Press Room

LA Opera Announces 2018-19 Season

(Los Angeles, January 18, 2018)LA Opera’s Eli and Edythe Broad General Director Plácido Domingo has announced the repertory and artist roster for the company’s 2018-19 season, which he planned in collaboration with Richard Seaver Music Director James Conlon and Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco President and CEO Christopher Koelsch. Highlighted by six mainstage productions in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the season will also include performances presented elsewhere through the company’s Off Grand initiative.

The mainstage season opens with a revival of Verdi’s Don Carlo, conducted by Conlon and starring Domingo as Rodrigo. Next follows the company premiere of Satyagraha by Philip Glass, led by Grant Gershon; a revival of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, with Susan Graham as the Witch and Conlon on the podium; the company premiere of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus), in a new production conducted by Conlon and directed by Thaddeus Strassberger; a production (new to Los Angeles) of Penella’s El Gato Montés: The Wildcat, starring Domingo in the title role under the baton of Jordi Bernàcer; and a revival of Verdi’s La Traviata, starring 2017 Operalia winner Adela Zaharia under Conlon’s leadership. Complete casting and additional information can be found at

Domingo explains:

“The 2018-19 season will be a wonderful adventure for our community. It is so exciting to be a part of this journey, because opera is an art form that never fails to astonish me. For example, the two mainstage works that are completely new to our repertoire – Satyagraha and The Clemency of Titus, written nearly two centuries apart – could not be more different from each other aesthetically, but their powerful themes of justice and humanity resonate in the present day. Indeed, all of the season’s repertory offers opportunities for audiences to experience opera’s unique ability to access and express the otherwise inexpressible range of human emotion. Personally, I am particularly looking forward to my first Los Angeles performances as Rodrigo in Don Carlo, my sixth Verdi baritone role here with James Conlon, as well as reintroducing our audiences to El Gato Montés: The Wildcat, a work that has long held a special place in my heart. The combination of large-scale operas on our main stage along with a particularly exciting range of Off Grand presentations means that there is something for everyone this season, regardless of their experience of opera.”

Conlon comments:

“As I look ahead to the coming season, I relish the opportunity to introduce the company premiere of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus). LA Opera has never produced this unquestionable masterpiece, which was composed virtually simultaneously with The Magic Flute in the last months of Mozart’s short life. It will be a great and important experience for our audiences. Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel has entranced audiences of all ages for its entire 125-year history. It is a work of enormous charm and accessibility, speaking from its deep roots in our fairy-tale tradition. It features a Wagnerian-scaled score that is especially gratifying for the orchestra and conductor. Finally, I am of course particularly looking forward to revisiting two essential Verdi masterpieces – La Traviata and Don Carlo – that I conducted on successive nights on the first weekend of my debut season in Los Angeles. Bookending the coming season, they will provide two excellent occasions to celebrate the extraordinary strides the orchestra and chorus have made over the past twelve years. I’m also extremely proud to offer the second world premiere in our Cathedral Project series, with Moses by Henry Mollicone and Shishir Kurup, a project that annually brings together hundreds of members of the community for a deeply immersive experience of the transformative power of opera. Together with the exceptionally talented musicians of the LA Opera Orchestra and Chorus and the magnificent casts we have assembled, I anticipate that our audiences are in for a season of extraordinary performances.”

Mainstage productions (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion)

Don Carlo (Giuseppe Verdi)

Sep 22–Oct 14, 2018; revival

James Conlon conducts a cast led by Ramón Vargas in the title role, with Ana María Martínez as Elisabeth de Valois, Anna Smirnova as Princess Eboli, Ferruccio Furlanetto as King Philip II, and Plácido Domingo as Rodrigo. The production by Ian Judge returns to Los Angeles for the first time since 2006.

Satyagraha (Philip Glass)

Oct 20–Nov 11, 2018; company premiere

Following the extraordinary success of Einstein on the Beach (2013) and Akhnaten (2016), LA Opera completes Philip Glass’s operatic trilogy about great thinkers who changed the world. Satyagraha (Sanskrit for “truth force”) is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s early years in South Africa, where he developed the radical new idea of nonviolent political resistance. Grant Gershon conducts a production created by Phelim McDermott (director of Akhnaten) for the Metropolitan Opera and English National Opera, starring Sean Panikkar as Gandhi.

Hansel and Gretel (Engelbert Humperdinck)

Nov 17–Dec 15, 2018; revival

James Conlon conducts a revival of Doug Fitch’s dreamlike production, full of fantastical sets and elaborate special effects. Sasha Cooke and Liv Redpath sing the title roles, with diva extraordinaire Susan Graham as the uproariously wicked witch, eager to lure her young victims into a delicious trap.

La Clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus) (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

March 2–24, 2019; company premiere; new production

James Conlon conducts La Clemenza di Tito, Mozart’s final opera seria, written simultaneously with The Magic Flute in the final months of the composer’s life. The new production is directed and designed by Thaddeus Strassberger, who previously staged LA Opera productions of The Two Foscari (2012) and Nabucco (2017). Russell Thomas stars as the imperiled emperor whose generosity and compassion point the way to a brighter future.

El Gato Montés: The Wildcat (Manuel Penella)

April 27–May 19, 2019; production new to Los Angeles

In one of the greatest masterpieces of the Spanish lyrical theater, a beautiful gypsy (Ana María Martínez) unwittingly inspires a fatal rivalry between a renowned bullfighter (Arturo Chacón-Cruz) and a bandit on the run (Plácido Domingo). The quintessentially Spanish tale unfolds with passionate melodies, dazzling choreography, and atmospheric staging. Spanish conductor Jordi Bernàcer leads a production created by director José Carlos Plaza for Madrid’s Teatro de la Zarzuela.

La Traviata (Giuseppe Verdi)

June 1–22, 2019; revival

James Conlon conducts a revival of Marta Domingo’s popular Art Deco-inspired update of the Verdi classic. In the face of certain death, a beautiful courtesan dedicates her remaining time to decadent pleasures, dazzling parties, and wealthy admirers. But when a devoted suitor declares his true love, she is transformed and demonstrates her great humanity with a heart-breaking sacrifice before her premature passing. Romanian soprano Adela Zaharai, the 2017 winner of Operalia, makes her company debut as the glamorous Violetta, with Rame Lahaj (a 2016 Operalia winner) and Charles Castronovo sharing the role of Alfredo.

Off Grand presentations (various venues)

Prism (Ellen Reid and Roxie Perkins)

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

Nov 29–Dec 2, 2018; world premiere

A mother and daughter lock themselves away from the world to protect themselves from the dangers lurking outside. Prism explores the viscosity of memory after trauma, and the lengths one will go to feel better – no matter the cost. Marking LA Opera’s fifth season of collaborations with Beth Morrison Projects, the Los Angeles world premiere presentation of Prism will be followed by performances at the Prototype Festival in New York.

Vampyr (Joby Talbot)

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

Oct 27–31, 2018; world premiere

LA Opera’s annual Halloween mash-up of opera and cinema returns to the spectacular Theatre at Ace Hotel with filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer’s surreal 1932 masterwork, underrated for decades but finally recognized as an important landmark of the horror genre. Composer Joby Talbot creates a compelling new score for chamber orchestra and singers, performed live with a rare screening of this cinematic gem, and conducted by Matthew Aucoin, LA Opera’s Artist in Residence.

the loser (David Lang)

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

Feb 22 & 23, 2019; West Coast premiere 

Two piano prodigies at a masterclass encounter an even greater talent: the virtuoso Glenn Gould, on the cusp of superstardom. The devastating realization that they will never approach their new rival’s level of artistry changes their lives forever. A painful meditation on dreams forsaken and hopes unrealized unfolds, with Rod Gilfry starring in an intimate staging that incorporates multiple levels of the spectacular Theatre at Ace Hotel.

After Hours: A Musical Nocturne (Founders Room, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion)

Hosted and curated by Artist in Residence Matthew Aucoin, LA Opera’s post-show concert series is back for a third season. Presented free of charge immediately after selected performances, After Hours gives audience members and the public the opportunity to mingle with cast and crew members while enjoying special performances by LA Opera artists in the intimate setting of the Founders Room. Musical selections include everything from Schubert, Mahler, and Poulenc to Bruce Springsteen, Nick Drake, and Radiohead. After Hours concerts will take place on Nov 11 & 25, 2018 and March 16 & 24, 2019. For more information, visit

Outreach and family programs (various venues)

LA Opera performances are experienced by vast numbers of Angelenos throughout the year, and not just through the musical events mentioned above. In its longstanding belief that the arts are essential to building our community, the company strives to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to experience or participate in opera. To that end, LA Opera presents a robust variety of outreach and family offerings, experienced by more than 135,000 people of all ages each season. Highlights of these initiatives include (to mention just a few):

Saturday Mornings at the Opera

Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, 90012)

Feb 2 & May 4, 2019

LA Opera presents two hour-long, interactive, Saturday morning performances, preceded by fun and creative children’s workshops with art and music-making activities. On Feb 2, 2019, The Magic Dream offers a wildly imaginative celebration of Mozart’s beloved The Magic Flute. On May 4, German Opera Tales is a high-energy show featuring musical moments from operas like Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.

Moses (Henry Mollicone and Shishir Kurup)

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

March 22 & 23, 2019; world premiere

James Conlon conducts a new work by two distinguished California artists: composer Henry Mollicone and librettist Shishir Kurup. The opera traces the incredible journey of Moses, who stands up to his Egyptian oppressors and ultimately leads his people to freedom. Created for audiences of all ages, and featuring more than 400 professional, amateur, and student performers, the opera is presented free of charge as a gift to the community.

Community Circle

Ongoing throughout the season

The Community Circle seating program enables LA Opera to increase service to students, low-income senior centers, nonprofit service organizations, and underserved community groups. Carefully selected groups can experience opera at a significantly reduced price (and even, at times, no cost). More than 150 tickets are set aside in the orchestra section for every mainstage performance to accommodate these special groups, who can apply online to be considered for the program. These tickets are not available for sale to the public. For information about Community Circle, please visit

Subscription ticket information

Season subscription tickets for the 2018-19 season are now available, starting at $106 for all six mainstage operas. Tickets for Prism, Vampyr and the loser are currently for sale only with subscription packages. For further information, please visit LA Opera’s website at or call LA Opera’s box office at (213) 972-8001.

Unless otherwise specified, performances take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, 90012). Please visit for updated casting information and performance dates.

All programs, artists and dates are subject to change.

About LA Opera

In just over three decades since its founding, LA Opera has become one of America’s most exciting and ambitious opera companies, dedicated to staging imaginative new productions, world premiere commissions, and inventive stagings of the classics that preserve the foundational works while making them feel fresh and compelling. The company also explores unusual repertoire and new works through the Off Grand initiative, performed in a variety of venues throughout Los Angeles. As a non-profit organization, LA Opera depends on philanthropic support to ensure that opera thrives in Los Angeles for generations to come. Sharing the arts is part of the company’s civic responsibility, and LA Opera deepens community involvement with this rich art form through many wide-ranging initiatives.

LA Opera recently honored two of its most important supporters by renaming the title held by Christopher Koelsch as “Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco President and CEO.” This new title recognizes the extraordinary leadership, inspiring generosity, and tireless commitment of Mr. and Mrs. Musco, who have been crucial to LA Opera’s artistic success for many years. Through their exceptional leadership and generosity, they have been powerful advocates for the arts for a broad range of audiences throughout Southern California. Paul Musco was elected to the LA Opera board of directors in 2004 and currently serves as a vice chairman.

LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community. Yamaha is the official piano of LA Opera.

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© 21C Media Group, January 2018

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