Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

In the Wings - December 2009

December 01, 2009

Rosaleen Linehan in The New Electric Ballroom

It's close-out time for 2009 but there is still plenty going on around town to see and do this month. The biggest stars and excitement are still in the hands of Los Angeles Opera this month. A very enjoyable production of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, which just opened a few days ago continues downtown with Juan Diego Florez, Joyce DiDonato, and Nathan Gunn. Gunn will also be seen in a solo recital at the Broad stage on the 11th in a program that includes both lieder and the songs of Tom Waits. If you're looking for something a little more traditional in the recital department, Reneé Fleming will appear in recital with L.A. Opera on the 12th. Even though she's touring in support of her Verismo recording, this appears to be a very serious German-focused program and is worth looking forward to. The other opera excitement this month for me will come in the very last week of the year when I'm off to New York and the Metropolitan Opera for new productions of Les Contes d'Hoffman with Joseph Calleja and Anna Netrebko and Carmen with Roberto Alagna and Elena Garanca. Rounding out the opera week will be revivals of Strauss, Elektra and Der Rosenkavalier on New Year's Day. No better way to start off the new year.

Salvatore Sciarrino
Photo: Mauro Fermariello

The Los Angeles Philharmonic will continue its “West Coast, Left Coast” Festival in the first week of the month with varied programs focusing on California-inspired composers such as Franz Waxman to William Kraft. Included on the schedule will be the world premiere of Thomas Newman's It Got Dark on the 3rd and 4th and then John Admas' The Dharma at Big Sur, which he will conduct himself on the 5th and 6th with Leila Josefowicz. Later on in the month Zubin Mehta returns to conduct the Philharmonic in a Beethoven program with Yefim Bronfman the weekend of the 11th and Harry Bicket will appear with much smaller forces for performances of Vivaldi and Rameau the weekend of the 18th. There's also a return appearance from Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy on the 16th and 17th performing Handel's Messiah. The Los Angeles Master Chorale will also be in the holiday spirit on the 13th with a program featuring Christmas music from Vaughan Williams and Ramirez among others. However, the musical performance I'm most anticipating this month is the opening of the new Monday Evening Concerts season on the 7th in a program that will focus on works for the flute and the music of Salvatore Sciarrino. (There's a video prieview of the whole season to come here.)

Joey Arias
Photo: Steve Menedez/REDCAT

On the theater side there are several more performances of a number of worthwhile shows including the Blank Theater’s new production of David Sedaris’ Santaland Diaries. You should also definitely check out Joey Arias at the REDCAT where Arias with a Twist continues through the 13th. But there are some new offerings around the area as well. And while catching Xanadu in Orange County may provide some campy fun, UCLA Live’s International Theater Festival will bring the real noise with performances from Teatr Zar on the 1st through the 3rd with Triptych and a second offering from Druid Theater Ireland and Enda Walsh's The New Electric Ballroom on the 2nd through the 6th. Also of interest (though I won't catch it until January) is the latest original work from LA's own Culture Clash, Palestine, New Mexico which kicks off at the Mark Taper Forum on the 3rd. So don't get too bogged down in all the holiday hubbub. Take advantage of some of the great offerings around town this month.


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