News for September/October 2006

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Opera's 2006/07 season will be launched in September with a special presentation of Verdi's LA TRAVIATA, starring Renee Flening in her long-awaited company debut. Joining her in the production are Rolando Villazon and Renato Bruson, who will be directed by Marta Domingo with James Conlon conducting (in his debut appearance as musical director with L.A. Opera). The all-star production will be filmed and released on DVD by Decca.

Following on the heels of TRAVIATA will be Ian Judge's new production of DON CARLO, also by Verdi. An international cast headed by Salvatore Licitra, Annalisa Raspaglini, Dolora Zajick, Lado Ataneli, Ferruccio and Eric Halfvarson will be featured. Conlon conducts again.

Los Angeles Opera also announced that renowned soprano Anna Netrebko will take on the title role of Jules Massenet's MANON, Sept. 30-Oct.15. She shares top billing with Rolando Villazon (both of whom were last seen in 2005's Romeo et Juliette). MANON is a co-production with the Staatsopera unter den Linden, and will be directed and choreographed by Vincent Paterson with sets by Johannes Leiacker. Placido Domingo conducts this L.A. Opera premiere.

Domingo, general director of L.A. Opera, also announced that the company's 2005/06 season was one of its most successful ever, both artistically and financially. The company exceeded ticket revenue projections by nearly a million dollars, with overall attendance over 86% of house capacity, the highest percentage in company history.

In another announcement, Domingo confirmed that two free performances of CONCIERTO PARA MENDEZ will be mounted on Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Chandler Pavilion. The new work, commissioned from composer Lee Holdridge and librettist Richard Sparks, celebrates the life of the great trumpeter Rafael Mendez. As part of the Education and Community Programs department's Voices for Tolerance project, it will be the first major celebration of National Hispanic Cultural Heritage month.

"Rafael Mendez was an artist who inspired millions through his appearances in film, television and concerts around the world," said Domingo. "A proud native of Mexico, he made his home in Los Angeles for many years and he was a beloved role model for several generations of young musicians. LA Opera is proud to honor the life and music of this extraoredinary performer, composer and teacher."

Part concert, part opera, part oratorio and part film score, CONCIERTO PARA MENDEZ is a fifty-minute multi-media performance which will feature four operatic voices, a solo trumpeter, a narrator (Suzanna Guzman) and the LA Opera Orchestra, conducted by Richard Kauffman. The semi-staged piece will be directed by San Guerrero.

For free tickets click on or call (213) 972-8001. That same day, from 11 AM-4 PM, the County Music Center will host a Latino "Taste of Dance" during which the public can dance on the plaza, and learn some popular Latin dance steps.

The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center, is located at 135 N. Grand Ave. For disability access call (213) 972-0777 or e-mail

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