Artwork for LA Opera’s The Three Women of Jerusalem
Artwork for LA Opera’s The Three Women of Jerusalem

Los Angeles Opera is taking a spiritual turn this month. The company returns to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion March 12 with its first production of 2022, a staging of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, featuring dancers from the Hamburg Ballet. Then, next week, LA Opera artists give the world premiere of another work on a religious theme.

Part of the Passion narrative is again the source material for Carla Lucero’s The Three Women of Jerusalem (Las tres mujeres de Jerusalén). The Spanish-language opera, for which Lucero wrote both music and libretto, has the women who weep for Jesus tell the story. Music Director James Conlon leads these first performances March 19 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles.

Tickets are free, part of the community model LA Opera is pursuing in every aspect of this project, directed by Eli Villanueva. The company’s professional performers, including singers in its Young Artist Program and members of the LA Opera Orchestra, will take the stage with amateur musicians of all ages for a combined cast of hundreds. More cast members will join virtually, via prerecorded videos that become part of the production. And the opera itself ends on unified note, in a hymn inviting the audience to join in singing.

The Three Women of Jerusalem is the first in a five-opera cycle the company is calling “The Song of Los Angeles.” More community productions will follow, celebrating the city in the build-up to the 2028 Summer Olympics. The next new work, Nathan Wang and Lisa See’s On Gold Mountain, also debuts this year, May 5 at The Huntington.

Find free tickets for the March 19 performances, at 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and more information on LA Opera’s website.

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