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LA Opera Juggles Its Season Once More

July 28, 2020

Before it even started, the fall season in Los Angeles is coming to an end. Los Angeles Opera announced today that it is postponing performances through 2020. The Opera joins other L.A. ensembles in canceling its fall season in the days after California Governor Gavin Newsom reinstituted shutdown measures across the state.

This is the latest slate of COVID-19–related cancellations LA Opera has had to make, following scrapped performances in May and June. Between cancellations this year and maybe next, the company expects a loss in revenue between $21 million and $31 million.

SFCV spoke to LA Opera President and CEO Christopher Koelsch in June about the company’s vision for reopening. He said then that LA Opera was determined to present a fall season, though with obvious caveats:

“The major challenge right now is how do we get from July through January, since getting back into the hall before the end of the year sounds like science fiction. Whatever we are able to produce, at least until there is a vaccine, is not going to look like what we are used to. Hopefully it will evoke the same feeling.”

To these ends, LA Opera is presenting a refashioned fall schedule online. The lineup includes a virtual gala, digital shorts that showcase the music of contemporary opera composers, and a livestreamed production of L’Amant anonyme (The anonymous lover) by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. (Bologne was the subject of a recent New York Times article lamenting the composer’s sometime epithet, the “Black Mozart.”) That production — Nov. 14, with singers, orchestra, and no audience — is in partnership with the Colburn School, which is also planning a fall curriculum that explores Bologne’s life and works.

These online offerings expand on LA Opera’s digital space, LA Opera at Home, one of the first regular streaming programs from any American orchestra or opera company. Online might not be all, though: There are tentative plans for outdoor performances in the months to come, pandemic restrictions pending.

What would have been LA Opera’s fall season — three mainstage operas at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and one of the company’s Off Grand productions at The Theatre at Ace Hotel — is getting shuffled to next year. As of now, the season picks up with Don Giovanni on Jan. 30, 2021.

Peter Feher is an editor at SFCV. He can be reached at [email protected].

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