Following an unprecedented year and a half of wildly popular online watch parties, drive-in U.S. premieres, and the first in-person performance to return in all of LA County, Pacific Opera Project (POP) opens its 2021-2022 season at The Ford Amphitheatre, located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Los Angeles, , on Friday, Aug. 27 at 8 p.m. with a one-night performance of La Cenerentola, Rossini’s charming take on the Cinderella story.
In partnership with the LA Philharmonic, the opera will be sung in Italian with English subtitles, performed with a 25-piece orchestra led by Kristin Roach, with the entire season led by POP’s Director/Designer Josh Shaw. Tickets run $20-$80 and may be purchased online at http://bit.ly/POPCenerentola.
In this version of the fairytale, the wicked stepmother is a stepfather, Don Magnifico (E. Scott Levin), and Cenerentola (Stephanie Doche) is forced to serve as the maid in her own home. Prince Ramiro (South Bay resident Arnold Livingston Geis) is looking for a bride so he disguises his valet Dandini (Joel Balzun) as a beggar and Cenerentola shows him kindness, proving her good heartedness. After refusing to fall for the wiles of Cenerentola’s step-sisters and stepfather, Ramiro wins her heart with a matching bracelet and they marry. The cast also includes Andrew Allan Hiers as Alidoro, Meagan Martin as Tisbe, and Chelsea Lehnea as Clorinda.
POP will then return to one of its favorite venues, Forest Lawn Glendale, located at 1712 S Glendale Ave., Glendale, for an outdoor, family-friendly production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 14 at 5 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 20 at 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 at 5 p.m. Sung in English with orchestra, the Grimm brothers-inspired fairytale will feature Erin Alford as Hansel and Emily Rosenberg as Gretel. With a 2-hour runtime and a 5 p.m. curtain, this is the perfect introduction to opera for children and families, with table seating available for picnicking before and during the show.
Next year, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta comes to the 800-seat Aratani Theatre at 244 San Pedro St. in Los Angeles, CA 90012, on Sunday, March 20, 2022 at 3 p.m.; Saturday, March 26, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 27, 2022 at 3 p.m., performed with a 32-piece orchestra led by Isaac Selya of Queen City Opera, and will feature Cristina Jones, dubbed The Blind Soprano, starring in the opera’s title role about a princess who is unaware that she is blind. The cast also includes POP favorites Andrew and Megan Potter as King René and Martha and Adam Cioffari as Ibn-Hakia. POP will partner with low-sight organizations for this production to encourage awareness and to amplify their efforts. Iolanta will be POP’s first opera presented in Russian and will be the Los Angeles staged premiere of the opera. Tickets will be available on August 27 at www.pacificoperaproject.com/iolanta.
The season closes with Sondheim’s popular Tony Award-winning musical Into the Woods which takes favorite fairytale characters and brings them together in a timeless, yet relevant piece. It’s the perfect way to end POP’s fairytale season! Performances will take place in May 2022 with specific dates and venues to be announced.
Along with its award-winning operas, POP has been dedicated to reaching young audiences with performance and education since its inception, regularly performing for school-aged groups in family-friendly productions of The Mikado, The Barber of Seville, Sweeney Todd, Cosi fan tutte, Gianni Schicchi, L’enfant et les sortilèges, and La bohème. Learn more about POP and its programs at www.pacificoperaproject.com