Please check back on this site in June for reviews and photography!
In the meantime, please take the time to explore the different existing categories on Cultural Cocktail Hour, including my favorite, “Artistic Anecdotes”
Happy Spring, everyone!
Cultural Cocktail Hour
p.s. this month is Opera Month in Los Angeles- please enjoy one of the many opera offerings (see below)
May is Opera Month in Los Angeles
From the traditional to the avant-garde
The operas playing in Southern California include:
opening May 12
starring Stephen Costello and Ailyn Perez
Conducted by Patrick Summers
LA Opera. 135 North Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 972-8001
For full schedule, please visit
the first part of the epic three-year Mozart/Da Ponte Trilogy
May 18 to 26
Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Conducted by Gustavo Dudamel
Starring baritone Mariusz Kwiecien
Costumes by Rodarte designers Kate & Laura Mulleavy
Stage design by Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry.
111 South Grand Ave. LA, CA 90012. 323.850.2000
West coast premiere of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar
with libretto by David Henry Hwang.
May 19 and 26
Based on the life of Spanish playwright and poet
Federico Garcia Lorca.
For more information call 562.432.5934
Backstage at LA Opera:
Sneak Preview of La Bohème
By Leticia Marie Sanchez
All text and photography ©2012
Life Imitates Art, and art imitates life in LA Opera’s upcoming production of La Bohème. In Puccini’s opera about bohemian Paris, the two young lovers, Rodolfo and Mimi, will be played by real life married couple Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez.The operatic duo began dating in 2005 after they starred together in a production of, you guessed it, La Bohème. Pérez, a recent winner of the Richard Tucker Award, reflected on the moment when she first saw Costello as the leading man of her heart: “The moon was out, and I saw him, and I thought, I don’t know where he’s been.”
Costello and Pérez met at as students at the Academy of Vocal Arts.Costello emphatically pointed to the music departments at their respective public high schools as boosts to their current success. “We were both products of public school systems. We wouldn’t be in this career if we didn’t have strong music departments in the schools that we went to.” Costello and Pérez treated audiences to a musical interlude as did Janai Brugger, winner of the 2012 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions who performed “Musetta’s Waltz.”
While the cast and director gave glimpses of the upcoming onstage magic, Director of Production Rupert Hemmings and Technical Director Jeff Kleeman explained the magic that goes on behind-the-scenes. Four forty-foot trucks had arrived with the Parisian garrets. While we see the stars on stage singing arias, the crew behind the scenes works without fanfare to create vast new worlds.
From the fifty core members of the crew to the dressmakers working at the costume shop to tailor the sumptuous costumes (the Simon Boccanegra gowns, for instance, arrived from London and had to be refitted), it is a team effort that results in majestic details of sight and sound. Sitting in one’s opera seat with a lorgnette or binoculars, one does not even fathom the fast-paced complexities, technological systems, and integration of automation. The seemingly invisible hand is what makes the production seamless.
The sets are sometimes flown in twenty-foot airfreights, the largest box a 747 can handle, as was the case with the set of LA Opera’s “The Fly.” A police escort chaperoned the “Il Postino” set upon its arrival in Loredo, Mexico. With all of the international demands on the elaborate sets, it is only natural that an unusual situation may arise. Mr. Hemmings alluded to the mysterious disappearance of a costume container in a Rotterdam harbor. What happened to the gowns? Hemmings surmised that some “well-dressed pirates” now roam the Netherlands streets.
Above and Left, Backstage at LA Opera
The choreographer from Black Swan!
This week, LA gets a double-dose of ballet
Enjoy this week’s Cultural Cocktail
Dorothy Chandler Pavillion
North American premieres of Les Sylphides, Le Spectre de la Rose as well as Amoveo,
Choreographed by Benjamin Millepied, former New York City Ballet principal dancer and choreographer of the award winning film Black Swan.
135 North Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 972-0711
Adapted from Ivan Bunin Directed by Dmitry Krymov
Performers Mikhail Baryshnikov and Anna Sinyakina
with Maxim Maminov, Maria Gulik and ensemble. The Broad Stage at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center. 1310 11th Street Santa Monica, CA 90401 (310) 434-3200
April 3-Aug 26
1200 Getty Center Drive.
LA, CA. 90049.
Sun, April 8th 6 pm
Brahms: Sonata in F major; Debussy: Sonata for Cello & Piano.
Bing Theater. No reservations needed.
5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036
With costumes by Jean Paul Gautier and the music of Gustav Mahler, this performance is likely to sell out soon.
For information on tickets, please call (213) 972-0711 or visit
The music of soothing lullabies, sleeping babies, and…fist fights?
This month, while the illustrious Riccardo Muti conducted Brahms Symphony No. 2 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a young man turned the exclusive box seats into a tawdry Fight Club. The 30-ish man punched a 67-year-old man in the face, in an apparent dispute over the correct proprietor of the box seats.
An ambulance arrived to squire the senior citizen to the hospital, as his face had been cut. The Brahms Brawler fled the scene before police arrived.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Muti flashed “dagger eyes” at the brutish interruption. Maestro Muti was quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying, “This was the first time in my more than 40 years of (musical) activity in all parts of the world that such a thing has happened. Never could I imagine the concert hall would become a (wrestling) ring. The irony was that this took place during a program of Brahms. Most of his music was written to express consolation, not aggression.”
“I hope it was not my interpretation that brought this on,” Muti is reported to have said with a smile.
If the fighter became this inflamed during Brahms, imagine how would he would have reacted during Liszt’s Totentanz or Prokoviev’s Scynthian Suite?
For the full report of the fight, please see John Von Rhein’s report in the Chicago Tribune.
March 17. 7:30 p.m.
Alex Theatre. 216 North Brand Boulevard.Glendale, CA 91203 310.998.7782
March 17 8:00 PM
Los Angeles Philharmonic. Neeme Järvi, conductor;Mischa Maisky, cello. Dvorák: Carnival Overture; Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5; Walt Disney Concert Hall. 111 S. Grand Ave. LA, CA USA 90012 (323) 850-2000
Sun. March 18 11:00-7:00 p.m
Program includes: Musical Performances, Calligraphy, Story Reading,and Film Festival.
LACMA. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036 tel 323 857-6000
For more information please visit: http://www.lacma.org/event/nowruzread more