Angeles Review by Willard Manus
premiere of EURYDICE, by librettist Sarah Ruhl and composer Matthew Aucoin,
was a recent triumph for Los Angeles Opera, which co-produced the avant-garde
work with Metropolitan Opera. A superb cast of singers, led by Daniele
de Niese (as Eurydice), Rod Gilfry (as her father), Joshua Hopkins (as
Orpheus) and Barry Banks (as Hades), delivered the vocal goods, backed
up by Aucoins stirring score. Mary Zimmermans imaginative
and daring direction-characters descended to the underworld by elevator-also
helped give the ancient story a contemporary look and feel.
Based on Ruhls 2003 play (of the same name), the opera is an original
take on the Greek fable about a beautiful nymph who, though trapped in
the world of the dead, has a chance at a new life when her grief-stricken
husband Orpheus is reunited with her. He uses his musical gifts to open
the doors of Hades and lead her toward the light, only to make the fatal
mistake of taking a forbidden look at her. Hes a bit of a jerk,
this Orpheus, and the same can be said of Eurydice, a nervous wreck of
a teenager who cant stop mooning over the death of her father.
told a strange and curious story, but Aucoins score had many thrilling
moments and the singing was of such a high order that ultimately all of
the operas flaws could be overlooked. LA Opera has also announced
its 2020-2021 season. Highlights are productions of Tannhauser,
Il Trovatore, Aida and Don Giovanni.
In addition to those classics, L.A. Opera has also scheduled works by
such contemporary composers as Kevin Puts and Missy Mazzoli. The production
of Breaking the Waves will mark the first time an artist has
made the leap from L.A. Operas Off Grand new-music series to the
stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. (Off Grand introduced Mazzolis
opera, Songs From the Uproar in 2015).
With the scheduling of Tannhauser, LA Opera breaks a seven-year
Wagner drought. The last time the company scheduled a work by the famed
German composer was in 2013, when it performed The Ring Cycle.
The Off Grand series will also include a Halloween concert and screening
of Jordan Peeles horror film Get Out, plus the West
Coast premiere of Pulitzer-Prize winning Chinese composer Du Yuns
In Our Daughters Eyes.
In putting together a new season, were looking for the greatest
range of diversity of offerings, anchored by those monumental masterpieces,
and additional work that represents the future of the art form,
said Christopher Koelsch, L.A. Operas president and chief executive.
He added that one of the companys main concerns was giving audiences
multiple points of entry into an art form that can feel intimidating
thanks to its historical scale....We should be reflective of the time
and place in which we live.
opens on Sept. 26, 2020 with Verdis tale of witchcraft and revenge,
Il Trovatore. It will be followed by the U.S. introduction
of acclaimed Norwegian director Stefan Herheims version of Rossinis
comic Cinderella story, La Cenerentola and by The Brightness
of Light. Starring Renee Fleming and Rod Guilfry, this new opera
is based on the love letters of Georgia OKeeffe and Alfred Stieglitz.
For tickets and information visit laopera.org