Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

In the Wings - February

January 27, 2009

Guillermina Quiroga will appear Feb 4 and 5 at UCLA's Royce Hall
Photo: UCLA 2009

For awhile now here at Out West Arts, I’ve kept a Calendar column on the left-hand side listing upcoming events that I’m planning on attending and that I think are worth seeing here and around the country. However, sometimes this list gets lost in the shuffle, so starting this month, I’m going to start featuring monthly upcoming event highlights you may want to check out. Now, these are tough times, but, while I’m aware of competing priorities, it’s still important to support our local arts organizations here in Los Angeles where we’ve got such a world-class variety of music, theater, dance and other live performance events. So, if you’re looking for something to do, here are some things I'd recommend for February.

Probably the biggest L.A. event in February will be the opening of Wagner’s Das Rheingold on the 21st, the first installment of L.A. Opera’s Ring Cycle production that will be directed by Achim Freyer. It’s the first public notes of a major multi-year undertaking that will continue to generate a lot of attention on Los Angeles for months to come. The company has circled its wagons to go forward with this, and, with Freyer's track record here in L.A., it's bound to be interesting if nothing else. It’s not the only opera event, though. Musica Angelica will be presenting concert performances of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen on February 14 and 15, and down south, San Diego Opera will open a production of the infrequently-preformed Don Quichotte by Jules Massenet starring Denyce Graves and Ferruccio Furlanetto on February 14 for 4 performances.

UCLA Live will kick its spring season into gear with two big dance events. The renowned Guillermina Quiroga Dance Company (pictured above) will appear at Royce Hall on Feb 4 and 5 in their first North American Tour with a program of Tango, following sold-out performances in New York in 2006. Then, just a few days into March on the 3rd and 4th, family Flamenco legends Los Farruco will also appear on the Royce stage. There are also visits from playwright Edward Albee on the 7th and the Munich Symphony Orchestra on February 21st.

Cecilia Bartoli

There are plenty of other music events of note as well. Danielle de Niese will give a recital at the recently-opened Broad Stage in Santa Monica on the 10th and Rod Gilfry will return to Los Angeles there on March 1. Beautiful and illustrious soprano Cecilia Bartoli returns to Southern California at the Segerstrom Concert Hall on the 14th on her tour to support her superb Grammy-nominated recording Maria. Segerstrom will also host German violin virtuoso Julia Fischer on the 12th and Les Violins du Roy in a Baroque program on the 20th. The L.A. Philharmonic season continues with appearances from Christian Zacharias on the 22nd, and James Conlon will take a break from his Wagner duties across the street for a Mendelssohn program on the 26th.

But wait there’s more! REDCAT will host a rare West Coast appearance from New York's The Necks on Feb 19, and Japanese puppet masters, the Awaji Puppet Theater Company on the 18th. The LA Master Chorale will perform works of Pärt and Nico Muhly on the 22nd, and Kevin Bowyer will pair organ works of Pärt with those of Bach on Feb 1 at the WDCH. New music will take center stage when Monday Evening Concerts looks at the work of Gérard Griesy on the 16th and L.A.'s own Vicki Ray will give a recital featuring John Adams and Rzewski in Zipper Concert Hall on Feb 3rd.

Christopher Fitzgerald and cast in Minsky's
Photo: Craig Schwartz/CTG 2009

Theater wise, the Ahmanson will premiere a new musical, Minsky’s from the creators of The Drowsy Chaperone and Annie that opens on February 6 while performances of Pippin will continue next door at the Mark Taper Forum. The Geffen Playhouse in Westwood will also premiere a new play from Donald Margulies, Time Stands Still to open mid-month. In L.A.'s wonderful smaller venues, I'm looking forward to The Blank Theater in Hollywood's west coast premiere of the musical The Jazz Age, and Boston Court Theater's new staging of Molière's Tartuffe, which will open on the 21st.

With all of this activity, somewhere I’m going to find some time to go out of town to Chicago to catch up on the Lyric Opera of Chicago's performances of Tristan und Isolde, starring Deborah Voigt and Clifton Forbis, and the opening of their revival of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci with an all star cast including Vladimir Galouzine, Ana Maria Martinez, and Guang Yang. I’m also going to squeeze in the Goodman Theater’s new revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms, directed by Robert Falls and starring
with Brian Dennehy, as well. I think those are the highlights, so help yourself and check out the links above.


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