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Placido Domingo headlines electric LA Opera season

© dpa/AFP | Spanish Opera singer Pacido Domingo, 76, will perform in two productions in the Los Angeles Opera's upcoming season. In November he received a European arts award in Passau, Germany

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - 

Placido Domingo will grace the stage in two different productions in the Los Angeles Opera's upcoming season -- Verdi's "Don Carlo" and Penella's "El Gato Montes: The Wildcat," the company announced Thursday.

The Spanish legend, who has been LA Opera's general director since 2003, will perform as Rodrigo in "Don Carlo" and take on the title role of a bandit on the run in Penella's Spanish masterpiece. Both productions will be conducted by James Conlon.

Mexican tenor Ramon Vargas, returning to Los Angeles for the first time in nearly two decades, will play opposite Domingo in the "Don Carlo" title role, the company said.

Separately, US mezzo-soprano Susan Graham will play the witch in a revival of Engelbert Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel," the LA Opera said.

The 2018-19 season will also see company premieres of "Satyagraha" by Philip Glass, inspired by Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi's early years in South Africa, and Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito" ("The Clemency of Titus)."

The sixth main-stage production will be a revival of Verdi classic, "La Traviata," given a 1920s Art Deco makeover.

LA Opera also focuses on less traditional works and productions through its "Off Grand" program that stages performances at other spots around the city, seeking to win over new audiences to an art form often dismissed as elitist.

The upcoming season of that program will include two world premieres.

The first will be "Prism," by Ellen Reid and Roxie Perkins, about a mother and daughter locked away to protect themselves from the dangers lurking in the outside world.

The second will be "Vampyr," a new score for chamber orchestra and singers by Joby Talbot. It will be performed live with a rare screening of filmmaker's Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1932 fantasy by the same name.

The "Off Grand" season is rounded out by a West Coast premier of David Lang's "The Loser," about two piano prodigies who encounter celebrated virtuoso Gleen Gould at a masterclass.

Domingo, who remains active at age 76 despite health scares, is one of the 20th century's most recognized tenors, although in recent years he has transformed himself into a baritone.

© 2018 AFP