Long Beach Opera announced today its new Interim Artistic Advisor, Yuval Sharon, who will help plan the company’s 2021 season. Sharon’s role will include selecting the productions and artistic teams while also working as director on one of those productions.
The news follows the announcement in July that longtime artistic and general director Andreas Mitisek is leaving LBO at the end of the 2020 season. Known for placing productions in non-traditional venues, Mitisek has never been interested in how opera should be.
Likewise, Sharon, founder and artistic director of Los Angeles-based experimental opera company, The Industry, has been described as “opera’s disrupter in residence” by The New York Times in a piece about him being the first American to direct a production at Germany’s Bayreuth Festival in 2018.
Sharon will continue as director of his company, while serving as LBO’s interim advisor. Since Mitisek’s announcement over the summer, LBO has begun its search for his replacement.
“When I founded The Industry here in 2010, I knew I was building off a culture of innovation in the LA region that Long Beach Opera played a significant role in shaping,” said Sharon. “LBO’s 40-year history has opened up so many possibilities for artists in Southern California. I see my assignment as Interim Artistic Advisor as a chance to honor that history, and it offers me another opportunity to deepen my commitment to the audiences and artists in Southern California.”
Sharon’s tendency for the unconventional—The Industry has brought opera seemingly anywhere but the stage, into moving vehicles, operating train stations, escalator corridors and warehouses—aligns squarely with Mitisek’s approach to the artform. LBO Board Chair, Robert Braun, called Sharon “an opera visionary.”
“We feel he is the perfect person to continue Long Beach Opera’s mission to engage people with provocative, meaningful experiences that challenge, connect, and inspire for this bridge season, where we will seek to define the next chapter of LBO’s future,” said Braun.
Sharon recently finished a three-year residency with Los Angeles Philharmonic; recent productions include Lohengrin for the Bayreuth Festival and a staging of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with director Gustavo Dudamel at LA Phil.
“This is an exciting moment for LBO, and also for me personally, as Yuval and I both began our careers together at New York City Opera in the early 2000s,” said LBO Executive Director Jennifer Rivera. “Ever since those days, I have admired Yuval’s ability to creatively change the face of opera in America with his truly innovative artistic sensibilities, and I am so thrilled at the opportunity to collaborate with him, and help fulfill his vision for a full season at LBO.”
Long Beach Opera’s current season, the final under Mitisek’s direction, begins Jan. 12, 2020 with a new version of Henry Purcell’s King Arthur. For more information, visit longbeachopera.org.
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