Long Beach Opera Announces 2021 Season

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Long Beach Opera Announces 2021 Season

While acknowledging that the landscape for future performing arts events is currently uncertain, Long Beach Opera is forging ahead with plans for its 2021 "Season of Solidarity" beginning in January. Both LBO and Interim Artistic Advisor Yuval Sharon believe that collaboration and creative thinking will be the key to returning to performing arts activities, and understand that adaptability may be necessary to return to the important work of connecting individuals and communities through live, in-person artistic expression.

Long Beach Opera announces four productions for its 2021 "Season of Solidarity". This season will feature collaborations with organizations and artistic leaders from throughout Los Angeles County and beyond, bringing together some of today's most adventurous and collaborative thinkers on the contemporary music scene.

Yuval Sharon, Artistic Director of The Industry and described by The New York Times as opera's "disrupter in residence," serves as the company's Interim Artistic Advisor, curating the 2021 season. Sharon also directs the final production of LBO's season, the World Premiere co-production of his latest project Comet/Poppea, which explores race, power, and apocalypse through a radical intertwining of two searing works by Monteverdi and the renowned composer George Lewis.

Jennifer Rivera, C.E.O. and Executive Director of Long Beach Opera said, "Artists must continue to create, plan, dream and imagine all the creative scenarios that will once again allow audiences and artists to come together. Hope and creativity are more important now than ever before, and as such, LBO plans to move forward with our planned performances, but also to adapt to whatever environment exists when January 2021 arrives. Between Long Beach Opera and Yuval Sharon's productions for The Industry, opera has existed in parking lots, train stations, swimming pools, automobiles, and city streets during the past four decades in Los Angeles County. Together, we plan to continue to find creative ways to bring the incredible collaborative art form of opera to people in our community."

LBO is proud to be able to start the 2021 season with the production that was originally meant to be part of Andreas Mitisek's final season as Artistic Director: the Los Angeles premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies' The Lighthouse on January 23, 30 & 31 2021. With Davies' haunting score, this tale of mystery and loss is captured in a jaw-dropping new production directed and designed by Mitisek at the Aqauarium of the Pacific's new Honda Pacific Visions Theater.

LBO continues its commitment to producing the work of Philip Glass with the LBO premiere of Les Enfants Terribles. Glass's hypnotic meditation on youth receives a powerful, dance-driven production by director James Darrah originally produced at the One Festival at Opera Omaha. The production, featuring a score with three overlapping pianos, will be conducted by L.A. favorite Christopher Rountree, Artistic Director of the popular wild Up ensemble. Performances are March 20, 27 and 28 at the Beverly O'Neill Theatre.

For LBO's third offering, women reframe their own operatic portrayal in a double bill that pairs the most radical monodrama of the last century with one of this century's most exciting new voices. Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire will perform on the same program as Kate Soper's Voices from the Killing Jar in three performances April 17 & 18, in a co-production with the The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. Pierrot Lunaire will be performed by LBO favorite Peabody Southwell and staged by Danielle Agami in collaboration with her internationally recognized dance company Ate9. Soper's Killing Jar will be performed by Laurel Irene in a new production by L.A. based director Zoe Aja Moore. Both works will be conducted by Jenny Wong, LA Master Chorale's Associate Conductor who recently co-conducted The Industry's acclaimed piece Sweet Land.

The season closes with Comet / Poppea, conceived and directed by Sharon. Using Monteverdi's final masterpiece The Coronation of Poppea as a point of departure, composer George Lewis is creating a new work based on the W.E.B. Du Bois short story "The Comet," which tessellates with the vastly different world of Poppea. The work, which also interrogates the very foundations of opera, will have a libretto by Douglas Kearney, of The Industry's Crescent City and Sweet Land. LBO is co-producing Comet/Poppea with lead producers Anthony Roth Costanzo and Cath Brittan, The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and American Modern Opera Company, and comes to Long Beach after debuting in New York earlier that month.

"Although I was already planning a season of collaborations for LBO prior to the corona virus, the new world we find ourselves in has given that emphasis on collaboration a new significance. So I am energized and humbled that so many artists and arts organizations, both local (like The Industry, wild Up, Ate9, The Wallis) and national (like Opera Omaha, Anthony Roth Costanzo, and AMOC) are so eager to join me and LBO in re-claiming our essential place in the life of this community." - Yuval Sharon

The announcement of LBO's new season comes on the heels of composer Anthony Davis receiving the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Music for The Central Park Five, which had its world premiere in June of 2019 at Long Beach Opera. This is the first time a new work produced by Long Beach Opera has received the Pulitzer.

Information about season tickets can be found at longbeachopera.org.

The Lighthouse - Jan 23, 30 & 31

Part detective mystery and part ghost story, The Lighthouse is a haunting opera with an oceanic score by the lauded English composer Peter Maxwell Davies. Based on real events in turn-of-the-century Scotland, The Lighthouse tells the story of three lighthouse keepers who inexplicably vanish. The details of their disappearance come into focus in a fantastical flashback of their last night at the lighthouse, where their stifling conditions and the unrelenting fog threaten to unmoor the men's grip on reality.

Andreas Mitisek returns to direct a new production that takes full advantage of the cutting-edge technology at the Aquarium of the Pacific's new Honda Pacific Visions Theater. The space's breathtaking 32-foot-tall 180-degree arc projection wall, rumble-seats, and sea-mist will vividly expand the eerie atmosphere of the music.

"In Maxwell Davies's hands a potential ghost story becomes a terrifying psychological drama about the fragility of civilisation and the "beast" that lurks just beneath the surface in all of us. The ghosts here are no alien spirits but the guilty secrets of the past - flesh and blood spectres whose weapons are also very much of this world". - Alexandra Coghlan (newstatesman.com)

Les Enfants Terribles - March 20, 27 & 28

Long Beach Opera continues its commitment to the operas of Philip Glass with Les Enfants Terribles (1996), the final piece of his trilogy based on the works of Jean Cocteau. James Darrah's powerful and physically demanding production, originally seen at The One Festival at Opera Omaha, sheds new light on the piece's conception as a dance opera. Glass himself adapted Cocteau's novel into a libretto, which tells the story of two orphaned children who live in dangerous isolation from the outside world. Glass's kinetic score, set for three overlapping pianos, transforms the original story into a hypnotic meditation on youth's transience and its tragic illusion of eternity. LBO's production will be conducted by beloved Los Angeles based conductor Christopher Rountree, the Artistic Director of the Wild Up ensemble.

"Darrah achieved an optimal blend of dance and theater that elevated Glass's opera to a level of clarity and meaning that will undoubtedly enkindle a passion for opera in those in the audience who were new to genre and renew the excitement of those already enthralled." - Opera News

Pierrot Lunaire and Voices from the Killing Jar - April 17 (two performances), 18

Why are women in opera so often depicted as prostitutes, sacrificial victims, or both? Women reframe their own operatic portrayal in this double bill that pairs the most radical monodrama of the last century with one by this century's most exciting new voices. Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire (1912) changed music forever when he created 21 surreal dreamscapes for a solitary, enigmatic female to traverse. Exploring a threshold space between singing and speaking, Schoenberg created a vocal character somewhere between cabaret and expressionism, demanding each performer to make the role uniquely her own.

Just over 100 years later, Kate Soper's Voices from the Killing Jar (2014) takes an intrepid soloist through a constantly shifting sonic environment and a kaleidoscopic vocal journey. Soper's protagonist brings to life 8 famous women in world literature -- from Don Giovanni to Great Gatsby, from Shakespeare to Haruki Murakami -- to unravel men's depictions of women through the centuries.

Each work is a tour de force for vocalists who think far outside operatic conventions, and LBO is proud to feature two local singers to bring these works to life. Peabody Southwell, an LBO favorite and "one of the most fearless, versatile young singing actresses on the stage today" (Musical America), will bring Pierrot to life. Killing Jar will be performed by Laurel Irene, a performer Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times praised as "downright superhuman, giving one of the most astonishing performances, vocally and interpretively, I have ever encountered."

The works are led by a trio of exceptional local artists that bring fresh perspectives to opera: Pierrot Lunaire is staged and choreographed by Danielle Agami, in collaboration with her acclaimed Ate9 Dance Company. She received the 2018 Virginia B. Toulmin Fellowship for Women Leaders in Dance, the 2016 Princess Grace Award for Choreography, and was named Dance Magazine's Top 25 to Watch in 2015. Killing Jar is staged by Zoe Aja Moore, a theater director whose work has been seen at the Prototype Festival, the Williamstown Theater Festival, REDCAT, and National Sawdust. Jenny Wong, the Associate Conductor of LA Master Chorale and a co-conductor of The Industry's Sweet Land, conducts both pieces.

"Kate Soper is one of the true originals of her generation." - Alex Ross, The New Yorker

"Not every good choreographer develops a language, and Danielle Agami speaks her borrowed tongue with considerable skill." - Brian Seibert, The New York Times

Comet/Poppea - June 20, 26 & 27

LBO's Interim Artistic Advisor Yuval Sharon presents his latest project: "Two seemingly incongruous stories... two radically different musical voices... two visions of social striving that at first glance appear to have nothing to do with the other. On a constantly rotating stage, two worlds unfold simultaneously, spinning like a top that creates a visual and aural spiral, inviting associations, dissociations, collisions, and confluences."

"Comet / Poppea begins as a critique of the institution of opera, but by the end it becomes a celebration of all that is unique to opera: the unexpected harmony to be discovered in juxtaposition; the collision of classic and contemporary; and its ability to both respond to modern struggles while illuminating timeless human truths."

Using Monteverdi's final masterpiece, The Coronation of Poppea, as a point of departure, George Lewis composes a new work based on the W.E.B. Du Bois short story "The Comet," which tessellates with the vastly different world of Poppea. As the two stories and sound worlds alternate and occasionally overlap, a fractured narrative emerges, questioning values which shape the world both present and past. The rotating playing space is divided in two, as is the audience: one half of the stage takes us into an ancient world where power and sex eclipse morality, while the other half brings us to a 20th-century setting that takes on issues of race and love in the vacuum of an imagined apocalypse. In collaboration with poet and librettist Douglas Kearney, librettist of The Industry's Crescent City and Sweet Land, Sharon and Lewis will create a hybrid work that interrogates the very foundations of opera.

George E. Lewis, composer Comet / Poppea

George E. Lewis is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University. The recipient of a 2002 MacArthur Fellowship, a 1999 Alpert Award in the Arts, a 2011 United States Artists Walker Fellowship, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lewis studied composition with Muhal Richard Abrams at the AACM School of Music, and trombone with Dean Hey. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971.

Lewis's work in electronic and computer music, computer-based multimedia installations, text-sound works, and notated and improvisative forms is documented on more than 140 recordings. His work has been presented by the American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Ensemble Either/Or, London Philharmonia Orchestra, Talea Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Ensemble Pamplemousse, Wet Ink, Turning Point Ensemble, Ensemble Erik Satie, Orkestra Futura, Eco Ensemble, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, and others, with commissions from the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad, OPUS (Paris), IRCAM, Harvestworks, Studio Museum in Harlem, the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and others.

Most recently, Lewis has served as Ernest Bloch Visiting Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley; Paul Fromm Composer in Residence, American Academy in Rome; Resident Scholar, Center for Disciplinary Innovation, Franke Institute for the Humanities, University of Chicago; and CAC Fitt Artist In Residence, Brown University. Lewis has been honored with the 2012 SEAMUS Award from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, and his widely acclaimed book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008) is a recipient of the American Book Award and the American Musicological Society's Music in American Culture Award. Lewis is the co-editor of the forthcoming two-volume Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies. Forthcoming projects include Afterword, an opera commissioned by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, to be premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in Fall 2015.

Kate Soper, composer Voices from the Killing Jar

Kate Soper is a composer, performer, and writer whose work explores the integration of drama and rhetoric into musical structure, the slippery continuums of expressivity, intelligibility and sense, and the wonderfully treacherous landscape of the human voice. She has been hailed by The Boston Globe as "a composer of trenchant, sometimes discomfiting, power" and by The New Yorker for her "limpid, exacting vocalism, impetuous theatricality, and mastery of modernist style." A Pulitzer Prize finalist, Soper has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters (The Virgil Thomson and Goddard Lieberson awards and the Charles Ives Scholarship), the Koussevitzky Foundation, Chamber Music America, the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund, the Music Theory Society of New York State, and ASCAP, and has been commissioned by ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, and Yarn/Wire. She has received residencies and fellowships from the Civitella Raineri Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Camargo Foundation, the Macdowell Colony, Tanglewood, Royaumont, and Domaine Forget, among others.

Soper is a co-director and performer for Wet Ink, a New York-based new music ensemble dedicated to seeking out adventurous music across aesthetic boundaries. She teaches composition and electronic music at Smith College.

Yuval Sharon, Interim Artistic Advisor

Described by The New York Times as "opera's disrupter in residence," director Yuval Sharon has been creating an unconventional body of work that seeks to expand the operatic form.

Yuval founded and serves as Artistic Director of The Industry in Los Angeles, a company devoted to new and experimental opera that has brought opera into moving vehicles, operating train stations, Hollywood sound stages, and various "non-spaces" such as warehouses, parking lots, and escalator corridors. Sharon conceived, directed, and produced the company's acclaimed world premieres of Sweet Land, Hopscotch, Invisible Cities, and Crescent City. He also devised and directed the company's two "performance installations": In C at the Hammer Museum and Nimbus at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Sharon is the recipient of the 2014 Götz Friedrich Prize in Germany for his production of John Adams' Doctor Atomic, originally produced at the Staatstheater Karlsruhe and later presented in Seville's Teatro de la Maestranza. He also directed a landmark production of John Cage's Song Books at the San Francisco Symphony and Carnegie Hall with Joan La Barbara, Meredith Monk, and Jessye Norman. His 2016 production of Peter Eötvös's Three Sisters at the Wiener Staatsoper led Opernwelt to call him "one of the most interesting arrivals on the musical landscape." His production of Cunning Little Vixen, originally produced at the Cleveland Orchestra, was the first fully-staged opera ever presented in Vienna's Musikverein in October 2017. In 2018 Sharon became the first American director at the Bayreuther Festspiele with his production of Lohengrin.

From 2016-2019, Sharon was the first Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, creating nine projects that included newly commissioned works, site-specific installations, and performances outside the hall. The culmination of his residency was a major revival of Meredith Monk's opera ATLAS, which made him the first director Monk entrusted with a new production of her work. Other projects included an original setting of War of the Worlds; a staging of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with Gustavo Dudamel; and rare stagings of Lou Harrison's Young Caesar and John Cage's Europeras 1 & 2.

Sharon was honored with a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship and a Foundation for Contemporary Art grant for theater.

This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov

Supported in part by a grant from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach.

Long Beach Opera events are supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission

The Lighthouse is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Long Beach Opera (LBO) is internationally known for its cutting-edge interpretations of unconventional repertoire. LBO creates immediate, inventive, and often boldly avant-garde productions for an adventurous audience and stands apart from most opera companies in the number of world, American, and West Coast premieres the company has staged. Founded in 1979, it is the oldest professional opera company in the Los Angeles/Orange County region with a performance history of more than 110 operas, ranging from the earliest works of the 17th century to operas of the 21st. LBO's evera??growing repertoire has provided stimulus for the subsequent founding of other local opera companies, catapulting Southern California into the spotlight as a major opera epicenter. LBO is a recognized and respected member of the U. S. cultural community, receiving funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Long Beach, along with generous support from individual donors, local businesses, public corporations, and private foundations.


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