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James Conlon leads LA Opera’s West Coast premiere of 'The Ghosts of Versailles'

Music Director James Conlon and LA Opera launch Figaro Unbound: Culture, Power, and Revolution at Play, a three-month celebration of the French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais that centers on three operas based on the adventures of Figaro as originally told in Beaumarchais’s series of three stage comedies.

LA Opera’s new production and West Coast premiere of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, the first in the series of three operas, opens Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Subsequent performances take place on Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.; Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.

LA Opera’s first full-scale production in this century of John Corigliano’s grand opera buffa, is one of the most acclaimed operas of our time. Extravagantly scaled, magnificently tuneful, superlatively touching and yet uproariously entertaining, The Ghosts of Versailles turns Marie Antoinette’s destiny in several directions as love attempts to alter the course of history. The story centers on the ghost of Marie Antoinette who is trapped in the spirit world and is bitterly reflecting on her final suffering. Her favorite playwright tries to entertain the melancholy queen with the continuing adventures of his beloved characters from The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro. But Figaro refuses to play by the script, breaking free from the opera-within-the-opera in a surprise bid for a better life.

This new production of John Corigliano’s opera The Ghosts of Versailles, based on Beaumarchais’s La Mère coupable (The Guilty Mother), features soprano Patricia Racette as Marie Antoinette and two-time Tony Award-winner Patti LuPone in the mezzo-soprano role of Turkish singer Samira. Darko Tresnjak, who won the 2014 Tony Award for directing A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, returns to LA Opera to stage this production. The original production of Corigliano’s opera, with a libretto by William M. Hoffman, premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1991.

The subsequent operas in LA Opera’s Figaro trilogy are Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, based on the Beaumarchais play Le Barbier de Séville ou la Précaution inutile (The Barber of Seville or the Useless Precaution), and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, based on the Beaumarchais play La folle journée, ou le Mariage de Figaro (The Mad Day, or the Marriage of Figaro). By presenting the trilogy, LA Opera aims to immerse audiences in the world of the free-thinking barber named Figaro, the fictional character who created a sensation in the years leading up to the French Revolution, and to investigate the lasting influence of Beaumarchais’s Figaro plays, which capture the changing social attitudes of late-18th-century France. Running time is approximately three hours and 20 minutes including one intermission. Programs, artists and dates subject to change. For more information, please visit the LA Opera website

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