Haute Culture: Placido Domingo Premieres Il Postino

placido domingo

It may not have the headline-grabbing attention of say, Justin Bieber’s girlfriend crisis or Lindsay Lohan’s latest breakdown, but in the classical music world, this is big news: Placido Domingo is world-premiering a new opera, and he’s doing it here in Los Angeles.

What’s the work? A story tailor-made for an Operatic interpretation, and one that even non-fanatics can relate to: Il Postino. Directed by Michael Radford, the 1994 Italian film tells the simple tale of a postman on a small island who delivers fan mail to the exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. When the two eventually become friends, Neruda helps the shy naïf to woo the heard of a local waitress. Nominated for five Academy Awards, it won for its musical score.

In this three-act interpretation by Daniel Catán and directed by James Conlon, Domingo plays—no, not the Postman (that really wouldn’t make sense for a signore of his stature)—but the fictionalized Pablo Neruda, poet of glorious sensuality. Tenor Charles Castronovo (a resident artist at LA Opera before leaving to perform throughout the world) and soprano Amanda Squitieri star as the fated lovers. The work (which is also inspired by the book Ardiente Paciencia by Antonio Skarmeta) will be performed in Spanish, with English supertitles. An hour prior to each performance (except opening night), a lecture is given by Mitchell Morris.

Il Postino will open LA Opera’s 25th season, and be performed from September 23 through October 16. Following that, the season will mount Mozart’s Le Nozze Di Figaro, Wagner’s Lohengrin, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Rossini’s Il Turco In Italia and Britten’s Turn of the Screw. Quite a heady selection.

The Dorothy Chandler Pavillion is located at 135 North Grand Avenue, 213.972.8001