Category: James Conlon

Opera Review: 'Albert Herring' at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

March 15, 2012 | 12:51 pm

Christine Brewer performs on stage.
Aficionados of big voices have been waiting for Christine Brewer to appear in a Los Angeles Opera production for a long time.  Indeed, there were a couple of occasions where she was dangled tantalizingly before us, singing song recitals somewhere in town while Wagner’s “Ring” operas -- her natural habitat -- were playing at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. 

But Brewer’s LA Opera debut finally came Wednesday night in a most unorthodox way -- slipping into the cast of Britten’s chamber opera “Albert Herring” toward the end of its run.  That’s right -- a chamber opera, and a comedy at that, written for an ensemble cast of equals. 

Fortunately, Brewer’s part -- that of the lordly arbiter of small-town morals, Lady Billows (which she sang in the Santa Fe edition of this production in 2010) --  can sort of lend itself to a Wagnerian soprano. Britten used one, Sylvia Fisher, on his own recording of “Herring.” 

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L.A. Opera celebrates Verdi at 'Simon Boccanegra' party

February 13, 2012 | 12:40 pm

Placido Domingo and Stana Katic Opera star Plácido Domingo and conductor James Conlon have worked together all over the world. Yet “Simon Boccanegra,” which opened Saturday at Los Angeles Opera, marked the first time the two have teamed for an opera by Giuseppe Verdi.

At the opening night after-party on the fifth floor of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Domingo thanked donors for making that Verdi collaboration possible. Domingo serves as general director of L.A. Opera and Conlon as its music director.

“We were waiting, James and myself, because even though we have worked across the years on many occasions, this was our first Verdi together,” Domingo said. “So to have the pleasure to do it here it was really, really extraordinary.”

The boisterous applause following the production continued into the late-night buffet supper. Addressing the dinner guests, L.A. Opera Chairman Marc Stern ticked off Domingo’s many accomplishments, which include 138 roles, 3,500 career performances, 100 opera recordings and 12 Grammy Awards, then added: “Honestly, all of that was nothing more than a rehearsal -- or a warm-up -- for what [Domingo] did tonight.”

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