Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

In The Wings - April '11

March 31, 2011

From Lemi Ponifasio's The Tempest: Without a Body Photo: Lemi Ponifasio

Spring has arrived and April is promising some excellent performances around Los Angeles. Perhaps the best place to begin is with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who will welcome Thomas Adès back to town with several shows under the moniker “Aspects of Adès” featuring his work as both a composer and conductor. Starting on April 1, the orchestra will perform Adès’ In Seven Days with its accompanying video installation from Adès collaborator and partner Tal Rosner that was last seen here in May of 2008. This time around, it will be paired with Stravinsky’s Les noces and Concerto for Two Pianos played by Katia and Marielle Labèque. Then on May 5 in conjunction with the L.A. Phil’s New Music Group, the composer will play a piano paraphrase of his opera Powder Her Face and his Concerto Conciso alongside works from Ligeti and Nancarrow. The following weekend will bring two different programs. On May 7 and 8 Adès will lead the world premiere of the latest operatic work from Gerald Barry, a treatment of Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Barry had a huge success in L.A. previously when Adès brought his The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit here in 2006, and this return visit should be a high priority. Adès’s visit with the L.A. Phil will conclude on April 9 with a single performance of his newest orchestra piece, Polaris again with video from Rosner paired with Messiaen’s Éclairs sur l’au-delà.

Thomas Adès Photo: Brian Voce

And while you won't want to miss these highlights of the 10/11 season for the L.A. Philharmonic, there are some other programs later in the month as wel,l including Yefim Bronfman playing the Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 2 under Juraj Valcuha the weekend of the 22nd, Nicolaj Znaider playing the Elgar Violin Concerto under Vassily Sinaisky the weekend of the 15th, and a Beethoven and Prokofiev program the weekend of the 29th with conductor Jaap van Zweden. Of course, in L.A. if you spend all your music time with the L.A. Phil, you’ll be missing out on some other great music. The Jacaranda Music series in Santa Monica will present an all-Liszt program on the 23rd including the rarely preformed Via Crucis as well as Four Goethe Songs with vocalist Buffy Baggott. The Los Angeles Master Chorale will continue its series of programs dedicated to Haydn with The Creation downtown on the 10th. Meanwhile, the Monday Evening Concerts series will conclude its season on the 25th with the music of Hans Abrahamsen and Rick Bahto.

F. Murray Abraham in The Merchant of Venice Photo: Gerry Goodstein

The theater and dance choices around town are particularly strong this month as well, starting right off this weekend with two nights only from New Zealand choreographer and director Lemi Ponifasio with The Tempest: Without a Body, which will be performed at L.A.’s historic downtown Million Dollar Theater on Broadway. (The image at the top of this post is taken from that production.) South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa will present Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky about astronomy and women at the turn of the last century on April 1, while Jane Anderson will look at the life of a very different woman in the world premiere of The Escort at the Geffen Playhouse. Down in San Diego, Ayub Khan-Din’s well-received Rafta, Rafta… will get its long awaited West Coast Premiere at the Old Globe Theater opening on the 3rd. And, of course, L.A.’s biggest theater production company, Center Theater Group, will have three promising shows across its three major stages with Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan starting on the 5th at The Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City; the revival of the late Lanford Wilson’s Burn This at the Mark Taper Forum from the 5th; and the much anticipated arrival of Yasmina Reza’s comedy God of Carnage at the Ahmanson Theater on the 13th with its original Broadway cast, including James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis, and Jeff Daniels. Oh, and not to be missed are two big events at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. F. Murray Abraham will appear as Shylock in Theater for a New Audience's well-received touring production of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice starting on the 14th while for four nights starting on the 7th, Peter Brooks will appear in The Grand Inquisitor and Fragments: From Beckett to Dostoyevsky.

Mark Rylance from the London production of Jerusalem Photo: Simon Annand

With the Los Angeles Opera season concluded, the opera obsessed will have to head out of town for relief. San Diego Opera will offer two productions this month including Struass’ Der Rosenkavalier starting April 3rd with Twyla Robinson, Anke Vondung, and the great Patrizia Ciofi. Ciofi is unbelievably still largely unknown to American audiences and this is a great chance to see her close to home as Sophie. After this will be Gounod’s Faust with young superstar tenor Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez in the principal roles. On the opposite coast, I’ll be in New York for New York City Opera’s current run of “Monodramas” from Peter Zorn, Morton Feldman and Schoenberg followed by three nights at The Metropolitan Opera including Strauss’ Capriccio with Renée Fleming, Berg’s Wozzeck with Waltraud Meier and Alan Held, and the new production of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory with Joyce DiDonato, Diana Damrau, and Juan Diego Florez' which can also be seen live in HD in theaters around the world on the 9th. And since you asked, while I’m there, I’ll also be catching Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem on Broadway with Mark Rylance and the Tony Kushner’s mouthful of a new work at The Public Theater, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. Now take your pick.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?



Opera Reviews '10-'11

Opera Reviews '09-'10

Opera Reviews '06-'09

L.A. Phil Reviews '09/'10

L.A. Phil Reviews '08/'09

L.A. Theater Reviews


Follow Along


Los Angeles

Follow me on Twitter