Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Moving On

May 19, 2007

Morenike Fadayomi as Bess and Kevin Short as Porgy
Photo:Robert Millard/LA Opera 2007
The worst thing about having a cold, as I have had this week, is without a doubt the coughing. I can deal with the stuffiness and sore throat and everything else, but the days and sleepless nights of coughing at the end of the cold just ruin everything. Such was the case this week that despite my best efforts I only made it through 40 minutes of LA Opera’s current Porgy and Bess. I refuse to be one of those people who just sits there and hacks away without a care to anyone else around me, so I left. Needless to say I don’t have much to say about the performance. It certainly seemed functional enough and was not unpleasing to look at, but I don’t feel I can say much more than that. Worst of all I’m not going to reschedule or try to see this later because of other commitments and that fact that, well, it’s Porgy and Bess. Maybe if it were Audra McDonald or somebody along those lines, but otherwise I’ve got to move on.

On a more positive note, the Santa Fe Opera announced its Summer 2008 season last week and it’s a winner. Although a slight variation on their usual formula in that there will be no Richard Strauss on view, it's a good combination of works, stars, and (count ‘em) five new productions. This year, it’s all about the guys. The underrated baritone Laurent Naori will return for a starring role in Verdi’s Falstaff and über-hottie baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes will deliver his Billy Budd. And don’t forget the excellent David Daniels who, under the esteemed early music talents of Harry Bicket, will star in Handel’s Radimisto. Of course there will be Mozart in the shape of a new Figaro with Susannah Phillips who wowed audiences in 2006 with her Prince Charmant. But best of all and as the composer herself noted to Opera News last year, the season will include the American Premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s Adriana Mater complete with Peter Sellars and George Tsypin’s input. Monica Groop with take the title role and should prove adept at such a role given her familiarity with Saariaho by having previously performed the Pilgrim in L’Amour de Loin. Now that is a season to look forward to.

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