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  • Pamela Froman

LA Opera


LA Opera presents both contemporary and classic opera on its stage with a variety of productions. The company’s mission is to “produce world-class opera that preserves, promotes, and advances the art form while embodying the diversity, pioneering spirit, and artistic sensibility unique to Los Angeles”.

Hailed for his adventurous and bold artistic leadership, Grant Gershon is currently in his 10th year as Resident Conductor at LA Opera. Last season Gershon conducted performances of Bernstein’s Wonderful Town, Tosca and Les Contes d’Hoffmann. This season he led performances of The Pearl Fishers. LA Opera’s concluding opera of the 2017/18 season is Verdi’s Rigoletto, conducted by Matt Aucoin. Rigoletto is the unforgettable tale of a father’s rage, a daughter’s shame and a self-centered ruler who thinks he can get away with anything.

Looking forward to the 2018/19 season, Gershon will be at the helm of the new Philip Glass production of Satyagraha – an opera on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Other productions on the main stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion include Don Carlo, Hansel and Gretel, The Clemency of Titus, El Gato Montes and La Traviata. There will also be a number of cutting edge, experimental productions on LA Opera's Off Grand series.

“Satyagraha is a beautiful, meaningful and powerful piece. I know that audiences are absolutely going to flip for it,” says Gershon. “The music of Philip Glass is mesmerizing and monumental – for me that's what I'm most looking forward to in the new season.”

LA Opera is truly a company for Los Angeles – by Los Angeles. In addition to the international stars that come and grace the stage, the company is home-grown with Angelinos in the orchestra, in the chorus, and among the singers in principal roles.

The best part of conducting opera, according to Gershon, is the unexpected. “I love the inherent chaos that's involved in conducting opera performances,” he says. “The singers can be far away from the conductor and from the orchestra, the players in the orchestra are spread apart in the orchestra pit, the singers may or may not be able to see the conductor or hear the orchestra, there can be costume or scenery malfunctions. There are so many variables and that's fun to me.”

Opera is first and foremost about emotion. The feelings in opera are huge, so much bigger than what most of us exhibit in our normal day to day existence. Opera taps into the deepest sensitivities that we have as human beings and puts them forward onstage. Then they are embellished with music of extraordinary power and beauty – there's nothing else like it. Opera is sung in a number of different languages, and represents many different cultures and traditions.

“To me one of the things that's so powerful and enriching about opera is that it reaches back into so much of our history. We perform operas at LA Opera that are as ancient as the Italian Renaissance, music from as early as the 16th century, and on up to music that was composed virtually yesterday,” says Gershon. “Opera is a bridge in which any one of us can interact with so much of our history and so many different parts of our human experience.”

Curious about opera? LA Opera presents “Great Opera Choruses” at VPAC, a free concert for the whole family on April 28th at 2pm.

LA Opera at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is located at 135 N. Grand Ave. in Los Angeles. LA Opera offers flexible season ticket subscription packages as well as tickets for individual performances. For information call the box office at (213) 972-8001 or log onto www.laopera.org

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