'America Tropical,' an opera about L.A., debuts in L.A.
Operas set in Los Angeles are exceedingly rare creatures. The ultra-modern metropolis would seem like an odd fit for an art form that isn't generally known for embracing the contemporary. But in the case of the opera "America Tropical," the history of L.A. provides an epic backdrop on which musicians harmonize the city's past and the present in poetically time-bending ways.
"America Tropical" covers 200 years of Los Angeles history, from the city's founding in the 1780s to the Rodney G. King beating and aftermath of the early 1990s. The opera premiered in San Francisco in 2007 and will have its L.A. premiere this weekend, with three performances scheduled for downtown L.A., USC and the Autry National Center.
The opera, written by playwright Oliver Mayer and composer David Conte, takes its title from the once controversial 1932 mural by Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros.
-- David Ng
Upper photo: Siqueiros' mural "La American Tropical" in downtown L.A. Credit: Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times
Lower photo: An assistant at David Alfaro Siqueiros' "America Tropical" mural, 1932. Credit: Los Angeles Times
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