Alice’s Adventures in Opera

Another big anniversary this year is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!  What better way for us to celebrate than with Unsuk Chin‘s opera Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?  Below, the Mad Tea Party scene performed by the Seoul Philharmonic:

The Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrated this sesquicentennial with a staged performance in collaboration with the Los Angeles Opera.  This was the work’s belated LA premiere, since the LA Opera was one of the original commissioners of the piece, which ultimately premiered at the Munich Opera Festival in 2007.

Photo by Lawrence K. Ho for Los Angeles Philharmonic

Photo by Lawrence K. Ho for Los Angeles Philharmonic

The reviews I’ve read have been excellent, which is pleasantly surprising as I’ve heard mixed things about the opera with its bristly, modern musical language and elliptical, playfully obtuse libretto by David Henry Hwang.

The production, by English director Netia Jones, matched that darker tone by animating illustrations from British satirist Ralph Steadman‘s 1972 edition of the book.  Jones has used this technique with the LA Phil before, animating Maurice Sendak’s own Where the Wild Things Are illustrations for a performance of Oliver Knussen‘s operatic adaptation of that work.

At any rate, an interesting recent development is that the Royal Opera House in London has commissioned a sequel opera by the same team of Chin and Hwang, based on Through the Looking Glass!  This is scheduled for the 2018/2019 season, so I wonder if that will add fire to the second wind that Wonderland seems to be having…

Opera Fundraiser

The financial woes of New York City Opera raise their head again, with the news that if they cannot raise $20 million by year’s end, they may have to cancel most of this season and all of the next.

NYCO 13/14 Season

Towards this goal, they’ve launched their very own KickStarter campaign, hoping to raise $1 million by the end of this month.  It just started Sunday, and as of this writing they’re 2% of the way there…

Not sure what the most money raised on KickStarter has been (maybe $7 million for a high tech watch?), but $1 million seems ambitious…

I guess this is as good a time as any to share this neat video on NYCO‘s education initiatives, staging operas for New York School kids and sending artists to the schools as well.  This past year they put on Unsuk Chin‘s 2007 Alice in Wonderland, a very modern work, but i like that some kids’ first exposure to the “stuffy” medium of opera is something so unexpected…


New York City Opera’s Opera is Elementary 2013 from New York City Opera on Vimeo.

This season’s planned opera is Tobias Picker‘s Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the book by Roald Dahl.  I actually saw this in its world premiere at the Los Angeles Opera in 1998!  For more on the work, visit Picker’s page on it.

Fantastic Mr. Fox at LA Opera

Tobias Picker with cast members of Fantastic Mr. Fox at LA Opera, 1998

Once again, here’s the KickStarter, in case you’re feeling generous…  Also, NYCO & BAM’s presentation of Anna Nicole starts next week, so hurry and grab whatever tickets may remain!