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Going to the opera

Taymor, Marshall among incoming helmers

The world premiere of film composer Elliot Goldenthal’s opera “Grendel” highlights the L.A. Opera’s 2005-06 season, which is heavy on names from the film and theater worlds.

Helmer Julie Taymor, who co-wrote the libretto with J.D. McClatchy, will direct the opera, a co-commission and co-production with the Lincoln Center Festival. It plays the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion May 27-June 17, 2006, and will be presented at next year’s Lincoln Center Festival at the New York State Theater.

“Grendel” is based on the 1989 John Gardner novel, which retells the Beowulf legend from the point of view of the monster. Eric Owens and Denyce Graves will sing the leads, joined by Laura Claycomb, Jay Hunter Morris and Richard Croft.

Director Garry Marshall will make his opera helming debut Sept. 10 with “The Grand Duchess,” his adaptation of Jacques Offenbach’s comic operetta “La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein.” (Daily Variety, Sept. 6, 2002). Frederica von Stade stars in the operetta, which runs through Oct. 1.

Franco Zeffirelli’s production of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci,” one of L.A. Opera’s signature productions, opens Sept. 11. Tenor Ben Heppner will make his company debut opposite Angela Gheorghiu, who made her company debut this season in “La Boheme.” Sept. 10-11 will be a gala weekend to celebrate the company’s 20th anni.

L.A. opera general director Placido Domingo will sing the title role in Richard Wagner’s “Parsifal,” directed by Robert Wilson. Wilson’s “Madame Butterfly,” a commercial hit in the 2003-04 season, returns Jan. 21-Feb. 19, 2006.

Violeta Urmana, Salvatore Licitra and Samuel Ramey will star in Ian Judge’s production of “Tosca,” which opens Nov. 20 and will run in repertory with “Parsifal.” Music director Kent Nagano, who is departing after this season, will conduct.

Judge’s staging of Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” plays March 25-April 15, 2006, with Nagano conducting.

Running in repertory with “Grendel” will be Verdi’s “La Traviata” (June 7-24, 2006), directed by Marta Domingo. Soprano Elizabeth Futral returns with Joseph Calleja and Dwayne Croft.

The 20th-anniversary season will feature 61 performances of eight operas and two concerts, Cecilia Bartoli singing baroque masterworks with the Zurich Orchestra La Scintilla on Oct. 11 and Dmitri Hvorostovsky performing Russian arias and Soviet songs from the “war years” with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and Yale Chorus on Jan. 15.

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