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Long Beach Opera Announces Revised 2021 Season

Productions include Les Enfants Terribles and desert in, a world premiere operatic miniseries.

Long Beach Opera Announces Revised 2021 Season

Long Beach Opera has announced a revised 2021 Season, which will include an exciting return to live opera performance in May with an immersive drive-in Phillip Glass opera, the company's first venture into longform digital content with a world premiere operatic television series in June, and an outdoor live performance of two operas in August. Two of the originally scheduled presentations for 2021--The Lighthouse and Comet/Poppea--are not able to safely take this place this season due to ongoing pandemic restrictions on indoor performances.

Two of the presentations curated by LBO's Interim Artistic Advisor Yuval Sharon; Phillip Glass' hypnotic Les Enfants Terribles and the double bill of Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire and Kate Soper's Voices From the Killing Jar, have been adapted to become outdoor performances in compelling locations. A third presentation: an eight-part digital operatic series entitled desert in, conceived of by LBO's new Artistic Director James Darrah along with composer Ellen Reid and screenwriter christopher oscar peña, will be co-produced by Long Beach Opera with lead producer Boston Lyric Opera and released online in June on


Les Enfants Terribles has been converted into a live drive-in opera cinematheque and will be presented on the roof of the parking garage of the marina adjacent shopping center in Long Beach:; 2ND & PCH. Audience members will remain in their vehicles while the singers and dancers move throughout the space, with live and pre-recorded video design enhancing the production. The production will be led by LBO's new Artistic Director James Darrah, conducted by Christopher Rountree and choreographed by Los Angeles' rising star choreographer Chris Emile. The cast features LBO debuts for baritone Edward Nelson as Paul, soprano Anna Schubert as Elisabeth, and mezzo soprano Sarah Beaty as Dargelos / Agathe and a return by tenor Orson Van Gay as Gerard. The performances will take place on May 21, 22, and 23 at 8:00 PM.


LBO will co-produce a world premiere digital series set in the California desert which will be filmed on location in Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs and released in June. Co-created by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid ("p r i s m"), playwright and screenwriter christopher oscar peña ("Jane the Virgin," "Insecure"), and James Darrah, desert in is a groundbreaking, genre-busting eight-part series full of colorful and mysterious characters who populate a supernatural roadside motel in a story of love, loss, and the price of memories we struggle to keep. It combines a wide array of composers, writers from the worlds of television, theater and film as well as a wide array of singers and screen actors and marks LBO's entrance into original operatic digital content. The series will be released exclusively in June on the platform and is being produced by Boston Lyric Opera with Long Beach Opera joining as co-producers.

The series features a unique miniseries-like narrative arc that pairs a different screenwriter and composer for each episode. Composers include Michael Abels (composer for the Academy Award-winning films Get Out and Us), Vijay Iyer, (MacArthur fellow and Grammy-nominated Jazz composer), Nico Muhly (Two Boys, Marnie at the Metropolitan Opera), Emma O'Halloran, Wang Lu (Chicago Opera Theater, Berlin Prize), Nathalie Joachim and Shelley Washington (LA Chamber Orchestra) with the premiere episode composed by Reid.

The star studded cast includes famed mezzo soprano and Grammy winner Isabel Leonard in a role written specifically for her, soprano Talise Trevine and Tony Award nominated cabaret sensation Justin Vivian Bond. In addition to being a creator and co-producer, LBO's AD/CCO James Darrah will helm the series and direct several episodes.


LBO's final presentation of the season will be Pierrot Lunaire / Voices From the Killing Jar, presented at a well-known outdoor amphitheater in Los Angeles on August 14 and 15. This double bill, conceived of by Yuval Sharon, features the work and perspective of women creatives and creative teams. The hundred-year-old masterwork Pierrot Lunaire is paired with the work of one of today's most exciting composers, Kate Soper in her examination of famous women from history and literature. Choreographer Danielle Agami will direct and choreograph Pierrot Lunaire in conjunction with her group Ate9, and mezzo Peabody Southwell will star as Pierrot. Zoe Aja Moore will direct Voices, which will feature soprano Laurel Irene. Jenny Wong will conduct players from Wild Up. The exact location and presenting partner will be revealed in May.

Regarding the revised season offerings, LBO CEO Jennifer Rivera stated, "One year ago it was impossible to imagine that indoor performances would still be prohibited at this time, but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we need to continue to be flexible and adaptable to every scenario. I am so thrilled that LBO's new Artistic Director James Darrah, in collaboration with LBO's Interim Artistic Advisor Yuval Sharon, has been able to work on adapting two of our live presentations to go forward in artistically exciting productions. Additionally I am honored that LBO has been able to sign-on as co-producer for the genre-breaking and totally unique digital opera series desert in. "

LBO's new Artistic Director and Chief Creative Officer James Darrah commented, "It is a testament to LBO's innovative history that the company has so quickly and efficiently been able to re-conceive two full productions and avoid their cancelation. I look forward to working closely with Yuval Sharon to preserve the vision for these two projects as part of LBO's 2021 Season as we herald a safe and exciting return to live performance. With LBO also joining Boston Lyric Opera in the creation of an original work of cinematic opera, we are emphatically signaling Long Beach Opera will not only embrace a return to live events but simultaneously invest in the increasingly exciting digital/filmic outlets for the form."

Yuval Sharon, LBO's Interim Artistic Advisor stated, "Long Beach Opera continues to model flexibility and resilience in the wake of the constantly changing reality of COVID, and I'm thrilled that half the season can be presented within six months of their originally scheduled dates. Under James's new leadership, I am sure LBO will continue to be a leader for adventurous opera in Los Angeles, and I look forward to the continued collegial relationship between LBO and The Industry."

Information about season tickets can be found at



Phillip Glass based on the novella by Jean Cocteau
Director: James Darrah
Conductor: Christopher Rountree
Choreographer: Chris Emile
Scenic Designer: Yuki Izumihara
Costume Designer: Camille Assaf
Lighting Designer: Dan Weingarten
Sound Designer: Benjamin Mass
Projection Designer: Adam Larsen

2ND & PCH South Parking Garage Roof
6400 Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach CA 90803
Note: Drive In - patrons to remain in vehicles.

Friday, May 21 - 8:00 PM
Saturday, May 22 - 8:00 PM
Sunday, May 23 - 8:00 PM

Gerard: Orson Van Gay
Paul: Edward Nelson
Elisabeth: Anna Schubert
Dargelos / Agathe: Sarah Beaty
Dancers: Shauna Davis, Samantha Mohr, Maleek Washington, Joe Davis


An original operatic miniseries

World Premiere

Creators: Ellen Reid, christopher oscar peña, James Darrah
Composers: Ellen Reid, Nathalie Joachim, Shelley Washington, Wang Lu, Michael Abels,
Vijay Iyer, Nico Muhly, Emma O'Halloran
Screenwriters: christopher oscar peña, Joy Kecken, Ryan J. Haddad, A. Rey Pamatmat, Kirsten Greenidge, Jesse Sanchez, Roxie Perkins, Quentin Ngyuen-duy

Conductor: David Angus
Director of Photography: Michael Elias Thomas
Production Designer: Yuki Izumihara
Costume Designer: Molly Irelan
Lighting Designer/Gaffer: Pablo Santiago

To be released as eight episodes online on in June

Full Cast to be announced
Leading Cast:
Cass: Isabel Leonard
Sunny: Talise Trevigne
The Lounge Singer: Justin Vivian Bond


New Production
Arnold Schoenberg (Pierrot Lunaire) (Set to the Pierrot Lunaire text by Albert Giraud)
Kate Soper (Killing Jar)
Danielle Agami, Pierrot Lunaire director/choreographer
Zoe Aja Moore, Voices from the Killing Jar director
Jenny Wong, conductor

Outdoor location to be announced in May

Saturday, August 14 - 8:00 PM
Sunday, August 15 - 8:00 PM

Pierrot Lunaire: Peabody Southwell
Voices from the Killing Jar: Laurel Irene
Dancers: Ate9

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