Malibu Seen

Marc and Eva Stern celebrate a night at the opera with featured artist Anja Kampe. Photo courtesy of Lee Salem Photography


Music lovers put on their black tie best and headed for the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as the Los Angeles Opera kicked off its 2007/2008 season. Eli and Edythe Broad joined Marc and Eva Stern, Sid and Mercedes Bass, Michael and Jane Eisner, and Esa-Pekka and Jane Salonen and Barbara Davis for a lavish two-day celebration.

The company opened its 22nd season with Beethoven’s Fidelio, Ludwig Von B’s one and only opera. The production was conducted by Music Director James Conlon and showcased the talents of two new artists, soprano Anja Kampe as Leonore and tenor Klaus Florian Vogt as Florestan, both making their LAO debuts. Matti Salminen put in a repeat performance as the jailer Rocco and baritone Eike Wilm Schulte starred as the villainous Don Pizarro.

Edythe gave the show a big thumbs up saying she loved the ending.

Following the forceful and dramatic spectacle, guests made their way outside where they enjoyed a sumptuous gala dinner under the stars. In keeping with tradition, the Music Center plaza was transformed into a magical garden filled with blush roses, orchids and ivy. The tables were decked out in blue and gold brocade and topped off with flickering candelabras. After sampling a few Spanish tapas and tucking into a first class feast courtesy of celeb chef Joachim Splichal, opera aficionados danced the night away.

The next day, they were treated to a luscious al fresco luncheon followed by the company’s first-ever performance of Verdi’s Requiem. General Director Placido Domingo conducted the performance, which he dedicated to his dear friend, the late, great, Luciano Pavarotti. Soprano Adrianne Piezonka, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, tenor Arturo Chacon and bass Rene Pape took to the stage for an all-star tribute. The glamorous weekend raised more than one million dollars for LAO.

But the glitzy celebration was just the beginning. There’s a lot more in store as the opera heads into what is sure to be a memorable season. The cultural institution shifts gears in November with Mozart’s great comic drama Don Giovanni and Puccini’s crowd-pleasing La Bohéme.

If you love the drama of Wagner and the whimsy of David Hockney, you’ll get a bit of both in Tristan and Isolde. Even if you’re not a fan of German opera, the fairytale fantasy of fatal attraction and forbidden love set against the contemporary artist’s spellbinding backdrop is sure to impress.

The season continues with the company’s Recovered Voices series that profiles musical works suppressed by the Nazis in World War II and concludes with Puccini’s Tosca and La Rondine, which will be directed by Marta Domingo. From light-hearted love stories to intensity and suspense, LOA has something for everyone.