L.A. Opera tunes up Sondheim’s ‘Music’

Project would be org's first time staging a prod'n in summer

The Los Angeles Opera is negotiating with the New York City Opera to present its production of Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” this summer.

It would be the first time in its 18-year history L.A. Opera has staged a work in the summer. It is expected to open in early July, though it could move to late June. Casting is in the early stages. Jeremy Irons was the star of the Gotham production.

“A Little Night Music” occupies the slot that opened after the pre-Broadway production of the musical “Never Gonna Dance” fell through.

L.A. Opera has not decided whether or how to include the production in its subscription series. A familiar piece (it gave the world “Send in the Clowns”), it fits with the run of three well-known programs at the end of the 2003-04 season — “Madame Butterfly,” “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Il Travatore.” L.A. Opera will announce its 2004-05 season in January.

“With the Walt Disney Concert Hall opening, we have to make the most of the attention that will be placed on Los Angeles — we have to show that we’re a world-class opera group,” said Edgar Baitzel, artistic director of the L.A. Opera.

To that end, org has stepped up the number of operas it is producing — five this year. L.A. Opera is “actively looking for co-producing partners” so that they can stage four or five new productions per year, Baitzel said. In September, L.A. Opera staged the world premiere of “Nicholas and Alexandra,” which it commissioned.

Baitzel said the long-planned and often-delayed complete production of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle ” is now slated for summer 2007 and fall 2008.

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