Malibu Seen: 50 Years of Music Magic

LAO chairman Marc Stern (center), Sheila Kuehl (left) and Rachel Moore at a ball in 2015 

Malibu’s Opera heavyweights Marc and Eva Stern and Eli and Edy Broad, along with General Director Placido Domingo, have something to sing about. 

They are getting ready for the 2018-19 season of the Los Angeles Opera. The season opens this week with a revival of Verdi’s “Don Carlo,” conducted by James Conlon and starring PD as Rodrigo.

The season includes six main stage productions at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Don Carlo will be followed by the spine-tingling premiere of “Satyagraha” by Phillip Glass. PG has become a local rave fave. After the amazing success of “Einstein on the Beach” in 2013 and “Akhnaten” in 2016, LAO completes the Glass 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 then-radical idea of nonviolent political resistance. 

The season also features a revival of “Hansel and Gretel,” conducted by James Conlon and starring Susan Graham as the Witch; the company premiere of Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito;” a new production of Penelle’s “El Gato Montes,” starring Mr. Domingo in the title role; and a revival of “La Traviata.” Mr. Conlon conducts Marta Domingo’s popular Art Deco-inspired update of the Verdi classic. 

“The 2018-2019 season will be a wonderful adventure for our community,” said Mr. Domingo, who is celebrating a milestone with the LAO. “It’s so exciting to be a part of this journey because opera is an art form that never fails to astonish me.”

The two main stage productions, “The Clemency of Titus” and “Satyagraha,” for example, are two centuries apart and couldn’t be more different, but their powerful themes of justice and humanity resonate to present day. Mr. Domingo says he is especially looking forward to his first Los Angeles performance of Rodrigo in “Don Carlo:” “This is my sixth Verdi baritone role with James. I also look forward to reintroducing audiences to El Gato Montes: The Wildcat. It’s a work that has a special place in my heart.”

Mr. Conlon is equally excited about the new season: “I relish the opportunity to introduce the company premiere of Mozart’s ‘La Clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus).’ LAO has never produced this unquestionable masterpiece, which was composed virtually simultaneously with ‘The Magic Flute’ in the last months of the composer’s short life.” 

The season begins with a splashy on-stage gala, with “Don Carlo” making its debut the following night. All told, the LAO says opera lovers are in for “a season of extraordinary performances.”