The LA Opera may not offer as many operas as some companies in terms of quantity. However when it comes to quality, the company still knows how to bring together some of the most exciting performers in the industry. Here is a look at five stars who need to be seen in the 2017-18 season.
Placido Domingo: Nabucco in Verdi’s Nabucco
To be singing at the age of 76 is already a huge achievement. But to be performing “Nabucco” at Domingo’s age is a clear indication of the tenor’s incredible technique. After doing the role in New York and London, Domingo received praise with critics stating that “Placido Domingo is Still a Rockstar.” This season Los Angeles audiences will once again get a chance to see the tenor in his late career baritone roles and with the great Liudmyla Monastyrska, this will likely be a highlight for the season.
Javier Camarena: Nadir in Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers”
It’s hard to believe that Camarena is still making debuts after becoming a huge star around the world. The lyric tenor had his big breakout in 2014 where he sang Elvino in Bellini’s “La Sonnambula” at the Metropolitan Opera and later surprised audiences in Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” with an encore. Known for his sustained high notes and his exciting stage presence, Camarena has already taken the world by storm and recently even stole the show at the Richard Tucker alongside Lawrence Brownlee with their spontaneity. Now Camarena not only makes his Los Angeles debut but will also make his role debut as Nadir in Bizet’s opera. For LA audiences, this will be a chance to see the tenor’s lyric voice and a chance for the him to try out new repertoire audiences are not usually used to hearing him in.
Ana Maria Martinez: Carmen in Bizet’s “Carmen”
The Spanish gypsy was written for Mezzo and has become one of the iconic roles to sing. However, it is rare to see a soprano take on the iconic role and only a select few have actually done it including Victoria de Los Angeles, Maria Callas and Angela Gheorghiu on recording. LA audiences will now not only get a rare chance to see a soprano in the title role but will also see a Latin American singing the work. Martínez debuted it at the Houston Grand Opera and critics raved that there is no better singer for the role. The soprano brings fiery passion to every work she sings and this will not be the exception.
Irina Lungu: Gilda in Verdi’s “Rigoletto”
Back in 2013 when Lungu made her Metropolitan Opera debut it was expected that she would have a major career in the United States. However, regardless of the rave reviews she obtained from her Gilda at the Met, she never returned to the U.S. Since that debut Lungu has a built a successful career as a coloratura soprano performing with all the great theaters around the world. This season LA audiences will have a rare chance to see the Russian soprano make a return to America.
Nino Machaidze: Leila in Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers”
The Georgian soprano has become one of LA Opera’s favorite singers. With the company she has sung Massenet’s “Thais,” Verdi’s “La Traviata” and Puccini’s “La Bohème.” As a result, it is no surprise that she would be the first choice for Leila. The work contains some of Bizet’s most lyric music and some very dramatic moments. Machaidze has steadily mixed her repertoire with dramatic works such as Verdi’s “Luisa Miller” with lighter coloratura roles such as Rossini’s “Otello” and “Il Turco in Italia.” As Leila, Machaidze will get to show the many facets of her stirring voice.