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Center Stage Opera wants your attention

February 26, 2010 |  4:19 pm

At a time when major professional opera companies are singing their swan song -- trimming seasons or closing altogether -- Center Stage Opera, a small opera company based in the San Fernando Valley, soldiers on, presenting quality productions. Its latest is an updated take on Charles Gounod’s classic opera “Faust”— which transports 16th century Germany into the black-and-white world of TV’s “The Twilight Zone.” It opens Saturday

“We’re kind of like the slightly plump lady in a sea of fat ladies singing,” said founder Dylan H. Thomas. “But at least we’re singing.”

Opera330 Like nearly all arts organizations amid the faltering economy, even the grandest opera houses have struggled to keep their curtains open. Los Angeles Opera reduced its 2010-11 season to 42 performances of six productions; at its peak in 2006 and 2007, the company offered 75 performances of 10 productions. Orange County’s Opera Pacific went silent in 2008 after 22 seasons.

Center Stage is operating on a far smaller scale, but the financial pressures are just as intense.

They’re part of a club of small houses — including Lyric Opera of Los Angeles and Opera Pasadena, among others — that are scattered around L.A. County.

Click here to read my story about Center Stage Opera and see Lawrence K. Ho's photo gallery at left,

--Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Adrien Robert puts makeup on Shira Renee Thomas for "Faust." Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times