News for November/December 2005

LOS ANGELES -- L.A. Opera will present its company premiere of Richard Wagner's PARSIFAL, Nov. 26-Dec. 17, with Placido Domingo and Robert Wilson teaming up for the first time in a production that promises to be the highlight of the 2005-2006 season. Domingo will sing Parsifal, the "inoocent fool" who embarks on a mystical journey of self-discovery; Wilson will not only direct but design the decor and lights. Kent Nagano conducts Wagner's score, which relies on the slow and subtle manipulation of leitmotifs to achieve its considerable beauty and luminosity.

Others in the cast include Albert Dohmen as Amfortas, James Creswell & Matti Salminen as King Titurel, Linda Watson as Kundry, and Hartmut Welker as Klingsor, keeper of the magical garden of Flower Maidens.

Wilson last directed at L.A. Opera a year ago, when he mounted Madama Butterfly (the production will return in January). His opera Einstein on the Beach (1976) written with composer Philip Glass, altered conventional perceptions of opera as an art form.

"My general idea about PARSIFAL was that it is not a religious drama," said Wilson. "One reason I like it is because of this moment in the first act when Gurrnemanz looks at Parsifal and asks him what he is seeing, and Parisfal says he does not know. I did not want to have fake religious visions on stage. I think PARSIFAL is about spirituality," he added, signalling an intention to create a universe of suggestive allegory, where time becomes space in a ritualized dream-play atmosphere.

Wagner completed PARSIFAL in 1882 and the work debuted at Bayreuth in July of that year.

Running in repertory will be a production of Puccini's TOSCA, a perennial favorite at L.A. Opera. Nagano will conduct again, with Ian Judge directing. The cast is headed by soprano Violeta Urmana and tenor Salvatore Licitra in their company debuts. Samuel Ramey returns as Baron Scarpia; he is joined by such singers as Michael Gallup, Hyung Yun, Joseph Frank, Andrew Wilkowske and Jinyoung Jang.

L.A. Opera's general director, Placido Domingo, also announced the creation of a Young Artist's program. It will be launched to coincide with the company's 2006-2007 season. Called the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program (in recognition of a $2 million gift from the Flora L. Thornton Foundation), the charity has the goal of developing the talents of exceptionally gifted young artists to become performers of potentially international stature, whose first loyalty would be to L.A. Opera.

Eight to ten singers will be enrolled, plus a conductor and stage director, all under the age of thirty. Participants will receive a generous stipend for a two- or three-year period so that they can work fulltime on developing their careers during the critical stage between the end of their formal academic or conservatory training and the onset of steady performing careers. For more information call (213) 972-7219.

For L.A. Opera tickets and information, call (213) 972-8001 or visit For disability access call (213) 972-0777 or e-mail

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