By Gayle Kirschbaum
“I think what fascinates me about it is the fact that it seems like a very simple opera, but practically speaking, it’s not a simple opera…Or an easy one.”
So says John Neumeier, director, designer and choreographer, in the September 2017 issue of Opera News, describing the production of Orphée et Eurydice that he would eventually bring to LA Opera.
I love that quote because it so succinctly crystalizes a universal truth about opera. When we witness control and eloquence in acting, movement and singing on the stage, it seems as if those skills were magically placed there from the outset. However, we Opera Leaguers are acutely aware of immense efforts involved from inception to sublime performance. Those of you who volunteer at our cast dinners literally come face to face with the cast and crew as they show up hungry and bedecked in their characters’ garb.
Whether at a cast dinner or a dress rehearsal, we are ever cognizant of the intense demands of the operatic repertoire, of the interminable patience and persistence of musicians and singers repeating measure after measure of the score until they’ve tamed and mastered it. Witnessing that journey can be just as thrilling and fulfilling as taking in the final destination on opening night.
That brings us to our story on Morris Robinson. What a journey he has had! The former football player headlined LA Opera’s production of Nabucco and will star in the season closer, Rigoletto. I am thrilled you will have the opportunity to watch Morris coach Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists at the Opera League’s annual Master Class on May 23. We love to follow the paths of these rapidly up-and-coming artists as they progress within the operatic world, and on May 23 we get to witness Morris serving as their guide. This is one Master Class not to be missed! But first, check out Gary Murphy’s insightful interview so you can learn more about one of the most fascinating bassos working in opera today.
Of course, volunteering with the Opera League can be a journey. The events we provide for our members, for LA Opera and for the community happen because of the camaraderie and devotion of many dedicated volunteers. It takes countless hours of preparation and execution to bring you even one seminar, or Saturday Morning at the Opera, salon, recital, or BRAVO. That is why on May 30 we will bring you our Volunteer Appreciation event, to honor those dedicated Leaguers who volunteer a minimum of twenty hours a season. And as a bonus, we’ll have the privilege of interviewing Opera League co-founder Alice Coloumbe. I can never say this enough: Neither the Opera League nor indeed LA Opera could do what we do without you. This has been true since the days when Alice was running the show.
HUGE THANKS to all of you who turned out for our Hemmings Gala on April 7 to honor Mindy and Gene Stein, the “Stein” of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist program. As in previous years, proceeds from Hemmings go straight to LA Opera’s Opera Camp, the annual summer program that trains and captivates young and budding performers.
We now have a gift membership page! Assuming you're logged in, you’ll see it linked in the My Membership dropdown menu. I encourage you to give a friend, colleague or loved one a gift of an Opera League membership so they, too, can share in our rich programming.
By the way, don’t forget to follow the Opera League of Los Angeles on Facebook. Just click here and click the Like button on our Facebook page.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alma Guzman