L.A. Master Chorale to premiere opera pieces
A concert suite from 'The Grapes of Wrath' and 'The City of Dis' will highlight the 2007-08 season.

World premieres of a concert suite from Ricky Ian Gordon's new opera, "The Grapes of Wrath," and of Louis Andriessen's "The City of Dis" will highlight the Los Angeles Master Chorale's 2007-08 season, to be led by music director Grant Gershon.

Gordon's 50-minute suite - to be performed May 18, 2008 - will contain music that had to be cut before the critically well-received Minnesota Opera premiere of "The Grapes of Wrath" in February.

"In staging an opera, you're constantly making cuts so that the story can move forward inexorably," Gordon said. "The suite exists on its own. It has its own logic. The whole point is to show off the chorus, because there are so many choral moments in the opera."

"Some of the most wonderful, purely musical moments in the show ended up on the cuttingroom floor," said Gershon, who conducted the premiere of the opera based on the John Steinbeck novel. "It's nice to give some of this music the chance to see the light of day."

Andriessen's "The City of Dis," commissioned by the Master Chorale, is the first of five sections of the Dutch composer's opera "La Commedia," based on Dante's "Divine Comedy."

The complete work is scheduled to be premiered June 12, 2008, in Amsterdam.

"The City of Dis" will be performed Nov. 18 as part of a program that includes Veljo Tormis' "God Protect Us From War" and Haydn's "Mass in Time of War." The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra led by Jeffrey Kahane will join the chorale for the Haydn Mass.

"I'm really excited about the premieres," Gershon said. "It's an indication of how seriously we take our mission with the Master Chorale, representing the best choral music with the most integrity."
- Chris Pasles, Los Angeles Times, 13 April 2007