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‘Todd’ duo cut opera deal

LuPone, Doyle reunite for 'Mahagonny'

The star and director of Broadway’s “Sweeney Todd” will reunite in February 2007 for Los Angeles Opera’s presentation of Kurt Weill’s “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.”

Patti LuPone will star along with Audra McDonald in “Mahagonny” under the direction of John Doyle, who first staged “Sweeney Todd” on the West End. It is one of three new productions in the 10-opera season.

Presentation of Weill-Bertolt Brecht work fits in with the mission of new music director James Conlon, who hopes to make L.A. Opera “a beacon” in the presentation of works suppressed during the Nazi regime. “It’s only a step in the first year,” he said Sunday at the announcement of the L.A. Opera 2006-07 season, “but I hope we can produce as many (of these works) as possible.

L.A. Opera general director Placido Domingo introduced the season, which is highlighted by a number of returning stars, among them Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon. Domingo will make a single appearance in the season, starring in the zarzuela “Luisa Fernanda,” opening June 3, 2007.

Season opens Sept. 9 with three perfs of “La Traviata” starring Renee Fleming, Villazon and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Opera will be recorded in hi-def with the intention of using the recording to launch L.A. Opera’s DVD offerings. The company intends to sell its first release as a three-DVD set with “Traviata” as the centerpiece.

A day later, on Sept. 10, L.A. Opera will present a new production of Verdi’s “Don Carlo,” staged by Ian Judge and starring Salvatore Licitra.

Netrebko and Villazon, who played the leads in “Romeo and Juliet” last year, return in Massenet’s “Manon” on Sept. 30, and “Hansel and Gretel” opens Nov. 19.

Susan Graham makes her L.A. Opera debut with Monteverdi’s “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” on Nov. 25 and returns April 28, 2007, to star in Lehar’s “The Merry Widow.” Wagner’s “Tannhauser,” making its L.A. Opera debut, will run in repertory with “City of Mahagonny” beginning Feb. 24, 2007.

The Washington Opera production of “Porgy and Bess” will be staged May 4-20, 2007.

L.A. Opera intends to announce in the fall plans for its oft-delayed presentation of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle.”

Domingo also noted that the current season’s first four productions have all been kept within their budgets, and that L.A. Opera is reasonably assured of being in the black for the third straight season.

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