Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

In The Wings - May '10

May 04, 2010

from City Garage's new production of Beaumarchais' The Marriage of Figaro
Photo: Paul Rubenstein 2010

May is admittedly turning into a bit of a catch up month for me. With so much going on in April, I’m just now getting around to some of the things I’ve wanted to see from last month that are still running in theaters around town. Why not start with yet another world premiere play at Boston Court Theater in Pasadena that will present Tom Jacobson’s The Twentieth-Century Way starting on May 8th. The thriller concerns actors involved in the entrapment of homosexual men in public restrooms in 1914 Long Beach, CA. There will be lighter fare as well ranging from the touring production of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps at the Ahmanson Theater to ongoing productions of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World both at A Noise Within in Glendale. Reprise will return to UCLA’s Freud Playhouse with their final production of the season, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on the 11th as well. There’s also solo work as the Center Theater Group finishes a haphazzard season with David Cale’s Palomino staring on the 7th. And for a more adventurous turn try City Garage’s new production of Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro in Santa Monica, or the Blank Theater's recently opened version of Michael John LaChiusa’s See What I Wanna See in Hollywood.

Pierre Boulez

Musically, L.A. continues to be under the sway of L.A. Opera’s staging of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen which will start performances of full cycles on May 29th. There are oodles of interesting Ring-related events as well all over town including appearances by Slavoj Žižek which you can read more about in my Ring festival recommendations here. There's also an evening of Zarzuela excerpts led by L.A. Opera's own Placido Domingo scheduled to take place on May 21st at the Broad Stage. Until then, I’m headed back to New York over the May 14th weekend to say goodbye to the Metropolitan Opera season with Renée Fleming in Rossini’s Armida, Deborah Voigt in Wagner’s Der Fliegende Höllander, and one of my all-time favorite operas, Berg’s Lulu. I’ll also be catching the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in a concert performance of Shoenberg’s Erwartung under the baton of Pierre Boulez.

from Orbo Novo by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet
Photo: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet 2010

Of course it’s nice to have something orchestra to look forward to as the Los Angeles Philharmonic presents the dregs of their most disappointing season in recent memory this month. There are two Dudamel programs including of evening of guitar-based music in the Green Umbrella Program on May 4th and a Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 performance the weekend of the 7th before the group takes the Dudamel show on the road around the country. There is also the coda of a Lionel Bringuier led program the weekend of the 28th with the Sibelius Violin Concerto and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. If you want to hear a great music performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall, I’d recommend the L.A. Master Chorale show of American songs on the 23rd. Or better yet, head downstairs to REDCAT for the "Party for Betty" on May 5th remembering the contributions of the late great Betty Freeman to the world of contemporary music.

There are two notable dance events this month as REDCAT presents Lionel Popkin’s There is an Elephant in this Dance starting on the 20th. Meanwhile UCLA will kick off a new multi-year collaboration with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet the weekend of the 6th with two separate programs.



Wish I could get down there for the full Ring, iffy tenor and all, given the production. And I am drooling over PIERRE BOULEZ conducting anything at all.
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