L.A. Opera tunes into movie vets

Domingo orchestrating season full of new works

The Los Angeles Opera will continue to bring in veterans from the film world as it launches ambitious plans for the next several seasons under new artistic director Placido Domingo.

George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic will design the L.A. Opera’s production of Richard Wagner’s monumental “Ring” cycle, which has never been produced in Los Angeles. William Friedkin and Maximilian Schell will direct works in the coming year, and John Williams is among a host of composers creating world premiere operas for the company beginning with the 2002-03 season.

At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Monday, Domingo announced details of the 2001-02 season as well as artistic collaborations with international companies, including the Kirov Opera. He also introduced Kent Nagano as the new principal conductor.

‘Challenging works’

“It is very important to me that we solidify this company’s reputation for presenting ambitious, artistically challenging works,” Domingo said. “In choosing the repertoire, I focused on developing an artistic philosophy that concentrates on works that have not previously been presented by Los Angeles Opera.”

Indeed, for the 2001-02 season, seven of the nine presentations have never been performed by the company.

Season will open Sept. 4, 2001, with a new production of Tchaikovsky’s “Pikovaya dama” (The Queen of Spades), conducted by Valery Gergiev. The co-production with Madrid’s Teatro Real and the Washington Opera will be directed and designed by Hugo de Ana. Schell will direct a new production of Richard Wagner’s “Lohengrin,” opening Sept. 12, 2001, and running in repertory with “Pikovaya”; Nagano will conduct.

Revival skedded

A revival of the company’s 1999 production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” follows, beginning Oct. 19, 2001; Domingo will conduct and his wife, Marta, will direct. Franz Lehar’s “The Merry Widow,” which originated at the Opernhaus Zurich, will open Dec. 2, 2001. The Spanish version — “La Viuda Alegre” — will be performed three times in January 2002.

A staged production of J.S. Bach’s “Mass in B Minor,” from the 1996 Schwetzingen Festival, opens Feb. 2, 2002. A revival of its 1993 production of Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote,” directed by Peter Hall, opens March 23, 2002.

A new production of Giacomo Puccini’s “Turandot” opens May 25, 2002, with Nagano conducting and Giancarlo del Monaco directing. Starting June 2, 2002, Friedkin will direct Bela Bartok’s “Duke Bluebeard’s Castle” and Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi.”

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the death of composer Arnold Schoenberg, who died in Los Angeles, the company will present a single concert performance of his monumental “Moses und Aron” on Dec. 9, 2001.

Two-season run

The “Ring” cycle, beginning with “Das Rheingold” in May 2003, will span two seasons. Peter Mussbach will direct, with Nagano conducting. The cycle continues into the 2003-04 season with “Die Walkure” (September 2003) followed by “Siegfried” (March 2004) and “Gotterdammerung” (May 2004).

For the world premieres, Williams’ work will be performed in the 2004-05 season. The 2002-03 season will include a new work by Luciano Berio, and the 2003-04 season will feature “Nicholas and Alexandra,” from Deborah Dratell, the composer-in-residence at the New York City Opera.

L.A. Opera will be working with several of the world’s leading companies over the next several years. The 2002-03 season will feature co-productions with the Kirov Opera, the Washington Opera, Madrid’s Teatro Real and Milan’s La Scala.

The 2003-04 season will include Prokofiev’s “The Love for Three Oranges” and Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” both co-productions with the Kirov.

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