14th Nov - 29th Nov 2020

Joseph Bologne’s “The Anonymous Lover” at LA Opera

“The impediments of the pandemic have usefully and forcefully driven L.A. Opera and LBO to think about what the art form might look like for the next generation. Diversity is, of course, on every institution’s mind, a silver lining to this topsy-turvy moment in history. That allowed L.A. Opera’s music director to indulge in one of his favorite passions: recovering neglected operas while also employing the resources of its training program for young artists, in association with the Colburn School. For this occasion, James Conlon picked Joseph Bologne’s “The Anonymous Lover,” as obscure a late 18th century opera as you might encounter… The production itself was a process of working around COVID-19 restrictions. Conlon recorded a chamber orchestra, masked, well-distanced and otherwise protected, in Colburn’s largest rehearsal room. The singers operated with two operatic hands tied behind their backs, hearing the orchestra only through small ear monitors and keeping their distance from one another. Yet they seemed thrilled doing so. All are winning.” — LA Times

“A decent cast of young singers is headed by Tiffany Townsend and Robert Stahley, singing in French but speaking the dialogue in English, and the playing of the LA Opera Orchestra, under conductor James Conlon, is fully alive.” — Financial Times 

“…there’s plenty to enjoy here, with Townsend certainly a voice to remember. Conlon and LA Opera are to be commended for thinking outside the box in order to rescue an important voice from the mists of time. Now, all that is needed is for Lin-Manuel Miranda to write Saint-Georges the Musical.” — Musical America

“The shift in ensemble sizes throughout gives the opera a sense of propulsion, which is conductor James Conlon’s ability to provide a strong sense of structure within the orchestra’s colors, particularly with the potent presence of the lower strings throughout. Just listen to the opening passage in Dorothée’s Act one aria with the rumbling bass motif and how the lower strings remain ever-present through the aria, adding to its sense of gravity even in the gentlest moments.” — Opera Wire

“Conlon’s lush, vigorous orchestra was recorded in advance of the filming so the six singers heard their accompaniment via discreet earphones. Coordination was exemplary…” — The Observer

“Conlon has given us a gift of a tuneful, wonderfully well coordinated online performance of L’Amant Anonyme…” — Broadway World

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