October is Genre-bending Opera Month: Pauline, Einstein at the Beach, Invisible Cities

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For those who like their arias served up with experimental architecture, technology and music, this is the month for you, with three operas coming up that play with the genre in highly imaginative ways: Pauline, Einstein at the Beach, Invisible Cities.


Architects Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena are as passionate about opera as they are about their profession. So they’ve combined the two in producing Pauline, a chamber opera inspired by the story behind the venue for the performance, Schindler House. An important modernist landmark, Schindler House, now the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, LA, is the culmination of both Rudolph Schindler’s architectural prowess and his wife Pauline’s radical social beliefs.

DnA ran into Frank and Ravi recently and they emphasized that this production (preview image, above) will remind us just how important Pauline Schindler was in the creation of the house and its cultural activities. In their chamber opera, Escher and GuneWardena will draw on passages by a number of composers that Pauline Schindler wrote about or corresponded with — among them Sergej Prokofiev, Edgar Varese, Henry Cowell and John Cage — and weave them together with texts from the Schindler Archive.

The opera coincides with the opening of an exhibition, A Little Joy of a Bungalow, a program of site-specific installations by Molly Corey and Andrea Lenardin-Madden that also examine the experience of the Schindler House through Pauline Schindler’s biography and legacy.

Sunday October 13, 2013 4:30 PM

Schindler House
835 N Kings Rd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Click here for tickets

Einstein at the Beach

Einstein at the Beach, the 1976 Opera by Robert Wilson and Philip Glass, will be coming to L.A. in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion October 11-13th. LA Opera’s web site describes it as “non-narrative,” arousing, “a childlike sense of wonder, making the strange familiar—and the familiar strange ” through the use of “episodic and exhilarating collage of dreamlike images.”
And the LA Times fashion critic Booth Moore writes that the avant-garde opera “hit the fashion radar last year when it was one of the inspirations for Marc Jacobs’ monumental spring-summer 2013 Louis Vuitton show, a moving spectacle of ordered geometry.” She says that Jacobs’ show “was elegantly choreographed with models in pairs, dressed in column-like silhouettes with neat-and-tidy graphic checks, descending and ascending escalators on the runway.” Testimony to the pop culture reach of opera, even though the opera-going community is small.

October 11 — October 13

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Click here for tickets

Invisible Cities

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Like Pauline, Invisible Cities is an opera that will take place in an L.A. architectural landmark, Union Station. Invisible Cities is the co-creation of some of the rising stars of live performance. It is directed by new opera wunderkind Yuval Sharon, artistic director of The Industry. The  composition and adaptation is by Christopher Cerrone and dancers from Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project will perform a site-specific new choreography by the LA-based Danielle Agami.

The station will remain open during each performance, and in order to drown out the hustle and bustle of the train commuters, Sennheiser will provide the technology to allow Invisible Cities to become the first large scale opera to use wireless headphones.

According to Sharon, “The opera will function as an invisible layer of everyday life, and every audience member will have a different, radically subjective experience of the opera. . . it’s an ideal way to bring Calvino’s masterpiece to life and to hear Chris’s quiet, haunting original score—all while celebrating a landmark of L.A.’s architecture.”

Listen to Yuval Sharon talk about the opera on Which Way LA, below.

October 19th- November 8th

Union Station
800 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Click here for tickets