Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

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

In the Wings - Feb '12

February 07, 2012

Alek Shrader and Christine Brewer in the Santa Fe Opera production of Albert Herring Photo: Ken Howard 2012

February in L.A. is one of those months that reminds me why I love it here. The weather of course is one thing. Some fantastic programming announced by the L.A. Phil for next season is another. (More on that a little later.) But as usual, it’s particularly busy on the performance scene around town so here’s what I recommend you get to. There’s an awful lot of opera on the menu this month led first and foremost by L.A. Opera’s production of Simon Boccanegra which opens February 11th with the company’s general director Placido Domingo in the title role. James Conlon will conduct Verdi’s late masterpiece as he will the other offering LAO will kick off on the 25th, Britten’s Albert Herring. This very British comedy about politics and morality stars young tenor Alek Shrader and will also include two performances in the run from Christine Brewer on March 14th and 17th. Meanwhile San Diego Opera will present the West Coast premiere of Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick which won accolades for its star tenor, Ben Heppner as Captain Ahab, in the show’s world premiere in Dallas in 2010. Further our of town there’s a few other items to consider. The Metropolitan Opera will revive Mussogsky’s Khovanshchina on the 27th with a primarily Russian cast under the incoming Bavarian State Opera music director Kirill Petrenko. And in Chicago, the Lyric Opera will present a new production of Handel’s Rinaldo with David Daniels and the very exciting Iestyn Davies starting on the 29th. And if you’re in town you may also want to see the company’s thoughts on Jerome Kern's Show Boat which will open on the 12th complete with Nathan Gunn. And if you won't be close to New York, there are two Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts to check out including Wagner's Götterdämmerung on the 11th and Verdi's Ernani starring Angela Meade on the 25th.

Johann Johannsson
The L.A. Philharmonic is out of town for much of the month playing yet ore Mahler in Venezuela until they return to their home stage on the 23rd with Charles Dutoit with music of Debussy and Prokofiev, but there are plenty of other exciting music events around town. The Los Angele Master Chorale will present Bruckner’s Mass in E minor and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms on the 14th in on of their most anticipated performances of the spring. And while not coming to L.A., the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be on tour with Riccardo Muti in Orange County where they’ll play Franck and a new work from composer-in residence Mason Bates before moving on to San Diego. And contemporary music will be front and center about everywhere else from REDCAT where the CalArts players will do a two-day John Cage festival on the 15th and 16th in honor of the composers 100th birthday anniversary. Mx Justin Vivian Bond will bring an evening of cabaret to the same venue immediately after this on the 17th, 18th, and 19th. Monday Evening Concerts will continue its season at Zipper Hall downtown on the 27th with Norwegian ensemble asamisimasa and Reinbert de Leeuw will be joined by Louis Andriessen’s muse Crstina Zavalloni for an evening of the composers works at WDCH on the 28th including the U.S. premiere of Anaïs Nin. L.A.'s Formalist Quartet will perform the music of Johann Johannsson at the Masonci Lodge on Hollywood Forever on the 9th, but if you can’t make it, you can listen to them play some of the material streaming at KCRW where they played live on the 8th. Oh and you won’t want to miss out on the latest performance sponsored by People Inside Electronic’s Aron Kallay and Isaac Schankler present “Nothing is Real” a night of new piano works on Pico Blvd on the 11th.

Camerata Pacifica will present their latest program starting on the 9th at Zipper Hall downtown as well with a program to include the music of John Harbison and Bright Sheng while Jacaranda Music will have an evening of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and Schnittke on the 18th in Santa Monica. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra will be joined by the USC Thornton Chamber Singers for one night only in Pasadena on the 25th where Jeffrey Kahane will lead Bach’s Magnificat. And there are a number of other solo and recital performances as well from Leif Ove Andsnes at WDCH on the 8th, Ryan Adams in the same hall for two sold out shows on the 17th and 18th, and Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester at UCLA’s Royce Hall on the 23rd. Oh and Fado singer Ana Moura will be at The Broad Stage on the 17th as well just to make your decision a bit more challenging.

from Mariano Pensotti's El pasado es un animal grotesco
Theater-wise, my pick for the month is Argentina’s Mariano Pensotti who will arrive at REDCAT with the very ambitious and large scale El pasado es un animal grotesco which will run from the 23rd through the 26th. In Pasadena the Theater @ Boston Court will start another season of all world premieres with The Treatment, a dance based narrative work. Orange County’s South Coast Repertory will continue its run of Molly Smith Metzler‘s Elemeno Pea trough the 26th. There' a number of other fine shows running well into the month to consider too including the excellent production of Our Town at The Broad Stage that will close on the 12th and Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park that is continuing at the Mark Taper Forum throught the 26th. Of course what you do from here is entirely up to you.


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