Sleepless: The Music Center After Hours

Sleepless: The Music Center After Hours

This past weekend, we opened the doors to our elegant Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and welcomed the masses to enjoy unusual performances, new spaces, and experiences within the building after hours… When we say “after hours,” we’re talking 11:30pm to 3am people!  The event was aptly called Sleepless: The Music Center After Hours and it’s one of a new series of late night experiences we’re hosting this season.

Presented in collaboration with Dublab for their 16th anniversary, Sleepless included sets from several Dublab DJ’s, live acoustic performances from stellar musicians, a puppet show, a rocking dance party, a tonalism-themed chill-out space (complete with bean bags and mattresses) projections, screen-printing, phone booths, photo ops, and so much more!

It’s hard to put into words just WHAT it was like to be at Sleepless, suffice to say it was pretty awesome.  And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few to give you a taste of just want happens at The Music Center After Hours…

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Want more? Watch our video! And be sure to join us at our next Sleepless event – November 6th.  It’s free, but to guarantee entry you much RSVP.  Reservations will open up soon, so stay tuned!

Ready for Ratmansky!

Alexei Ratmansky

Photo Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

#ICYMI Alexei Ratmansky is one of the biggest names in dance right now.   He’s one of the most sought after choreographers in the world, and currently works as the Artist in Residence at American Ballet Theatre.  He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2013, and has been awarded the Prix Benois de la Danse for choreography,  as well as the National Dance Award for his work  The Bright Stream.  

One of the many things that makes Alexei Ratmansky so remarkable, is his ability to bring new vibrancy to classical story ballets which have remained mostly the same for decades.  His choreography in this traditional format has truly reinvigorated the story ballet; bringing it into the 21st century in a way that seemed somewhat impossible.

Here at The Music Center, we’ve presented several Ratmansky works as part of our Glorya Kaufman presents Dance series, including The Bright Stream (performed by ABT)  and Romeo & Juliet (performed by National Ballet of Canada.)  But this season, we’re thrilled to have our series book-ended with works by Ratmansky – starting with his Cinderella this October, performed by The Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra, and ending with his Firebird next July, performed by American Ballet Theatre.

Watch the video below to hear more about Alexei Ratmansky’s works and choreographic process, then be sure to join us at Cinderella to see his remarkable work live!

This Weekend @ The Music Center

Well Los Angeles, we finally made it through one of the hottest weeks of the summer and as a special treat, indulge in the many amazing things happening this weekend right here at The Music Center!  Here’s the rundown…

Tonight

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2015 American Composers Forum National Composition Concert at REDCAT 

In conjunction with American Composers Forum’s largest board meeting of the year, the concert features wild Up performing pieces written for them by the winners of the 2015 American Composers Forum’s National Composition Contest: William Gardiner (Yale University), Alex Temple (Northwestern University) and Nina C. Young (Columbia University).  wild Up is a modern music collective; an adventurous chamber orchestra; a Los Angeles-based group of musicians committed to creating visceral, thought-provoking happenings. The group believes that music is a catalyst for shared experiences, and that a concert venue is a place to challenge, excite and ignite a community of listeners.  So in three words: super duper cool.

Saturday

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LA Opera’s Season Opening Show & Gala

Schicchi/Pagliacci by Giacomo Puccini/Ruggero Leoncavallo
Starring Plácido Domingo

Two legendary directors combine forces for a sensational season-opener for our resident company, LA Opera.  First, Plácido Domingo stars as Gianni Schicchi in Woody Allen’s riotous staging of Puccini’s comic masterpiece, conducted by Grant Gershon.

LA Opera - Schicchi Final Dress Rehearsal  Photo by Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

LA Opera – Schicchi Final Dress Rehearsal
Photo by Craig T. Mathew/Mathew Imaging

After the intermission, Plácido Domingo conducts the conclusion of the double bill, Franco Zeffirelli’s epic production of Pagliacci starring Marco Berti, Ana María Martinez and George Gagnidze.  Filling the stage with hair-raising drama, the action plays out in a breathtaking contemporary urban landscape.

In short, it’s going to be an amazing night at the opera!

Sunday

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João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva One month without filming Exhibition at REDCAT

The work of Portuguese artists João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, who have worked collaboratively since 2001, is characterized by the use of silent films and other analog forms of expression to portray poetic-philosophical narratives suspended in an indeterminate zone between reality and artifice. For the first major exhibition by the duo in Los Angeles, newly commissioned films are juxtaposed with past works to create a conceptual narrative and provide a larger glimpse at the duo’s extended practice.  On going exhibit through September 20th.

Have a great weekend Los Angeles!!!

Another Cinderella Story…

The story of Cinderella has been around for centuries and the interpretations are vast… too vast to go into detail here.  But one element always remains the same – Cinderella is an underdog who triumphs over her oppressors, be it by the help of fairy godmothers, mice, or just her own wit and kindness…. And she has excellent taste in shoes.

In anticipation of our upcoming engagement with The Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra and their performances of Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella, we thought we’d take a moment to highlight the many different “Cinderella-stories” of stage and screen….

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Ratmansky’s Cinderella

In Alexei Ratmansky’s 2002 version of the ballet – being performed next month here at The Music Center by the magnificent Mariinsky Ballet & Orchestra – he sets the classic story amidst the glamour and grit of 1930’s.  The ballroom scene is more Gatsby than gallantry, and you won’t find any mice or pumpkins in this version.  Rather, Ratmansky reinvigorates this classic story-ballet with vibrant choreography, feisty humor, and a glamorous twist!

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Ashton’s Cinderella

Perhaps one of the best-known and widely performed versions of the ballet set to Sergei Prokofiev’s luscious score, is Sir Frederick Ashton’s 1948 version.  The choreography is something of an homage to the Petipa classics, and the full-length story ballet is brimming with panto-like humor (mainly in the form of stepsisters, traditionally performed by men in drag.)  It followers the classic story line and is pure fairy-tale sweetness with gorgeous fluidity of movement.

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Disney’s Cinderella (the animated version)

Disney’s 1950 animated classic perhaps is one of the most beloved and well-known versions of the story.  And while Cinderella is lovely and the stepsisters have their comedic moments, I feel it’s really the mice who steal the picture.  I mean who  doesn’t love Gus Gus?

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Sondheim’s Into The Woods 

Sondheim’s take on Cinderella steers closer to the Brother’s Grimm version, with the Fairy Godmother being within a tree on Cinderella’s mother’s grave, and the gruesome efforts her stepsisters go through to fit into her glass slipper (hint: they cut off bits of their feet!)  But as Sondheim weaves Cinderella’s story with a myriad of other classics, and shines harsh lights of reality on each, we see a completely new side to our heroine.

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Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella

The made-for-television special originally starred a young Julie Andrews, before being remade in 1965 with Leslie Ann Warren, and again in 1997 with Brandy. This version is as classic and magical as it gets!  The recent update to this Broadway musical staple was part of Center Theatre Group’s 2014/15 season in our Ahmanson Theatre and gave new depth to both the prince and Cinderella.  Her agenda to be princess was more about social justice than wanting to move out of her old digs, which was a pretty cool addition to the story.  #GirlPower

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Ever After

The 1998 Drew Barrymore film also brought a modern sophistication to the story, while keeping it set in rural France during the renaissance.  Leonardo DaVinci was thrown in to serve as fairy godmother (cause why not) and fellow human house servants were a nice change from talking mice!  Drew’s Cinderella, didn’t need the prince to save her (again #GirlPower.)  Plus that glitter face-makeup she wore to the ball was so spot on nineties!

That’s just a few of many Cinderella stories floating around out there.  Leave a comment and tell us your favorite!

How to Create an Awesome Spotlight Audition Video

Alyssa Allen Spotlight Awards

Our Spotlight Program – a free scholarship, training program and competition for high school kids in southern California – is back for it’s 28th year and applications are open now.  This amazing program has helped to foster some of the biggest and brightest talent in the performing arts, with artists like Misty Copeland, and Josh Groban among it’s extensive roster of alumni!

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This year, we’re asking all applicants to submit a video performance as part of their application, and to show just how easy and fun the video process can be, we teamed up with another Spotlight alum, the brilliant Melinda Sullivan, to create the ultimate “how-to” video!  Have a look…

So whether you sing, dance, act, or play an instrument, if you’re a talented SoCal teen (or perhaps the teacher or parent of one) looking for an amazing opportunity to expand your skills, broaden your talent and potentially win a $5000 scholarship, upload your application to the Spotlight Awards program ASAP!  Applications close on October 19th, so hop to it!

 

Make Way for Mariinsky!

The Mariinsky Ballet Cinderella

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – The time when all the new seasons for dance, theater, music and opera kick off and there’s a sudden slew of amazing shows to see!  Round these parts, we are particularly pumped about the start of our new season of Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, which gets going on October 8th with The Mariinsky Ballet & Orchestra.

Based in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the Mariinsky Theater, The Mariinsky Ballet (formerly known as the Kirov Ballet, and before that, the Imperial Russian Ballet) is world-renowned for their technique, artistry and lustrous history in the ballet world.  The company was founded in the 1740’s, following the formation of the first Russian dance school in 1738.  That school would become the predecessor of today’s Vaganova Ballet Academyfrom which some of the greatest and well known dancers would emerge, including Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, George Balanchine, and Natalia Makarova (just to name a few.)

Students at Vaganova School

Students at the Vaganova Ballet Academy

The historical importance of this ballet company is hard to pack into a single blog post, but to add some additional perspective on just how cool this company is,  factor in that for a number of years, Marius Petipa was their ballet master.   You may recognize that name as the choreographer of  such classics as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, La Bayadere, Raymonda, and The Nutcracker.  In other words, he’s like the Godfather of classical story ballets.  Iconic to the artform.

With just five shows this October, The Mariinsky Ballet brings Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella to our Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage.  Set to Prokofiev’s haunting score and performed by Mariinsky’s own orchestra, Ratmansky reinvigorates this classic story-ballet with vibrant choreography, feisty humor, and a glamorous 1930’s twist!

Diana Vishneva Mariinsky Ballet Cinderella

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The cast list alone (which you can peruse on our website) is reason enough to snag seats to this show.  But throw in this company’s legacy, the orchestra, the enchanting music, the charming story and Ratmansky’s brilliant choreography, and well, this show is sure to be  one you’ll never forget!

Get your tickets and more information on our website, at our box office, or by calling us at 213.972.0711.