January was all about LA Opera and the Opera League collaborating on two amazing events: the January 28 annual preview and the January 31 seminar on “Reinventing Opera in the 21st Century.” LAO provided their most distinguished, acclaimed leaders and artists who took center stage to inform and entertain our members. Both events were hugely attended and thoroughly enjoyed.
After welcoming Leaguers to the preview, Maestro James Conlon and Christopher Koelsch, President and CEO of LAO, revealed next season’s productions. Taking in an in-depth discussion of next season’s selections was so much more satisfying than reading the Facebook post.
Maestro Conlon and Mr. Koelsch passed the mic back and forth and spoke eloquently with charm and humor. I, for one, was mesmerized by their enthusiasm and am eager to send in my subscription renewal.
The Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists sang excerpts from next season’s productions and yielded standing ovations. A complimentary light dinner of salads and sandwiches facilitated an atmosphere of socialization and good will.
Kudos to Beverly Phillips, Chair of the Preview, and Assistant Chair Susan Heard for their superlative organizational skills. They worked diligently and tirelessly to attend to every detail. Josh Harrold, LAO’s League liaison, proved invaluable for his help, both in the planning stage and eleventh-hour assistance scoring us a reduced parking fee. Nearly 30 Leaguers attended.
North of a hundred members attended the January 31 seminar on reinventing opera. How fortunate we were to watch a world-renowned conductor spend a good two hours speaking to an opera support group. Cast members from The Magic Flute, Ben Bliss and So Young Park, performed brilliantly. If you read the December BRAVO, you know Queen of the Night has become So Young’s signature role.
Larry Verdugo, the League’s education chair, summed up the maestro’s remarks thusly:
“The seminar in January that was led by our Maestro James Conlon was a thoughtful presentation on the state of the operatic art and its position vis-à-vis modern production styles, the primacy of music over sometimes questionable contemporary staging and the value of tradition. There was not a little humor, of course, in his observations of the collaborative role of the conductor and stage director. Probably most important, however, was the maestro’s view of his role as a curator of operatic canon, refusing to see the notion of the opera house as museum, and dismissing the notion of relevance as a guideline for the future. As always, there was charm in his informal approach and the spontaneity of his thoughts during the Q&A.”
I couldn’t’ve said it better.
See you at the opera!
P.S. Tickets are now available for our March 19 seminar on Puccini as well as our annual Peter Hemmings award gala. Order today by clicking the links in the preceding sentence or clicking here for the shopping cart.