekgapane as Don Ramiro, Alessandro Corbelli as Don Magnifico, Rodion Pogossov as Dandini, and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Alidoro. In his LA Opera debut, director Laurent Pelly will stage his colorful production from the Dutch National Opera.
  • Verdi's Aida will be performed from May 21 through June 12, 2022, conducted by James Conlon and directed by Francesca Zambello, with Latonia Moore in the title role, Russell Thomas as Radames and Morris Robinson as Ramfis.
  • Newly added: Bach's St. Matthew Passion, considered by many to be the single greatest masterpiece of western sacred music, will take the stage for six performances from March 12 through 27, 2022. Legendary choreographer John Neumeier, who made his company debut with Orpheus and Eurydice in 2018, returns with one of his signature creations in March of 2022, melding music and narrative with dance in complete harmony. Filling the stage with unforgettable movement and images, the extraordinary dancers of the Hamburg Ballet join forces with Music Director James Conlon and LA Opera's formidable orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists-including soprano Tamara Wilson, tenor Ben Bliss and bass-baritone Craig Colclough-for a spellbinding, deeply meaningful performance.
  • Newly added: Harry Bicket will conduct The English Concert for two concert performances of Handel's Alcina on November 2 and 5, 2021.
  • Newly added: Tenor Javier Camarena will return to Los Angeles for a pair of recitals, on March 31 and April 2, 2022.
  • Renée Fleming and Rod Gilfry return for The Brightness of Light, an orchestral song cycle by Kevin Puts about artist Georgia O'Keefe and her mentor Alfred Stieglitz, on June 18, 2022, with James Conlon conducting the LA Opera Orchestra.
  • As part of LA Opera's Off Grand programming, Get Out in Concert a??(with composer Michael Abels conducting the LA Opera Orchestra and the DC6 Singers in live performances of the "gospel horror" soundtrack) remains scheduled for October 30 and 31, 2021, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown LA.
  • Another Off Grand production, In Our Daughter's Eyes, a one-man opera by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun, will be presented at REDCAT for four performances from April 14 through 17, 2022. Starring Nathan Gunn, the project is part of the company's longstanding collaboration with the groundbreaking Beth Morrison Projects.

For spring 2021, the company will continue to offer LA Opera On Now digital programming and is considering outdoor performances if they can be managed under health guidelines. Spring On Now programming will include Missy Mazzoli's Breaking the Waves, originally scheduled as a mainstage production for March 2021, as well as newly commissioned works by composers Anna Clyne and Carlos Simon as part of the company's Digital Shorts project. Other programming will be announced soon.

Not only is LA Opera On Now popular with audiences, it allows the company to provide employment and avoid additional layoffs, although staff payroll reductions are expected to remain in effect until June. The company remains engaged in ongoing conversations with representatives of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and others impacted by cancellations and postponements in order to help curb the financial impact of the changes.

Changes to the previously scheduled spring 2021 programming include:

  • Aida, originally scheduled to open in May 2021, has been postponed to May of 2022, and will now feature Latonia Moore in the title role, with Russell Thomas as Radames and Morris Robinson as Ramfis.
  • Missy Mazzoli's Breaking the Waves will now be presented digitally through LA Opera On Now, in the spring of 2021.
  • Don Giovanni, originally scheduled to open in January of 2021, has been canceled for now, but the company plans to bring it back in a future season.
  • The Brightness of Light, the orchestral song cycle by Kevin Puts featuring Renée Fleming and Rod Gilfry, has been postponed from May of 2021 to June of 2022.
  • The English Concert's presentation of Handel's Tamerlano, which was scheduled for April 2021, has been canceled and replaced with two performances of Alcina, also by Handel.
  • The LA Opera Off Grand chamber concert Veils for Desire, planned for March 2021, has been canceled.
  • The LA Opera Off Grand presentation of Du Yun's In Our Daughter's Eyes has been postponed to April of 2022.

"While we are saddened to lose in-person programming for the spring, we are heartened by the increasingly promising news of effective vaccines and are extremely optimistic about the fall," said Christopher Koelsch, the company's Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco President and CEO. "In the meantime, I am incredibly grateful for our team members and partners for their resiliency and inventiveness in finding new ways for us to safely bring opera to our community and their commitment to this company and community."

The ongoing effects of the pandemic have continued to place enormous pressure on LA Opera's finances. The toll from canceled productions and performances currently stands at $31 million in earned and contributed revenue for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 fiscal years combined, which are offset in part by expense reductions. LA Opera's patrons have remained incredibly steadfast in their support of the LA Opera Relief Fund which, along with generous support of the annual fund, has, since March, raised an additional $2.6 million in extraordinary support for the artists, staff and infrastructure of the company, helping to ensure a vibrant return of opera to the mainstage. This extra level of support will remain essential until the company returns to full operations and pre-COVID levels of fundraising and ticket sales. Those wishing to donate to the relief fund can do so at LAOpera.org/ReliefFund.

Please visit LAOpera.org for complete information about casting and performance dates. Patrons who purchased tickets for these performances will be contacted by LA Opera regarding the changes.


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