On May 21 – 23, 2021 at 8:00 pm, The Long Beach Opera (LBO) returns to in-person performance with the presentation of renowned composer Philip Glass’s opera Les Enfants Terribles. The production will take place at the rooftop garage at 2nd Street and Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach. Les Enfants Terribles will by directed by LBO’s newest Artistic Director and Chief Officer, James Darrah; conducted by Music Director, curator, composer, and orchestra founder Christopher Rountree; and feature new choreography by Los Angeles based director, choreographer, educator, and performer Chris Emile. The cast features LBO debuts for baritone Edward Nelson as Paul, soprano Anna Schubert as Elisabeth, and mezzo soprano Sarah Beaty as Dargelos / Agathe and a return by tenor Orson Van Gay as Gerard.
The setting for LBO’s production has been altered to comply with a Covid-safe presentation by reimagining a theater into a live drive-in opera cinematheque and presenting Les Enfants Terribles on the roof of the parking garage of the marina adjacent shopping center in Long Beach. Audience members will remain in their vehicles while the singers and dancers move throughout the space, with live and pre-recorded video design enhancing the production.
Les Enfants Terribles (1996), performed in French with English subtitles, is the final piece of Glass’s trilogy based on the works of Jean Cocteau. LBO’s production is an adaptation of the original production presented at The One Festival at Opera Omaha in 2019. Darrah’s commanding and highly physically version of the opera is said to shed new light on the piece’s conception as a dance opera.
“Darrah achieved an optimal blend of dance and theater that elevated Glass’s opera to a level of clarity and meaning that will undoubtedly enkindle a passion for opera in those in the audience who were new to genre and renew the excitement of those already enthralled.” –Opera News
It was in New York City at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) that I first saw one of Glass’s opera Einstein On the Beach, directed by theatrical producer Robert Wilson with choreography by Lucinda Childs. As with all of Wilson’s productions, I was whisked away to another dimension. Anyone who was fortunate enough to see Wilson’s The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud (1969) will understand.
Glass adapted the libretto for Les Enfants Terribles from the 1929 novel by Jean Cocteau’s novel published by Editions Bernard Grasset and first translated into English by Samuel Putnam in 1930. The story is about two siblings, Elisabeth and Paul, who try to isolate themselves from society but everything changes as they begin navigating through adolescence. Glass’s kinetic score is written for three overlapping pianos and “transforms the original story into a hypnotic meditation on youth’s transience and its tragic illusion of eternity” – LBO press release.
Orson Van Gay – Gerard
Edward Nelson – Paul
Anna Schubert – Elisabeth
Sarah Beaty – Argelos / Agathe
WHAT: Les Enfants Terribles is by composer Philip Glass based on the novella by Jean Cocteau. The Director is James Darrah and Conducted by Christopher Rountree. Chris Emile is the Choreographer, the Scenic Designer is Yuki Izumihara, Costume Designer: Camille Assaf, Lighting Designer: Dan Weingarten, Sound Designer: Benjamin Mass, and Projection Designer: Adam Larsen
WHERE: 2ND & PCH South Parking Garage Roof, 6400 Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach CA 90803
Note: Drive In – patrons to remain in vehicles.
WHEN: Friday, May 21 – 8:00 PM
Saturday, May 22 – 8:00 PM
Sunday, May 23 – 8:00 PM
RUNTIME: Approx. 80 minutes without intermission
PRE-OPERA ACTIVITIES: Patrons will be encouraged to arrive well in advance of the performance time and enjoy the restaurants and shops at 2ND & PCH. Patrons are required to wear masks when exiting their vehicles.
TICKETS: Tickets range from $49 to $150 and can be purchased either by calling the LBO Box Office at 562.470.SING (7464) or by going online to https://www.longbeachopera.org/tickets/
FOR MORE INFORMATION click HERE.
To visit the Long Beach Opera website, click HERE.
To learn more about Philip Glass, click HERE.
To learn more about James Darrah, click HERE.
To read more about Christopher Rountree, click HERE.
To find out more about Chris Emile, click HERE.
Written by Jeff Slayton based on press release from Davidson & Choy Publicity.
Featured image: James Darrah’s production of LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES at the ONE Festival Opera Omaha 2019 – Photo by Adam Larsen