The Los Angeles Opera, led under the steady guidance of Malibu’s Marc Stern, Plácido Domingo and a first class crew, is off to a roaring good start.
“Variety” is the word to describe this season with new and different takes on old favorites and special events. At opening night, Stern described the new schedule as “amazing,” adding, “There’s so much I am really looking forward to.”
After a little mingling, it was curtain call for Bizet’s “Carmen.” The set was enchanting and the performances were high caliber.
For those who find it tough to sit still for a three-hour-plus performance, LAO came up with a novel idea. There were multiple intermissions—like a seventh inning stretch in baseball, but instead of Dodger dogs, they offered delicious quail egg tapas and Spanish ham.
After a rousing round of applause, it was off to a festive late dinner, which Plácido prefers and, together with the intermissions and the breaks and the tapas, it all seemed to keep everyone happy.
But the sensational season is just beginning.
Also on the program, the talented and popular Philip Glass unveils his rendition of the classic “La Belle et La Bete” also known as “Beauty and the Beast.” The production, which runs through Oct. 31, is an operatic Halloween treat and will be followed by Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco.”
Special treats include Plácido Domingo’s 50th anniversary performance in November.
The evening should be stellar indeed. It marks a moment in time, on Nov. 17, 1967, when a young tenor on tour with the New York City Opera took to the stage in the dazzling new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.
In the five decades since that remarkable debut, PD has had a profound impact on cultural life in Los Angeles as a singer, conductor and champion of the arts. Another LA treasure, James Conlon, will conduct the LAO with a constellation of musical guest stars. SAVE THE DATE!
In February you can spend an unforgettable evening with opera favorite Renee Fleming. In May, Verdi returns with “Rigoletto.” And it’s all topped off by Gordon Getty’s Scare Pair and Audra McDonald. So mark your calendars, there’s a lot to be seen and heard in the sound of music!
DICK GETS HIS DUE
Longtime Malibu resident and Mary Poppins star Dick Van Dyke is set to receive the prestigious Britannia Award for Excellence in Television. I ran into the energetic 91-year-old on our usual Saturday morning rounds at Ralphs and he cracked, “I am happy about the award. I just hope they can forgive my bad Cockney accent.” Bad or not, it made for cinematic history and became a favorite for family film fare. The BAFTA awards will take place on Oct. 27 and will also honor Matt Damon with the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in film.
What else can you say but Chim Chimney, Chim Chimney, Chim Chim Cher-ee!