The Los Angeles Opera is an American opera company in Los Angeles, California. It is the fourth-largest opera company in the United States. The company's home base is the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, part of the Los Angeles Music Center.
Spanish tenor and conductor Plácido Domingo has been General Director of LA Opera since 2003. To date, he has sung 27 different roles with the company including, most recently, the baritone title role of Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" (September 2015) as well as Giorgio Germont in Verdi's "La Traviata," Athanael in Massenet's Thaïs," Francesco Foscari in Verdi's I due Foscari, Pablo Neruda in Daniel Catan's Il Postino, Siegmund in Die Walküre, Vidal Hernando in Luisa Fernanda, and the title roles in Simon Boccanegra, Tamerlano, Idomeneo and Parsifal. He has also conducted 16 different operas and numerous concerts with the company.
American conductor James Conlon has been Music Director since 2006, succeeding Kent Nagano, who held the official title of "Principal Conductor" from 2001–2003 and then became Music Director. To date, Maestro Conlon has conducted 46 different operas for LA Opera, in addition to numerous concerts.
Christopher Koelsch has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of LA Opera since 2012. He previously held the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since 2010, after serving as Vice President for Artistic Planning. He is the first year-round resident of Los Angeles to lead LA Opera since 2007.
Grant Gershon became Resident Conductor as of the 2012–13 season, after previously serving as Associate Conductor/Chorus Master since 2007. Previous conductors in residence included William Vendice, Head of Music Staff/Chorus Master, from 1995 to 2007; and Randall Behr, Resident Conductor, Chorus Master, and Head of Music Staff from 1988 to 1995.
LA Opera (also known as Los Angeles Opera), which was inaugurated in 1986 with a production of Verdi's Otello starring Plácido Domingo, traces its roots back to the Los Angeles Civic Grand Opera, which was formed in 1948. It presented staged productions in a church located in Beverly Hills through the 1950s, funded by furniture maker Francesco Pace. Later, Carol F. Henry, who has served as the President of the Board since 2005, became started volunteering for the Los Angeles Opera League in 1981. Shortly after its third production at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the company abandoned its own production projects and recreated itself as the Music Center Opera Association by bringing opera from other cities to the Music Center, notably San Francisco Opera the New York City Opera. San Francisco Opera began presenting productions in Los Angeles in 1937 and continued to do so every fall until 1969. The NYCO brought productions to Los Angeles every fall from 1966 to 1982.
In 1984, the Music Center Opera Association hired Peter Hemmings and gave him the task of creating a local opera company which would once again present its own productions. This led to the forming of Los Angeles Opera. Hemmings stepped down as General Director in 2000, with Plácido Domingo assuming leadership of the company following season. (In fact, Domingo had been involved in the creation of the company, having served as its artistic consultant since 1984.) In November 2001, Edgar Baitzel was made director of artistic operations. Baitzel was appointed the company's Artistic Director in May 2003 and then its chief operating officer in February 2006. Baitzel died in March 2007. In September 2012, Christopher Koelsch was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer. He previously held the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since 2010, after serving as Vice President for Artistic Planning.