By Jean Strauber, Entertainment Editor
LA OPERA OPENS 2011/2012 SEASON
Placido Domingo, LA Opera’s Elie and Edythe Broad General Director, has announced that LA Opera will open its 2011/2012 season with the company premiere of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” on Saturday, September 17, 2011. The performance will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. J
ames Conlon conducts all six performances with a cast including Slovakian baritone Dalibor Jenis (Onegin) and Polish soprano Oksana Dyka (Tatiana) who will be making their LA Opera debuts. Also featured are Russian mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Semenchik (Olga) with Russian tenor Vsevolvod Grivnov making his Company debut as Lensky. American bass James Creswell returns to the company as Prince Gremin.
The opera “Eugene Onegin” is based on the verse novel, Eugene Onegin, by Alexander Pushkin, one of Russia’s most respected writers. Tchaikovsky composed the score and also wrote the libretto of this opera in collaboration with poet Konstantin Shilovsky, creating a storyline of how a naive girl’s letter to an arrogant gentleman set off an unstoppable series of events, leading to a chilling duel and the end of a love affair that was never meant to be. Francesca Gilpin will stage the opera that was originally created by the late director Steven Pimlott in 2006 for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
The opening night performance will be broadcast live on Classical KUSC 91.5 FM as part of the “LA Opera on Air” radio series and will be cohosted by Duff Murphy and Kimberlea Daggy. For the schedule and ticket prices, visit www.laopera. com. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is located at 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012. Phone (213) 972-8001.
CONCERTS & MOVIES ON THE GREEN
Saturday August 27 and Sunday August 28 will see the final Summer 2011 Concerts and Films on the Green at Warner Center Park sponsored by the Valley Cultural Center. At dusk on Saturday night, August 27 will find pinickers and their families seated comfortably on blankets or lawn chairs while watching Johnny Depp star in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic supper or purchase food from the many food vendors.
A pre-show will begin at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, August 28 at 6:00 p.m. the Brass Transit will bring its world-class horn and rocking rhythm sections to the Concert on the Green stage, as the band transports its audience back to the freewheeling days of the seventies. The program will include music from such greats as The Drifters, Sam & Dave, Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, Little Anthony & The Imperials and The Mammas and The Papas. Various community organizations will have booths to hand out free literature. You’re always welcome to stop by and chat.
MUSIC ON THE MAIN
Thursday, August 25th, the Descanso Gardens will host renowned jazz vocalist Denise Donatelli, who is known for her warm vocals and eclectic taste in music. Donatelli will perform in the last concert of the Music on the Main summer jazz series beginning at 5:30 p.m. Garden visitors are welcome to bring their own blankets or lawn chairs as well as a picnic supper.
For those more inclined to purchase food, the Camellia Lounge which features signature cocktails and light food fair will be open from 3 -8 p.m. Admission to the concert is free with Gardens admission: $8 adults, $6 senior/students, $3 children 5-12, and FREE to children under 4. For more information go to www. descansogardens.org or call (818) 949-4200. The Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada Flintridge, near the interchange of the 2 and the 210 Freeways.
THE FORD THEATRE Coming to the Ford Aamphitheatre is the “Big! World! Fun!” program of American/Cajun/Zydeco rhythms and original songs on Saturday August 27, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. Grammy nominee Lisa-Hayley and the Zydekats will present their special brand of Americana/Louisiana/Pop/ Folk music that will be fun for the whole family to enjoy and sing along to.
Just for the family, Hayley and the Zydekats will perform contemporary Louisiana music and 120-year-old traditional Cajun and Zydeco songs as they blend education with rollicking entertainment, teaching their audience about the rich history of Louisiana/ Americana migration. At 9:00 a.m. there will be pre-show activity of creating alligator puppets with the help of the Art 2 Go staff. Then, at 10 a.m. the Big! World! Fun! performances will take place in the Ford’s shaded outdoor amphitheatre. Admission is free for children and $5 for adults. Parking is only $1 per vehicle. To reserve or purchase tickets call the Ford Box Office at (323) 461-3673 or visit www. FordTheatres.org
LABOR DAY SUNDAY AT THE BOWL
Coming to the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday, September 4th is the annual “The Big Picture” movie and concert. This year will see the American Film Institute presenting the AFI’s Great American Movie Quiz with Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek, who will host the evening program which begins at 7:30 p.m. The audience will be invited to participate in this first-time partnership between the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and the American Film Institute.
Mr. Trebek, winner of five Daytime Emmy Awards as Outstanding Game Show Host, will take the audience through 20 multiple choice questions. The questions will cover film trivia from every genre and decade. The audience will be furnished a set of multi colored glow sticks and will use the sticks to reveal their answers. Questions about the movies and music will be answered live by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by one ofHollywood’s foremost film composers and conductors, David Newman.
For more information visit www.hollywoodbowl.com. Ticket prices range fromm $11-$122 and are onsale at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office Tuesday-Sunday, via credit card phone order at (323) 850-2000 or through Ticketmaster.
While visiting my cousin in Detroit, we took in a couple of movies. One, being The Help and the other Sarah’s Key. For those of you few who may not have read the book, “The Help” is a story of a young girl, Skeeter Phelan, who in her attempt to write a daring book to please a book editor in a New York publishing firm, gets the maid (Aibileen Clark played by Viola Davis) of a friend to share stories of her life as a black maid cleaning up after white people and taking care of their children in the early 1960’s.
During the writing of the book, more and more maids come to Skeeter and Aibileen to share their stories, among them being Aibileen’s friend Minny who is well-known for her baking. Tate Taylor, a childhood friend of the author Kathryn Stockett, brings his knowledge of the southern mores and codes, in exacting outstanding performances from his cast.
Emma Stone is perfect as Skeeter as we see the transformation into someone who is not only recording what these ladies are sharing with her but becoming emotionally involved with their situation in a “separate but equal” cruelty society of the early-to-mid 1960’s. Bryce Dallas Howard is also outstanding as Hilly Holbrook, the town’s snooty social arbiter, Jessica Chastain as Celia, Minny’s new employer, and Sissy Spacek in a small but stand-out role as Hilly’s mother. “Sarah’s Key” stars Kristin Scott Thomas in the role of an American journalist (Julia Jarmond) living inParis whose husband inherits an apartment once occupied by Jews who were rounded up and sent to concentration camps in World War II. Julia investigates what happened in the past and the film is her story as well as the story of the young girl (Sarah) who lived in the apartment. Melusine Mayance as the young Sarah is deserving of an Oscar nomination in this pivotal role, as is Thomas. Both films were well-done and I encourage one and all to see them