News for September/October 2003


LOS ANGELES -- Composer Deborah Dratell and librettist Nicholas von Hoffman bring to operatic life the pageantry and pathos of Russia's last Czar, Nicholas II, and his adored wife Alexandra--two figures miscast by history and caught in a seminal moment of the Russian revolution.

NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDRA is the first opera commissioned exclusively by Los Angeles Opera. Rodney Gilfry and Nancy Gustafson sing the title roles, with Placido Domingo marking his 120th role debut as Rasputin. Making company debuts are legendary Russian conductor Mstislav Rostropovich and noted theatre director Anne Bogart. Set designer Robert Israel, costume designer Catherine Zuber, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind and choreographer Barney O'Hanlon comprise the rest of the creative team.

Deborah Drattell has served as Composer in Residence for both Glimmerglass Opera and New York City Opera where her two previous operas have premiered, including the acclaimed production of Lilith in 2001. Librettist von Hoffman is an investigastive political journalist and author who garnered national attention as a "Point Counterpoint" commentator for CBS-TV's 60 Minutes.

"I had thought about the idea of writing an opera on the story of Nicholas and Alexandra for about 15 years," said Drattell, who was initially inspired by the Robert K. Massie book of the same name. "I felt it had all the ingredients, a love story, a villain, intrigue, the family and the execution. It's a story that, at least in our culture, has never died."

NICHOLAS AND ALEXANDER opens on September 14 and runs for five performances through Sept. 26 at Los Angeles Opera, 135 N. Grand Ave. Call (213) 972-8001 or visit

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