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Eugene Onegin

tatianas-bath

Opera Review: The Visual Poetry of LA Opera’s “Eugene Onegin”

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” During LA Opera’s psychologically profound production of Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” red skies foreshadowed emotional storms, from the passion-red sky faced by Tatiana the morning after she wrote her feverish note to Onegin to the blazing landscape faced by Lensky on the morning of his fateful duel. LA Opera’s production masterfully captured the poetic spirit of Tchaikovsky’s opera, bringing the interior life of Alexander Pushkin’s characters to the foreground through sumptuous visual poetry. This beloved masterpiece has never before been performed at LA Opera. Its debut on Saturday night led by James Conlon was nothing short of world class. The visually stunning production was originally created in 2006 by the late director Steven Pimlott for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and was staged in Los Angeles by Francesca Gilpin. The production treated audiences to a dynamic tableau vivant, an invitation to step inside a living work of art.

It is fitting that LA Opera’s striking production is rich in visual metaphors, considering that Tchaikovsky’s opera was based on poetry, a novel-in-verse first published by Alexander Pushkin in 1833. In this work, the innovative Pushkin invented an unusual verse-form, one which has come to be known as the Onegin Stanza. Respectful of the literary source, Tchaikovsky did not refer to Eugene Onegin as an opera, but rather, as “lyrical scenes.” Tchaikovsky’s emphasis on the word lyric corresponds with LA Opera’s visually poetic interpretation, one that unearths the essence of the characters and brings them forth on stage.Peter Mumford’s lighting design evoked the vibrations of the soul, from peaceful palettes to blood-red intensity, shifting with the characters’ turbulent emotions and heightening Tchaikovsky’s expressionistic score.

In one beautifully choreographed lyrical scene in Act I,  Tatiana (Oksana Dyka) gleefully basks in a translucent pond, after pouring out her heart to Onegin in a love letter.  This visual image provoked a visceral understanding of her interior exhilaration.

Similarly, the starkly barren trees enhanced Lensky’s (Vsevolod Grinov) powerful rendition of “Kuda Kuda” in Act II. The symbiosis of set and vocals intensified the misery of Lensky’s alienation. Furthermore, dramatic paintings of Pietà-like human expression on the scrim heralded the beginning of each act, giving the audience visual clues to the chilling moments ahead.

In addition to the striking set, the cast of talented singers, including Slovakian baritone Dalibor Jenis as the eponymous hero, delivered an emotionally impacting performance. Oksana Dyka’s physical gestures as the girlish Tatiana were spot on. The Ukranian soprano embodied the perfect blend of innocence, conviction, and dignity as Pushkin’s noble heroine. In one of the longest arias in opera history, the letter scene, Dyka poignantly expressed the lovelorn girl’s turmoil through her pure voice. Keith Jameson’s Monsieur Triquet added a sensitivity and tenderness to the Tatiana Couplets in Act II that caused time to stand still with his interpretation.

LA Opera’s interpretation of Eugene Onegin takes audiences through the heart of Pushkin’s poetry, allowing us to hear, see, and feel its splendor all at once.

LA Opera’s performances of Eugene Onegin will take place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012, on the following dates:

Wednesday, September 21, at 7:30pm

Sunday, September 25, at 2pm

Saturday, October 1, at 7:30pm

Thursday, October 6, at 7:30pm

Sunday, October 9, at 2pm

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ARIA’s Opening Night Festivities at LA OPERA- From Russia with Love

ARIA’s Opening Night Festivities at LA Opera: From Russia With Love

All text and Photography © 2011

By Leticia Marie Sanchez

At LA Opera’s ARIA’s White Night party, chaired by actress and singer-songwriter Emmy Rossum a vivacious fur-capped hostess floated around the dance floor bearing divine desserts. As James Bond would say, from Russia With Love.


The Maestro himself, Placido Domingo, appeared at the ARIA party to introduce the talented artists

behind the production of Eugene Onegin including:conductor James Conlon,Stage Director Francesca Gilpin, and Lighting Designer Peter Mumford. Additionally, the party goers met the stars of Eugene Onegin including: Dalibor Jenis (Eugene Onegin), Oksana Dyka (Tatiana), Vsevolod Grinov (Lensky), Ekaterina Semenchuk (Olga), James Creswell (Prince Germin), Ronnita Nicole Miller (Filipievna), and Keith Jameson (Monsieur Triquet).

The Über-talented Oksana Dyka (third from Left, belowwhose performance as Tatiana brought down the opera house with multiple standing ovations earlier in the evening, spontaneously jumped on stage during the Aria after-party and began to groove to 70’s rock.

One did not want the magical night to end. Never fear,Aria Nights at the Opera will continue this season with Roméo et Juliette on November 12, Simon Boccanegra on February 11, and La Bohème on May 12th.

For more information on ARIA, please visit:

http://www.losangelesopera.com/community/youngpro.aspx

Until then, keep your cultural cocktail glasses filled with bel canto, vibrati, and coloratura!

Leticia Marie Sanchez

Editor-in-Chief 

Cultural Cocktail Hour  

Reporting from LA Opera’s Opening Night: Saturday September 17th

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Cultural Events LA- September 17th and 18th

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail involves the opening weekend of opera season! Two doses of Russian romance and 1 dose of Mozart Mischief- enjoy!

PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY’S EUGENE ONEGIN

Opens Sat. Sept. 17. 7:30 p.m. 

LA Opera. 135 North Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 972-8001 http://www.laopera.com/

ARIA WHITE NIGHT CELEBRATION with Emmy Rossum- Honorary ARIA Chair- Eugene Onegin After Party- Sat Sept 17th

ARIA is LA Opera’s group for young professionals in their 20′s, 30′s, and 40′s with an interest in opera.

ARIA tickets include a ticket to the opera performance and access to the After-Party, with Russian-inspired hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, entertainment, and dancing.

For more on ARIA, including information on how to purchase tickets to Saturday’s party, please visit: http://www.losangelesopera.com/community/youngpro.aspx

 

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART’S COSI FAN TUTTE

Opens Sun. Sept. 18. 2:00 p.m.

LA Opera.

135 North Grand Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90012 (213) 972-8001

http://www.laopera.com/

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Review: Itzhak Perlman and Beethoven at the Hollywood Bowl

By Leticia Marie Sanchez

The program notes for Tuesday’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl included a 1920 quotation from Italian musician and conductor Ferrucio Busoni, “With Beethoven humanity enters into music for the first time.” Busoni’s postulate also holds true for the humanistic performance of violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman who led the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s in an all-Beethoven program including Romance No. 1 in G Major, Romance No. 2 in F. Major, Symphony No. 8 in F Major, and Symphony No. 5.

The indefatigable Mr. Perlman had the dual role of violist and conductor at Tuesday’s magnificent performance. Mr. Perlman’s sensitive interpretation of Beethoven had guts, soul, and heart.

As a conductor, Maestro Perlman is easily the best one to have graced the stage of the Hollywood Bowl for his talent in bringing out the best in each individual member of the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra. Instead of turning Beethoven’s pieces into loud, showy works, as other conductors are apt to do, Mr. Perlman wisely elicited the nuance and texture brought about by each individual instrument, probing the depth and rich emotions of each piece. To the Hollywood Bowl’s credit, its video projection screens complemented the nuanced performance by providing close-ups of the individual members of the string, brass, woodwind, and percussion sections coming to the forefront at any given moment of the Beethoven Program. The perfect rhythms elicited by Mr. Perlman made the L.A. Philharmonic soar seamlessly as one, as they did during the Fourth Movement (Allegro) of the 5th Symphony.

Perhaps, none said it better than E.T.A. Hoffman: “the soul of each thoughtful listener is assuredly stirred, deeply and intimately, by a feeling that is none other than that unutterable portentous longing, and until the final chord — indeed, even in the moments that follow it — he will be powerless to step out of that wondrous spirit realm where grief and joy embrace him in the form of sound.”

The audience was electrified after such a soulful interpretation of Beethoven, rendering a once-familiar composer a newfound treasure. After the finale, I, and those near me, sat in our seats, stunned, tears flowing down our cheeks.

Thank you, Maestro Perlman for a life-changing experience and a memory that I will never forget.

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The Magical World of Peter Lai: Fashion event Thursday Sept 8th at Pacific Asia Museum

The Magical World of Peter Lai 

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Stepping into the shop of San Marino designer Peter Lai is a step into a magical world. The visitor slips into a realm of Venetian masks, Chinese costumes imbued with symbolism from the Qing Dynasty, and contemporary Californian designs. A Hong Kong native, Mr. Lai was born into a family of costume designers for Hong Kong’s opera, television, and film industry.

Mr. Lai’s shop has been a fixture on Mission Street in San Marino for decades, and his exquisitely detailed gowns add glamour to museum galas and social events like the Save Venice ball.

Left: Design by Peter Lai.

Right: Rose Detail, Peter Lai designs

In 2004, Mr. Lai won the Golden Needle designer award in a competition whose industry judges included Mr. Blackwell, creator of the infamous Best and Worst Dressed list.Mr. Lai’s creative and richly-crafted designs fuse cultures.

For instance, he uses Venetian masks as a base and infuses them with Asian-inspired motifs. Mr. Lai himself takes part in the theatrically mysterious, donning his own costumes, mask included, at dinner parties.

Photo: Mask by Peter Lai

Photo Left: Designer Peter Lai next to his own design.

’Bob Mackie didn’t recognize me’, Lai revealed, “’he asked, ‘Who are you?’” Ever full of surprises, Mr. Lai has also been a student of Kabuki for the past ten years and performed the Japanese art form in full costume this summer at the Hollywood Bowl.

This Thursday, September 8th, the Pacific Asia Museum will be hosting a fashion event with Peter Lai from 5:30-7:30 p.m. as part of the Festival of the Autumn Moon. For more information, please visit:

http://pacificasiamuseum.org/

Peter Lai. 2571 Mission St. San Marino, 91108. (626) 799-4645

From left: Vest by Peter Lai

Right: Detail from Vest

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Cultural Events LA labor day weekend- Sept. 1, Sept 5. Sept 6

This week’s Cultural Cocktail includes a dose of antiquity, a labor-free stroll through LACMA, and one of the world’s greatest violinists

Trojan Women (after Euripides) at the Getty Villa 8:00 P.M.

SITI Company, directed by Anne Bogart and adapted by Jocelyn Clarke. Previews Thursday–Saturday, September 1–3 Performances: Thursdays–Saturdays, September 8–October 1 Getty Villa, Outdoor Classical Theater. For more information call (310) 440-7300 or visit:

http://www.getty.edu/

LACMA FREE Labor Day Monday, September 5th 12 pm

*Free* day at the museum (all day) including a live performance. Tickets required*Does not include free admission to the Tim Burton exhibit or any specially ticketed exhibitions. LACMA• 5905 Wilshire Blvd. LA, CA http://www.lacma.org/

ITZHAK PERLMAN performs Beethoven

Tuesday, Sept. 6, 8:00PM

Hollywood Bowl.

2301 North Highland Avenue. Hollywood, CA 90068. Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Itzhak Perlman, violin/conductor. Beethoven: Two Romances, Symphony No. 8 For more information, call (323).850.2000 or visit: http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/


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Review- Noel Coward’s “Private Lives”

Noel Coward’s “Private Lives”– Just How Private?

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

In the International City Theater’s light-hearted production of “Private Lives,” divorced couple Elyot and Amanda cannot seem to live with-or without- each another. Caroline Kinsolving embodied the headstrong, alluring Amanda while Freddy Douglass portrayed the witty, brooding Elyot Chase. The glamorous costumes and music in the ICT production enhanced the accidental reunion of the jet-setting pair in Deauville, France. Elyot and Amanda go from loving each other one minute to throwing barbs (and records) at each other the next. Adam J. Smith‘s sensitive performance as Amanda’s caring second husband Victor infused a dose of integrity to the chaos; despite being ditched by the runaway bride, he returned to ensure her safety. Underneath the veneer of biting wit and tumultuous emotions, one could not help but feel that something was missing- not from ICT’s production- but from Coward’s play itself. Looking at the play from a historical perspective, Mr. Coward was a homosexual at a time in which he would have been jailed had his private life been made public. Had Elyot and Amanda been gay characters, many of the play’s scenes would have made more sense and had more depth. For instance, Elyot’s affectionate young bride, Sibyl (Jennice Butler) begs him three times on their honeymoon to kiss her; he forces himself to do so reluctantly. Later, when accused of being too flippant, Elyot retorts that his flippancy masks deeper emotions. Perhaps the flippancy of Coward’s lines also masked a more complex subtext. But, Coward was no coward. His predecessor Oscar Wilde died in prison when his private life was revealed.  Private Lives proves that in the 1930′s England one could only go so far in exploring the truly private.

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Cultural Events this weekend in LA: Aug 26, 27, 28

Noel Coward’s “Private Lives

Fri. Aug 26 (Opening Night) + Sat. Aug 27 8pm.

Sun Aug 28 2pm. Directed by Luke Yankee. Featuring Jennice Butler, Wendy Cutler, Freddy Douglas, Caroline Kinsolving, Adam J. Smith. INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE Long Beach Performing Arts Center.300 East Ocean Blvd. Long Beach CA 90802 For information on tickets and show times,  For information on tickets and show times, please call (562) 436-4610 or visit: www.InternationalCityTheatre.org  Photo by: C. Delgado

Saturdays off the 405- Getty Museum- party

Sat, Aug. 27 6:00

Music: Charles Bradley and DJ Clifton Free Spotlight after Dark tours in the galleries at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. Getty Center. 1200 Getty Center Drive. LA, CA. 90049. (310) 440-7300 http://www.getty.edu/

LACMA- Daniel Rothmuller (cello) and Bernadene Blaha (piano)

Sun. August 28 6 pm Chopin: Sonata, Opus 65, and Brahms: Sonata in E minor, Opus 38 Bing Theater.   FREE, no reservations. LACMA• 5905 Wilshire Blvd. LA, CA,

http://www.lacma.org/

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Film Review: Mozart’s Sister- now playing in Los Angeles and New York

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Mozart’s Sister, directed by René Féret,  presents a behind-the-scenes look at the life of the Mozart family: ambitious patriarch Leopold, his doting wife Anna-Maria, and his gifted children Woofgang and Nannerl (played by Feret’s daughter, Marie). The film contrasts the exterior aspect of the musical family, including the children’s performances at court with an interior portrait of a family who engages in pillow fights at bed-time, and more sinisterly, the unyielding favoritism that Leopold showed his young son. The rigid Leopold squelches his young daughter’s talents by not only refusing her an education, but by falsely telling her that her compositions (which he passes off as those of Wolfgang) lack merit. The mistreatment of Nannerl was not unusual at the time.  In his book “The Other Mendelssohn,” Larry Todd describes the life of another talented and relatively unknown composer, Fanny Mendelssohn, sister of Felix.

It is fitting that the talented young Nannerl composes pieces in a minor key. Melancholy permeates her character, and the dark cinematography symbolises the shadows to which she is relegated.

A dose of light-hearted Shakespearean cross-dressing adds a dose of intrigue, and Nannerl’s new found chum Princess Louise (played with vivacity by Feret’s real life sister, Lisa) allows a flower of friendship to flourish between two passionate young women confined by the walls of the court, the church, and their fathers.

Photo: Real Life Sisters Lisa Feret and Marie Feret, playing Louise De France and Nannerl Mozart

For trailers and showtimes, please see:

http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/mozartssister/

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Cultural Events LA- Aug 19, 20, 21

This week’s Cultural Cocktail recipe includes two doses of Beethoven blended with Pacific Asia Fusion, and topped with Mozart- not on the rocks, but on the lawn of the Huntington library- enjoy!

Beethoven’s Ninth- Hollywood Bowl

Thurs, August 18, 8:00PM  Los Angeles Philharmonic

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor

Jeremy Denk, piano;  Los Angeles Master Chorale

Beethoven’s Ninth and Choral Fantasy

2301 North Highland Ave. Hollywood, CA, 90068. 323.850.2000

http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/

Fusion Fridays-

Pacific Asia Museum

Fri. Aug. 19 7:30-10:30pm

Island Style Grand Finale

Polynesian dance in the courtyard, classic Hawaiian music by Moana in the upstairs lounge.

Free for members, $15 for non-members.

46 North Los Robles Avenue. Pasadena, CA 91101-2071(626) 449-5269

For more information, please visit: http://www.pacificasiamuseum.org/

Southwest Chamber Music Festival

Sat. Aug 20 and Sun. Aug 21- 7:30 p.m

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Quintet for Horn and Strings, K. 407; Wadada Leo Smith

Ten Thousand Cereus Peruvianus for Harp and String Quartet

Mozart: String Quintet No. 6, K. 614

Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. 1151 Oxford Road. San Marino, CA, 91108

http://www.swmusic.org/ 

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