White Nights – Tchaikovsky & Placido Domingo
Placido Domingo, General Director of the Los Angeles Opera hosted the opulent opening night production of Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin. The courtyard of the Music Center Plaza was transformed into the famed Russian White Night — compete with crystal chandeliers, pristine white table cloths and linens, and, of course, an abundance of white orchids, calla lilies and even a gorgeous model wearing a tiered white skirt, which held 100 flutes of champagne, courtesy of the Henry Wine Group
Strutting down the white carpet were such operaphiles as Laurence Fishburne and his wife, actress Gina Torres, former Disney CEO, Michael Eisner, and Emmy Rossum, star of the film, Phantom of the Opera, who was the Honorary Chair of the after soiree, hosted by ARIA — the young professional group of opera lovers.
This evening in St. Petersburg, of course, included an assortment of Russian specialties, including our favorite, Beef Stroganoff, with salt roasted Russian potatoes. Others sipping imaginative Vodka cocktails included Alicia Witt (Friday Night Lights), Jane Levy (Shameless) and world champion figure skater Michelle Kwan, who felt right at home in the winter wonderland.
Eugene Onegin is one of the few Russian Operas presented by the company. This performance came from London’s Royal Opera, and featured Ukrainian soprano Oksana Dyka as Tatiana, and Slovakian baritone Dalibor Jenis as Onegin. Their crystal clear voices brought to life all the beauty and romance of the doomed Russian story of unrequited love.
Music Director James Conlon backed them up with impassioned playing of the orchestra, whose intensity really worked.
Kudos for the gala go to the Opera’s most dedicated supporters including Eva and Mark Stern, Mr. and Mrs. Milan Panic, Carol and Warner Henry, Alfred and Claude Mann, Ambassador Frank and Kathy Baxter to name a few. The best news is that Opera is alive and well in Los Angeles, and in these troubled times that is an accomplishment in itself!
Among the various operas being presented this season is Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet which opens on November 6th. Placido Domingo will conduct this timeless tragedy of star-crossed lovers; and in February, he will perform his first performance in the title role of Simon Boccanegra by Verdi.
Now that is something we all look forward to — since this is the 46th role that the 68 year old tenor has mastered. After 628 performances during his amazing career, why should the most revered artist of our time stop?
Laurence Fishburne with Placido Domingo at Opening Night Festivities
Dalibor Jenis (Onegin) & Oksana Dyka (Tatiana) stars of the Opera
Laurence Fishburne & his actress wife, Gina Torres, with Opera Supporters, Milan and Milena Panic