Are you in Southern California? Want to meet Armed Liberal and TG and be amazed by some culture while you’re doing it?
In my spare time, I am on the board of the Long Beach Opera – a local avant-garde opera company – “an edgy, endlessly creative little company,” as the Orange County Register puts it.
Saturday June 11, at 2 and 8pm they will present their production of Kurt Weill & Berthold Brecht’s “Threepenny Opera.” Sunday at 2pm, they will present Handel’s “Semele.”
Their season so far has been great – and don’t believe me just because I’m on the board.
The L.A. Times’ Marc Swed on Semele:
“Handel’s opera (first given as an oratorio only because the opera business wasn’t so good in 1744) is a morality tale. And in this brilliantly bratty, cynically clever production, mean Texas oilmen and their vain women who thought themselves godlike are shown, in fact, to be gods and goddesses — the vainglorious ones of Greek myth.”
OC Register on Semele:
“Long Beach Opera, an edgy, endlessly creative little company, has gone and done what would seem impossible. It has taken Handel’s 1744 opera/oratorio “Semele,” with its superannuated libretto by William Congreve involving battling gods, the mortals who get in their way and rhyming couplets, and turned it into “Dallas” with better music. What could have been an endless evening of secco recitatives and da capo arias in pretty costumes – and characters exchanging such Yoda-esque pith as “O Prodigy, to me of dire Portent!,” “To me, I hope, of fortunate Event” – becomes an evening of clever, amusing and compelling theater that keeps a viewer guessing what will happen next.”
Patterico joined us at a performance of Winterreisse, and called it “…a performance that really, really worked — due in large part to Werner’s charismatic performance, as well as his excellent voice.”
“…the result is a musical drama, not quite perhaps an opera, of stunning musical and dramatic beauty, presented in a refined, simple and effective production that used subtle lighting, minimalist furnishing and props and Schubert’s extraordinarily beautiful music to tell a story of grand passion, sadness, loneliness and grief. Two performances remain this week, and if you are the kind of music lover who wants to see history in the making, this is your chance.”
But enough appeals to authority. I’ve been a fan of LBO’s for almost ten years, and find that everything they’ve done has been imaginative and surprising – the opposite of the boring opera that so many expect and too often get at the mainstream opera houses.
Come out Saturday night and see Threepenny Opera or Sunday afternoon and see Semele and meet me and TG.
Call the Carpenter Center box office at (562) 985-7000.
Brave the 405. Come out and see some opera that will surprise you.
Leave a comment or drop an email if you’re thinking of coming out.