Leave it to the adventurous tastes of the Long Beach Opera and our own Ford programming staff to at last bring a work that is so LA to LA. After multiple renditions around the world, John Adams’ song play of 1995, I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky, has its Los Angeles premiere on August 23 as the second offering in this year’s Zev Yaroslavsky Signature Series.
Adams’s librettist, the late poet and activist June Jordan, said she set the story in LA because “it’s the most heterogeneous city in the US” and took the title from a survivor quoted in an LA Times story about the Northridge earthquake. The plot follows the lives of seven people in their 20s from distinct ethnic backgrounds, set against that cataclysmic backdrop. If you are expecting heavy melodrama, don’t. Even though Adams is most well known for his operas Nixon in China and The Death of Klinghoffer, this intimate work, to be semi-staged by Long Beach Opera, is more like a musical.
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