Well, it’s opera season announcement time again – that annual ritual where we all get our hopes up with promises of things that will certainly not come off as planned in the long run. Vainly, those of us who follow such things will hope that the good surprises will outnumber the disappointments. LA Opera
threw its hat into the ring today with an 08/09 schedule that contains few surprises given what has been reported in the media over the last year. And while there is still considerable recycling of very recent old material, it is hard to complain about a season that involves five new productions out of a total of nine.
First the bad news. LAO will revive Traviata
, Die Zauberflöte
, the Robert Wilson Butterly
, and Carmen
. All but the Mozart have appeared here within the last three years in the same productions. There isn’t too much exciting in the casting here, though the Zauberflöte
cast is strong with Nathan Gunn, Joseph Kaiser, Matthias Goerne, and Erin Wall.
Now the good news. The new William Friedkin/Woody Allen Il Trittico
will open the season with Sondra Radvanovsky singing Sour Angelica. This will be paired with the US premiere of LAO’s commission of Howard Shore’s The Fly
based on the film by David Cronenberg who will act as director for the production with Placido Domingo conducting. It may or may not be a disaster, but it will likely be fun to watch. In 2009, the Recovered Voices project marshaled by James Conlon continues with the US premiere of Walter Braunfels Die Vögel
. And just to top things off, LAO will roll out the first two installments of its newly commissioned Achim Freyer Ring cycle, Das Rheingold
and Die Walküre,
with the previously announced cast to include Michelle DeYoung as Fricka, Linda Watson as Brünnhilde, Anja Kampe as Sieglinde, Vitalij Kowaljow as Wotan, Jill Grove as Erde, and Domingo as Siegmund. Music director James Conlon will lead all of the new productions with the exception of The Fly
as well as the Zauberflote
So there you have it. The company continues to move forward, often in a lumbering way but there is something here to look forward to. The company appears to be looking toward many of its beloved regulars in terms of casting and has eschewed big name stars next season with the exception of general manager Mr. Domingo. But no matter how you slice it, next season looks to be more adventurous than the current one.