Mark Morris Dance Group & Music Ensemble
Mark Morris Dance Group & Music Ensemble performs June 9–12 | Credit: Rosalie O'Connor

A new opera by jazz great Wayne Shorter and an innovative production of Beethoven’s Fidelio in which the chorus of prisoners comprises actual inmates are among the highlights of The Broad Stage’s 2022 winter-spring season.

The 499-seat Santa Monica theater has announced 28 concerts and shows it will present from January to June 2022. The season features three Los Angeles premieres — the two operas already mentioned, plus a musical theater work written by and starring Angélique Kidjo — as well as the shared world premiere of an oratorio based on the work of a Sufi mystic poet.

Angélique Kidjo
Angélique Kidjo appears April 14–16 | Credit: Patrick Fouque

“While best-known for concert music, The Broad Stage is fully and technically equipped to do anything — especially the effective staging of new, musically driven work,” said artistic and executive director Rob Bailis, who joined the theater in 2019. “We are entering a robust schedule of commissioning major musical theater and opera premieres.”

Shorter’s Iphigenia will be staged Feb. 17–19, just days after its West Coast premiere at UC Berkeley as part of the Cal Performances series. It will feature a 28-member chamber ensemble; jazz greats Brian Blade, John Patitucci, and Danilo Perez; a 10-person chorus; and a cast of nine led by esperanza spalding, who also wrote the libretto. Scenic design is by Frank Gehry.  

Fidelio, which follows on Feb. 26–27, will be presented by the innovative New York company Heartbeat Opera. Highly acclaimed during its 2018 run in New York City, the production features five singers, seven instrumentalists, and a large chorus on video, which is comprised of members of six prison choruses from four states. Adapted for contemporary times, the staging turns the political prisoner Florestan into a Black activist who has been wrongly incarcerated.

The oratorio The Conference of the Birds, which will be performed June 18 and 19 following its world premiere at Scripps College, is based on the Sufi poet Attar’s classic text about the journey of the soul as it seeks union with the divine. Sung in English, it is a collaboration between composer Fahad Siadat, librettist Sholeh Wolpé and director-choreographer Andée Megerdichian.

Other classical performers on the schedule include the Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orlinski March 10; the Takács Quartet, which will be joined by bandoneon/accordion virtuoso Julien Labro March 19; and pianist Simone Dinnerstein March 27.

Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro
Alan Cumming and Ari Shapiro take the stage Jan. 21–22 in Och & Oy! | Credit: Emilio Madrid

Alan Cumming and former NPR host Ari Shapiro will present the Los Angeles premiere of their cabaret show Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret Jan. 21 and 22. Artemis, an all-female jazz ensemble led by pianist Renee Rosnes, performs June 4.

The dance lineup is highlighted by the Mark Morris Dance Group & Music Ensemble, which perform June 9–12. The critically acclaimed program features three works choreographed by Morris to music of Mozart, which will be performed live.

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