Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

In The Wings - January '11

December 30, 2010

Christina Pluhar of L'Arpeggiata

It’s been a wet and rather poky December here in L.A., and I for one am ready for the New Year and a new start. Luckily, many of the city’s performing arts groups will be jumping right back into it as well so you may want to mark your calendars for some of the following events. Leading the way in the music department is the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which will present two weekends of programming under music director Gustavo Dudamel before heading out on a European tour later in the month. The first of these programs running Jan 6 through the 9th will include Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, along with Leonard Bernstein’s 1st and John Adams’ Slonimsky’s Earbox. As you probably know by now, this is also the program that will kick off the orchestra’s foray into live broadcasts into theaters on Jan 9 à la the Metropolitan Opera. The following week is all about Mahler’s 9th Symphony. Perhaps somewhat more interesting programs will crop up later in the month from other acts in Walt Disney Concert Hall as the Los Angeles Master Chorale presents an evening of English choral music on the 30th and Baroque ensemble L’Arpeggiata will arrive on the 19th. Outside of Walt Disney Concert Hall are two other recommended events. Monday Evening Concerts will welcome back the Argento Chamber Ensemble under Michele Galante for an evening built around Fausto Romitelli’s psychedelic Professor Bad Trip on Jan 10. And not to be outdone, the many musicians from CalArts will arrive en masse at REDCAT starting January 28 for three nights of the music of Iannis Xenakis.

The cast of Hair Photo: Joan Marcus

There’s also plenty of fresh theater around town as well. The Pantages Theater in Hollywood will host the national tour of Hair starting on Jan 5 after its well-received Broadway run. Meanwhile downtown, Center Theater Group will continue to put its faith and money behind big celebrity projects including a solo show from John Lithgow, Stories by Heart, starting on the 4th and Jane Fonda reprising her starring role in Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations beginning on Jan 30. And not to be forgotten, South Coast Repertory will offer one of the month’s most exciting offerings with the West Coast premiere of Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation starting on Jan 9. There’s also the more off-the-beaten-track offering from the folks at REDCAT who will welcome Betontanc and Umka.lv for several performances of their puppetry-based Show Your Face! starting on Jan 19.

Rene Pape Photo: Lenny's Studio

On the opera front, L.A. Opera will be offering a recital from Rene Pape on the 15th while the region's other local companies gear up for their own Winter/Spring seasons. San Diego Opera will kick off this year with Puccini’s Turandot on Jan 29 starring Lise Lindstrom in the wake of her own success in New York in this title role. And on the same night, the always adventurous Long Beach Opera will offer the first of two performances of Luigi Cherubini’s Medea. As for me, I’m off to kick start 2011 in New York this weekend with Debussy’s Pélleas et Mélisande and the premiere of Willy Decker’s new production of Verdi’s La Traviata at The Metropolitan Opera this weekend. Around this will be some theater as well, hopefully including The Merchant of Venice and Charles Busch’s The Divine Sister. So stay tuned.


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