Two Weekends, Two Opera Legends Sing at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion

Renée Fleming and Placido Domingo star in two LA Opera productions.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Todd Rosenberg Photography
    Renee Fleming stars in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and Placido Domingo headlines "Thaïs." The two LA Opera productions are running side-by-side during late May. (Todd Rosenberg Photography 2013)

    It's rare in the arts, sports, business or any field for a legend to make an appearance. When it happens it is major, and note-worthy. Fans and followers tend to go out of their way to be a part of that experience.

    But two legends showing up at basically the same moment? Even percentage-loving scientists can tell you that the odds are not in anyone's favor. And yet that cosmic event is happening for opera buffs in late May, in Los Angeles, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

    For the first time ever, Renée Fleming and Placido Domingo will take to the same stage over the same weekend in two different LA Opera productions.

    Make that two weekends: May 18-19 and May 24-25.

    Call it the lining up of two titans of the art form, and call the arts world pretty dang stoked. (Surely "stoked" is a word one can use for opera? It isn't all puffery and poetry and wigs.)

    Titan one? That's Renée Fleming, the acclaimed American soprano and winner of the National Medal of Arts. She'll star as Blanche DuBois in "A Streetcar Named Desire"  on Sunday, May 18, with May 21 and May 24 rounding out the run. The complicated, at-war-with-herself-and-the-world Ms. Dubois is one of the great characters of literature, film, and the stage, and Ms. Fleming will bring the zingy archness the role requires. And the pipes, too. (Surely "pipes" is a word one can use for opera as well? It isn't all about octaves and high notes.)

    Placido Domingo, who has enjoyed a long guiding relationship with the LA Opera, will star in "Thaïs," which "seduces both eyes and ears with a glittering treasure trove of pleasures." We can get behind that. "Erotic obsession" and the idea of saving, and being saved, are at the opera's oh-so-dramatic heart. It opens on Saturday, May 18 with five dates to follow through early June.

    Want to get in on a package to see both? Here it is.

    It's a pair of celebratory weekends for the opera, for sure, but also for all opera fans. Ms. Fleming and Mr. Domingo have done much to spread the good word of an art form too often relegated to the Shelf of High-Brow-o-Sity, when, of course, opera is not that. Or it is, fractionally, but it is also wicked and outlandish and ridiculous and moving and very accessible.

    Consider that Ms. Fleming recently sang David Letterman's Top Ten List, and both performers have appeared on "Sesame Street." That's what in large part make a legend -- the joy of sharing opera in all of the unsnobbish, happy-hearted, everyone-join-in ways.

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