Los Angeles Opera has announced Placido Domingo's first season as artistic director. It includes eight company premiers, two revivals and two special additions to the season, Renee Fleming in Recital and A Night of Zarzuela and Operetta with Placido Domingo & Friends.La Traviata and The Magic Flute are the revivals; The Queen of Spades, Lohengrin, The Merry Widow, Moses und Aron, Mass in B Minor, Turandot, Duke Bluebeard's Castle, Gianni Schicchi are the new entries. The Zarzuela night replaces the previously announced La Vida Alegre.
The 2001-2002 season kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 4 with the opening of the new production of Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, directed and designed by Gottfried Pilz, conducted by Valery Gergiev. Domingo and Gegam Grigorian will split the role of Herman; Galina Gorchakova, Elena Obraztsova, Vladimir Chernov, Sergei Leiferkus and Susanna Poretsky are also featured. Through Sept. 25.
Lohengrin by Richard Wagner will run in repertory with Queen during the month of September. A first for Los Angeles Opera, Lohengrin is directed by Academy-Award winning actor Maximilian Schell and can boast of an all-star cast headed by Gosta Winbergh, Adrianne Pieczonka, Eva Marton, Tom Fox, Kurt Rydl and Martin Gantner. Through Sept. 30.
A revival of La Traviata follows Oct. 19-Nov. 10, with celebrated soprano Ana Maria Martinez singing Violetta the courtesan. She is joined by Rolando Villazon and Bruce Sledge (sharing the role of Alfredo). Marta Domingo returns to direct her original staging under the baton of Placido Domingo.
All performances of Los Angeles Opera's 16th season will take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave. For tickets and information call (213) 365-3500 or Ticketmaster via www.laopera.org
Opera Pacific also announced its 2001-2002 season:
Festa Italiana: A Verdi Centennial Celebration, Sun. Sept. 16 at 7.30 PM, Irvine Bowl, Laguna Beach. An all-star cast joins the Opera Pacific Chorus in performing some of Verdi's most memorable music.
Platee by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Sept. 28 & 29 at 8 PM. At the Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa. The Mark Morris Dance Group is featured in this rarely performed comic opera.
Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi will be performed Nov. 9-11 at the OCPAC. The cast includes Christopher Robertson, Louis Otey, Elena Kellessidi and Jan Grissom, among others.
Don Giovanni by Mozart is the first production in 2002 (Jan. 22-27) at OCPAC. The new production is directed by Thor Steingraber and features such artists as William Shimell, Paula Delligatti and Kyle Ketelsen.
Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin follows Feb. 26-March 3 at OCPAC, It's the first production of a Russian opera in OP's history. Lucio Gallo and Mary Mills are among the lead singers.
Renee Fleming In Recital will take center stage at OCPAC on March 17 at 2 PM. It promises to be a tour-de-force recital by one of the world's leading sopranos.
Samuel Ramey In Concert, another solo entry in OCPAC's Voices in Song Series, occupies the March 17 slot at 2 PM. The gala concert by the famed bass will also feature the Opera Pacific Orchestra and the All-American Boys Chorus conducted by John DeMain.
The West Coast premiere of Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie will take place April 16-21 at OCPAC. Based on the best-selling book by Sister Helen Prejean with a libretto by Terrence McNally, the contemporary opera will be sung by Kristin Jepson, Theodora Hanslowe, John Packard and Frederica von Stade.
The Barber of Seville by Rossini concludes the new season, May 11-19, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine. Director Linda Brovsky leads a cast that includes Kyung Mook Yum as Figaro, Lynette Tapia as Rosina and John Osborn as Count Almaviva.
For tickets and information call (800) 34-OPERA or visit www.operapacific.org
On Sept. 22, the famed heldentenor Ben Heppner will perform in Chicago in a concert version of Verdi's Otello under James Levine's direction. The two collaborated on the same project this past summer in Munich. Heppner also recently signed an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon. His first CD for DG is a complete recording of Ariadne and Naxos, which he sang with Deborah Voigt, Natalie Dessay and Anne Sofie Von Otter. In 2003 he will bring his interpretation of Enee in Les Troyens to the Met. He sang the Berlioz last year with Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra, and confided that it's not the size of the role but the variety that's taxing: "The entrance is as if he were a spinto, and there's another part that's baritonal, then you have to find this very fine French leggiero sound, and then you have to sing the big final aria with chorus as if you were born to the big dramatic roles."