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L.A. Opera and Placido Domingo to throw anniversary open house

September 21, 2011 |  1:45 pm

Placido Domingo as Pablo Neruda, Vienna, 2010
Los Angeles Opera will throw open the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion’s doors for a daylong open house of free programs, tours and displays on Nov. 5 to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Billing it as “our largest community outreach event,” General Director Placido Domingo said Wednesday in an announcement that the aim is to “introduce new friends to our work” while giving established opera buffs “a closer look at all of the elements that combine to create world-class opera.”

The company, then known as Music Center Opera, debuted Oct. 7, 1986, with Domingo starring in Verdi's "Otello" and Lawrence Foster conducting. The director was Goetz Friedrich.

For the anniversary celebration, Domingo and L.A. Opera’s music director, James Conlon, will jointly conduct two concerts (11 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.) featuring soloists from the company’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program, accompanied by the L.A. Opera orchestra. Domingo and Conlon will answer questions after each concert.  At 2 p.m., they will meet the public in the lobby, to autograph programs and other paraphernalia, including CDs and DVDs that will be on sale.

Also onstage in the main auditorium, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., will be “The Prospector,” a half-hour opera geared toward children aged 4 to 10 and their families.  The work by composer Lee Holdridge and librettist Richard Sparks is inspired by Puccini’s “La Fanciulla del West” (The Girl of the Golden West).

“Sing Out Loud,” a half-hour interactive introduction to opera for children and families, will be offered at 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the Founders Room.

Advance tickets are required for “Sing Out Loud” and the concerts conducted by Domingo and Conlon, as well as for backstage tours at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. They’re available for a $1 per order handling fee via the L.A. Opera website, or by phone at (213) 972-8001. There’s a limit of four tickets per household.

Non-ticketed events will take place throughout the day from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the pavilion’s lobbies and reception rooms.

Among them are screenings of two past L.A. Opera productions, Achim Freyer’s 2003 staging of Berlioz’s “La Damnation de Faust” (1:30 p.m.) and the 2006 staging of Verdi’s “La Traviata” starring Renee Fleming and Rolando Villazon (4 p.m).

Other offerings include art workshops for children, presentations on how scenery and costumes are created, and displays on the finished results.

The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is at 135 N. Grand Avenue.


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-- Mike Boehm

Photo: Placido Domingo as Pablo Neruda in a December 2010 performance of "Il Postino" in Vienna. The opera premiered in L.A. earlier that year. Credit: Herwig Prammer/Reuters