The 2022 season will establish a bold new vision for the company that seeks to catalyze the issues of our times through the lens of art, embraces alternative leadership models that value diversity and inclusion, creates and explores the collaborative relationships between cinematic and live opera that invite new audiences, and acknowledges that opera has the power to be relevant, provocative, and inspiring. This is an incredibly exciting and precipitous time to be at LBO. All I can say about the coming season with this team is: Prepare to be inspired.Jennifer Rivera, General Director & Chief Executive Officer
We are interested in constant provocation, innovation and a deeper exploration of the exciting intersection between film and opera, orchestral ensembles and opera companies, and programming that stays on the pulse of both the opera world but also pop culture. LBO is searching for new models and new methods to incorporate our collective key values into a “season” that is not just about programming four performance periods--but curating a larger creative forum that is just, equitable and unprecedented. James Darrah, Artistic Director & Chief Creative Officer
This transcendental meditation through music will become a literal feast for the senses in a new production at LBO directed by Alexander Gedeon and conducted by Jenny Wong. Karlheinz Stockhausen, one of the most important and controversial figures in the sphere of contemporary music in the 20th and 21st century, created STIMMUNG for 6 acapella voices to intone a stream of polylinguistics: the names of gods from dozens of religions; the days of the week in myriad languages; pure vowel tones; absurd nonsequiteurs. Stockhausen’s eerie, static, microtonal vocal score is delivered just above a whisper. LBO’s STIMMUNG takes place in a "magical kitchen” in which the audience encircles the six performers at a central table, and the singers will virtuosically prepare a meal for the audience over the hour-long duration of the piece. At the culmination of the performance, singers and the audience alike break bread together.
STIMMUNG offers a chance to reflect on the precariousness and vulnerability of human contact — both the joy and newfound awkwardness of coming together. In STIMMUNG, the identities of audience and performer are reassembled through the prism of communion. It speaks to the heart of WHY we choose live performance, and becomes a testament to its intrinsic value — in the shadow and resonance of collective health crisis and cultural upheaval. STIMMUNG becomes a meditational voyage through multiple cultures: a utopian — albeit imperfect — vision of collective consciousness.
Some of the most beautiful and famous music from the operatic canon becomes the landscape for this fierce social satire of sex, activism, and the performance of everyday life. Music from Giusseppe Verdi’s operas La Traviata and Don Carlo, and Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice are repurposed and refashioned into a 25-minute short film that follows a starry-eyed young couple as their night on the town unravels into a surrealist swirl of decadence, intrigue and, ultimately, vengeful justice.
The short film, a co-production with Heartbeat Opera in New York City and creatively produced by LBO’s own Derrell Acon, will be screened as is, and then followed by a second presentation that features live composer-performers actively disrupting and reconstituting the music from the score for a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience. No two performances will be the same, as the ending will change with each iteration of the live performances, and audiences will be challenged to re-examine their perceptions of art and its role in societal transformation.
Directed by LBO’s new Artistic Director and visionary James Darrah, George Frideric Handel’s glorious music and surprisingly relevant drama re-emerges as a site specific, cinematically driven, wildy raucous contemporary party. A story of ill-fated romance, long lost familial relationships and conquerors and their captors, LBO’s GIUSTINO will elevate the ambiguities of gender already present in baroque opera and examine how stereotypes can be shattered even in the most traditional stories. Darrah’s breakthrough stylistic hybrid of cinema-theater recontextualizes the salon-like qualities of Handel’s 18th century work to a transitory, temporal space, further challenging the current norms of 21st century classical music consumption.
The libretto and score will be taken apart and reassembled by Darrah, conductor Christopher Rountree, and exciting young composer Shelley Washington, and will be performed with both authentic baroque specialists as well as contemporary musical and dramatic updates. The action of the scenes will move amongst the audience and to different parts of the location, and will be live-filmed to create a movie within an opera playing at all times. And just as spectators did during the time of Handel, the audience will be encouraged to truly revel in the decadence and transcendence of Handel’s glorious music without the trappings of traditional, staid classical music performances.
Back by popular demand and increasing societal relevance, THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE will return to Long Beach Opera in a brand new production directed by Juilliard-trained actor / director and star of Apple TV’s “The Morning Show” Desean Terry. The harrowing account of five teenagers wrongfully convicted, incarcerated and eventually exonerated remains a devastatingly relevant indictment on racial injustices in America. LBO’s 2019 world premiere of the opera brought composer and “national treasure” (Opera News) Anthony Davis additional recognition when the score was selected for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Music. “Davis’ supercharged score grippingly conveys the claustrophobia of a racist legal system and society from which there was, for these five innocent boys and their families, no exit.” (Los Angeles Times).
After the critical acclaim of the world premiere and the collective awakening of the Black Lives Matter movement, LBO brings back this important, lauded work in a brand new production, featuring many of the original cast members along with some new additions. Terry’s new production of THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE will reinvigorate the story of five innocent Black teenagers trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare of the American criminal justice system.
This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. Learn more at cac.ca.gov
Supported in part by a grant from the Arts Council for Long Beach and the City of Long Beach.
Long Beach Opera events are supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission