Long Beach Opera Announces 2015 Season

Long Beach Opera Announces 2015 Season

Long Beach Opera Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek announces the company's 2015 season featuring works by contemporary North American and English composers: the US premiere of Gavin Bryars' Marilyn Forever, the Los Angeles premiere of Tobias Picker's Thérèse Raquin, and a new production of Philip Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox. Kicking off the season, LBO will perform the Southern California premiere of John Adams' I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky.

LBO heads to Hollywood with John Adams' musical drama, I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky. In a performance under the stars that hits close to home, Adams' earthquake romance follows Angelenos during the 1994 Northridge disaster. Ironically never before performed in Los Angeles, the work will be presented on August 23, 2014 at the Ford Amphitheatre as part of its Zev Yaroslavsky Signature Series.

The 2015 season begins in January with the Los Angeles premiere of Tobias Picker's lavish retelling of Émile Zola's haunting, erotic case study of human nature, Thérèse Raquin. In March LBO will present the US premiere of Gavin Bryars' Marilyn Forever, an intimate reflection on Marilyn Monroe's relationships with the men in her life. The season comes to a close in May and June with Hydrogen Jukebox, a collage of American culture resulting from a collaboration between composer Philip Glass and "beat" poet Allen Ginsberg. Mitisek says, "This is a season reflecting on the human emotions of desire and passion and their vulnerability to corruption. Each of these works chronicles a different kind of love - love of flesh, love of spirit, and love of country."

Tickets: Tickets go on sale Friday June 13, 2014 and are available from the LBO Ticket Services at 562-432-5934 and online at www.LBOpera.org. First-time subscribers to the 2015 Season receive a 50% discount.


I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky

(Southern California Premiere)

Composer: John Adams

Librettist: June Jordan

DATE: Aug 23, 2014 at 8pm

VENUE: Ford Amphitheatre, Hollywood

Staged near the epicenter of the Northridge earthquake, LBO will perform a one-night-only, concert version of John Adams' genre-defying theatre piece set around the 1994 seismic disaster. The libretto, a poignant SoCal social commentary written by June Jordan, follows seven young, diverse Angelenos as they pick up the pieces of their lives in the aftermath of total devastation. This work, which Adams likens to Kurt Weill's The ThreePenny Opera, is an opera-musical hybrid à la Bernstein and Sondheim that brings together blues, gospel, minimalism, funk, and pop. The title derives from a quote from one of the survivors which appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky premiered in 1995 at the University of California in Berkeley and has since been staged in Montreal, New York, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Paris and Hamburg. The piece will be conducted by LBO Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek as part of the Ford's "Zev Yaroslavsky Signature Series."

THÉRÈSE RAQUIN (Los Angeles Premiere)

Composer: Tobias Picker

Librettist: Gene Scheer, based on the novel by Émile Zola

DATES: January 24, 2015 at 8pm, February 1, 2015 at 2:30pm

VENUE: Warner Grand Theatre, San Pedro

The Los Angeles premiere of Tobias Picker's third opera Thérèse Raquin opens the 2015 season. The Wall Street Journal has called Picker, "our finest composer for the lyric stage." The opera is based on French naturalist author Émile Zola's debut novel of the same name, a scandalous tale of reckless appetites, embraced by a lavish, sensual score that mirrors the lovers' turbulent affair. Thérèse, bound by an unhappy marriage, falls deeply in love with an old friend, but romance turns to madness when they commit a crime that will haunt them forever. Anne Midgette in The New York Times wrote, "...darkness emanates from Mr. Picker's adroit music, of a sinister tonality. The vocal writing is sympathetic, particularly in the effective ensembles, while beneath it the orchestra outlines the unspoken tension in taut layerings of figures, turning the emotional screws to echo the increasingly dissonant plot." Opera Now described this deadly ménage à trois as "a thrill-ride from the start."

A joint commission by the Dallas Opera, L'Opéra de Montréal, and the San Diego Opera, Thérèse Raquin premiered November of 2001 in Dallas. The salacious libretto, written by songwriter and lyricist Gene Scheer, is what the Dallas Observer called "realism as disturbing as Hitchcock's best."

Thérèse Raquin will be a co-production with the Chicago Opera Theater (COT) under the joint directorship of Andreas Mitisek.


Composer: Gavin Bryars

Librettist: Marilyn Bowering

DATES: March 21, 2015 at 8pm, March 29, 2015 at 2:30pm

VENUE: Warner Grand Theatre, San Pedro

More reverie than reality, the US premiere of Marilyn Forever celebrates a true American idol known by all, but understood by few. With the help of a chamber orchestra and onstage jazz trio, Gavin Bryars strings together a series of Hollywood vignettes as told by Marilyn Monroe and the men in her life, from stage directors to husband Arthur Miller. The sultry, film noir musical pallet, like Norma Jean herself, is at once amorous and distant, accessible yet mysterious.

LBO's production follows the 2013 world premiere in Victoria, Canada. The libretto, written by Canadian poet and playwright Marilyn Bowering, is a refashioning of her 1987 collection of poetry about Marilyn, Anyone Can See I Love You, which focuses less on historical accuracy and more on Marilyn Monroe's inner substance. Bowering places Marilyn in a state of limbo, between life and death, a state that Bowering says includes "psychological moments, reflections, reminiscences and so on...she's discovering and saying who she is through this night." Marilyn Forever is LBO's second US premiere of a Gavin Bryars opera, the first being Paper Nautilus in 2012.


Composer: Philip Glass

Librettist: Allen Ginsberg

DATES: May 30, 2015 at 8pm, June 6, 2015 at 2:30pm and 8pm, June 7, 2015 at 7pm


Philip Glass collaborates with poet Allen Ginsberg for an intimate journey through the American cultural landscape from the 1950s through the 1980s. This kaleidoscope of Americana reflects on historical and social phenomena including the anti-war movement, sexual revolution, drugs, Eastern philosophy, and the Iran-Contra scandal, among others. Glass' poignant, percussive minimalism fuses Ginsberg's prophetic texts with a contemporary soundscape, forging an experience both passionately nostalgic and stunningly relevant.

The collaboration was the result of a 1988 run-in between Glass and Ginsberg at a New York bookstore that resulted in an accompanied performance of Ginsberg's poem, "Wichita Vortex Sutra." Afterwards Glass said, "Allen and I so thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration that we soon began talking about expanding our performance...It was right after the 1988 presidential election, and neither Bush nor Dukakis seemed to talk about anything that was going on. I remember saying to Allen, if these guys aren't going to talk about the issues then we should."

The chamber opera was commissioned and premiered by the Spoleto Music Festival in 1990. The two acts include Ginsberg poetry and prose dramatized by six archetypal American characters: a waitress, policeman, businessman, cheerleader, priest, and mechanic.


June 22 at 7PM, June 28 at 8 PM, June 29 at 2PM (matinee currently SOLD OUT)

David Lang's The Difficulty of Crossing a Field

The powerful story of a pre-Civil War slave owner who disappears in the middle of the day in front of his family, slaves, and neighbors. His sudden disappearance leaves unanswered questions about what actually happened and what the witnesses really saw. The audience sits on stage while the performance takes place around and over the seats of the Terrace Theater in Long Beach.

LONG BEACH OPERA: Artistic and General Director: Andreas Mitisek

507 Pacific Ave., Long Beach, CA. 90802/ www.LBOpera.org / 562-432-5934

For additional information about the season, please visit www.LBOpera.org.

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