LA Opera's 2016/17 season opens with 'Macbeth' and stars Diana Damrau

By Truman C. Wang
January 26, 2016

Tosca , L.A. Opera 2013

Tosca, L.A. Opera 2013

The Los Angeles Opera's 2016/17 season opens on September 17, 2016 with Verdi's "Macbeth", marking both the opera company's 30th birthday as well as 400th year of Shakespeare's death.  This new "Macbeth" will have Mr. Domingo singing the title role and costumes by Suttirat Anne Larlarb of the "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008) fame.   

Other new productions are Philip Glass' "Akhnaten" and "Tales of Hoffmann".  Superstar lyric-coloratura soprano Diana Damrau, who wowed her fans at Santa Monica's the Broad Stage last December, will make her L.A. Opera debut and sing all four of Offenbach's heroines.  Bernstein's "On the Town" will also join the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage with a promised 'all-star cast' to be announced later.  

Puccini's "Tosca" will return with soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and tenor Russell Thomas, who sang a fine Pollione in this season's "Norma".  Not seen since the company's inaugural season in 1986, Sir Peter Hall's old-but-still-potent "Salome" will be dusted off and the silver platter handed to Patricia Racette for her portrayal of Richard Strauss' wicked heroine.  Mozart's singspiel "Abduction from the Seraglio",  last seen in 2003 at the now-defunct Opera Pacific, will pull into the station with the Orient Express sets by James Robinson as well as Andrew Porter's English dialogues.  

You can't have a big birthday like this without big festivities.  The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion will turn into a party house on October 8, 2016 when it opens to the public with opera highlights, backstage tours and more.  Performances and events are also planned at nearby venues, including REDCAT and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.   

Complete schedule of events: 

(performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion)

Macbeth (Sep 17–Oct 16, 2016) — Giuseppe Verdi
Plácido Domingo stars as Macbeth with Ekaterina Semenchuk as Lady Macbeth in a new production conducted by James Conlon. LA Opera's first staging of Macbeth since 1987 will be directed by Darko Tresnjak (The Ghost of Versailles, 2015). Costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb, known for her work in such films as Slumdog Millionaire and127 Hours, will make her operatic debut.

Akhnaten (Nov 5–27, 2016; company premiere) — Philip Glass
Matthew Aucoin, LA Opera’s incoming Artist in Residence, conducts a new co-production with English National Opera, directed by Phelim McDermott and starring countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo in the title role. 

The Abduction from the Seraglio  (Jan 28–Feb 19, 2017) — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
James Conlon conducts LA Opera's first performances in 21 years of Mozart’s comic gem. Set aboard the “Orient Express” in the Roaring Twenties, the production is directed by James Robinson, featuring soprano Aleksandra Kurzak in the leading role of Konstanze.

Salome (Feb 18–March 19, 2017) — Richard Strauss
Soprano Patricia Racette returns to perform the title role in Peter Hall's iconic production, first presented in LA Opera's 1986 inaugural season. James Conlon conducts a cast that also includes baritone Tómas Tómasson as John the Baptist and renowned Wagnerian soprano Gabriele Schnaut in her company debut as Herodias.

The Tales of Hoffmann (March 25–April 15, 2017) — Jacques Offenbach
Superstar soprano Diana Damrau makes her LA Opera debut as all four heroines opposite tenor Vittorio Grigolo as Hoffmann. Plácido Domingo conducts Marta Domingo’s production, last presented in 2002.

Tosca (April 22–May 13, 2017) — Giacomo Puccini
Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky returns as Tosca with tenor Russell Thomas as Cavaradossi and baritone Egils Silins as Scarpia. James Conlon conducts John Caird’s thrilling 2013 production.

(at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion)

Wonderful Town (Dec 2–4, 2016; company premiere) — Leonard Bernstein
Kicking off a three-season celebration leading up to the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, LA Opera’s Resident Conductor Grant Gershon conducts three special performances of one of the greatest treasures of Broadway’s Golden Age. (All-star cast to be announced this spring.) 

(at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion)

On October 8, 2016, LA Opera will celebrate its 30th birthday by opening its doors and inviting everyone to enjoy the magic of opera. All events will be free to the public. Highlights will include appearances by Plácido Domingo and James Conlon, performances featuring members of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, several additional performances for families, art workshops for children, costume and scenery demonstrations, backstage tours and much more. (Additional details will be announced later in the year.)


The Source (Oct 19–23, 2016; west coast premiere) — Ted Hearne
The Source dives into the media hysteria surrounding Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, the Army private at the center of the WikiLeaks scandal. The west coast premiere of The Source launches a third season of collaborations with Beth Morrison Projects.

Presented at REDCAT (631 W. Second Street, Los Angeles, 90012)

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (Oct 29 and 31, 2016; premiere)
Matthew Aucoin will create and conduct a new score for director F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent screen classic. The film will be screened as Mr. Aucoin leads a chamber orchestra in live performances of the score—incorporating music by composers of Murnau's time and new music composed by Mr. Aucoin himself.

Presented at the Theatre at Ace Hotel (929 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, 90015)

Thumbprint (June 15–18, 2017; west coast premiere) —  Kamala Sankaram
A true story told through Hindustani and European musical influences, Thumbprint  explores the deep family ties and tribal traditions that empowered Mukhtar Mai to become the first female victim of gang rape to bring her attackers to justice in Pakistan.

Presented at REDCAT (631 W. Second Street, Los Angeles, 90012)

Noah’s Flood (May 6, 2017) — Benjamin Britten
James Conlon will conduct two free community performances on May 6, featuring hundreds of students and amateur performers collaborating with LA Opera's professional artists and musicians.

Presented at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (555 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, 90012)

For more information about LA Opera’s Off Grand initiative,