LA Opera Announces an Updated Season, Including a Virtual Staging of Breaking the Waves

Peter Feher on November 23, 2020
Kiera Duffy in the world-premiere production of Breaking the Waves | Credit: Dominic M. Mercier

After the rollout of a successful streaming production, Los Angeles Opera is looking to the rest of its 2020–2021 season. The company announced Wednesday that it is shelving most of its remaining performances: Don Giovanni in January and February, Aida in May and June. The Opera joins other L.A. organizations in canceling in-person performances through the end of the concert season, June 2021.

The one exception: LA Opera is finding a way to go ahead with its staging of Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves, previously on the mainstage schedule for March 2021. That production, now virtual, will be the second big offering from LA Opera’s On Now platform. The first, a streaming performance of Joseph Bologne’s The Anonymous Lover, debuted last weekend.

More spring programming is in the works, including a series of digital shorts and possibly outdoor performances. The company cites these efforts, and On Now in particular, as both a way to stay in touch with audiences and a stable source of employment for staff during the pandemic. LA Opera’s online space, previously under the name LA Opera at Home, was one of the first regular streaming programs from any major American orchestra or opera company.

On the LA Opera schedule for 2022: John Neumeier’s staging of the St. Matthew Passion | Credit: Kiran West

LA Opera has quoted a $31 million loss in revenue after a season and a half of canceled productions. Still, the company is optimistic about the rest of 2021. President and CEO Christopher Koelsch mentions “promising news of effective vaccines” in an official statement from the Opera, and the current plan is to resume a regular season in September 2021.

That upcoming season carries over many postponed performances from 2020–2021. Four previously announced productions — Il trovatore, Tannhaüser, La Cenerentola, and Aida — anchor the mainstage schedule. The big addition is a staging of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, choreographed by John Neumeier and featuring dancers from the Hamburg Ballet, for six performances in March 2022.

Other changes to the calendar include an added pair of recitals by tenor Javier Camarena, a different Handel opera (Alcina, not Tamerlano), and a couple of postponed events on the company’s experimental series, Off Grand.

For a complete and updated season schedule, and for subscription tickets, visit LA Opera’s website.