Long Beach Opera Opens 2015 Season with Los Angeles Premiere of Thérèse Raquin
2015-01-07 · By Editor
Long Beach Opera’s 2015 Season of “Desire. Passion. Corruption” opens with the Los Angeles Premiere of composer Tobias Picker’s sensual adaptation of Émile Zola’s novel, Thérèse Raquin. LBO’s new production takes place January 24 and February 1, 2015 at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro.
Thérèse Raquin is based on the book of the same name by French writer Émile Zola. Called putrid and pornographic when it was first published in1867, it brought the 27 year-old Zola fame and notoriety for going beyond the bounds of all that was held to be morally acceptable at the time. An uninhibited portrayal of adultery, madness and ghostly revenge, the story is also a devastating exploration of the darkest aspects of human existence.
Thérèse, trapped in a loveless marriage, escapes into a passionate affair. She soon decides with her lover that the hindering husband must disappear. Shortly after his death, the two lovers are driven by their guilt into madness and despair. “The novel exudes opera from every page,” explains Picker. “Everything about it is operatic. I felt myself becoming involved in the characters’ intense emotions. I view them as real people with extremely serious conflicts. For me, the ‘animal side’ of the characters is what makes them so deeply human.”
Mary Ann Stewart, called “a major operatic talent” by The Washington Post, debuts at LBO in the title role. Ed Parks, praised by Opera News for his “warm, velvety baritone” at the Metropolitan Opera, makes his LBO debut as the fateful lover. Matthew DiBattista, recently heard at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, returns to LBO as the betrayed husband. Thérèse Raquin marks LBO’s third co-production with Chicago Opera Theater (COT), also under the directorship of Andreas Mitisek. The first, Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher, opened LBO’s 2013 season and Ellington’s Queenie Pie, kicked off the 2014 season.
“Picker’s music elevates the story into a passionate, soaring music drama of the best kind, always close to the emotional state of the protagonists,” states Mitisek, who will be conducting the performances.
Director Ken Cazan returns to LBO, where he previously staged LBO’s acclaimed production of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher. “This, almost more than any opera I have ever worked on, feels like a play with music,” notes Cazan. “There is not one character in the novel who is defensible as a human being…the ensuing guilt that both lovers feel and their sham of a marriage makes for great and sad drama.”
Venue: Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th Street, San Pedro, CA. 90731
Saturday, January 24, at 8:00 pm
Sunday, February 1, at 2:30 pm
Opera Talks with Artistic and General Director Mitisek one hour before performances
- Thérèse Raquin: Mary Ann Stewart
- Camille Raquin: Matthew DiBattista
- Mme. Lisette Raquin: Suzan Hanson
- Laurent: Ed Parks
- Suzanne: Ani Maldjian
- Olivier: Zeffin Quinn Hollis
- Monsieur Grivet: John Matthew Myers
- Conductor: Andreas Mitisek
- Stage Director: Ken Cazan
- Lighting Design: David Jacques
- Set Design: Alan E. Muraoka
- Costume Design: Jacqueline Saint-Anne
TICKETS: Prices range from $29 to $160. Reduced prices are offered to subscribers. First-time subscribers receive a 50% discount on season tickets. Tickets can be purchased by calling LBO Ticket Services at 562-432-5934 or by going online to LBO’s website: www.longbeachopera.org/tickets