Must-See Visual & Performing Arts Events in Los Angeles

A scene from a 2015 production of Macbeth at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, Spain. Photo by Tato Baeza.

It’s curtains up for an exciting new season of visual and performing arts events in downtown Los Angeles.

Adapted from Open Season in the September 2016 issue of WHERE Los Angeles Magazine

L.A. Opera

On Sept. 17, L.A. Opera kicks off its 2016-2017 season with a new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Tony Award winner Darko Tresnjak directs this adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic tale, with L.A. Opera general director Plácido Domingo playing the title role. It’s the company’s first staging of the opera since 1987—a reprise that music director/conductor James Conlon calls his and Domingo’s “offering to the international recognition of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.”

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Following a star-studded gala, Walt Disney Concert Hall’s season revs up Sept. 29, 30 and Oct. 2 with the L.A. premiere of Los Angeles Philharmonic creative chair John Adams’ Absolute Jest, a reworking of archetypal Beethoven excerpts. Gustavo Dudamel conducts and pianist Yefim Bronfman crowns the program with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4.


Inside the Disney Hall complex, CalArts’ interdisciplinary contemporary-arts center, REDCAT, begins its fall season with Christian Rizzo’s Turkish-inspired dance d’aprés une histoire vraie Sept. 15-18, followed by Tammy/Lisa: From Misery to Meaning, by Looking star and The Daily Show correspondent Lauren Weedman, opening Sept. 29.

Center Theatre Group

September is a big month for the Center Theatre Group’s downtown venues, too. Previews of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, directed by Phylicia Rashad, begin Sept. 1 at the Mark Taper Forum, and previews of a Tony Award-winning revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge begin Sept. 7 at the Ahmanson Theatre.

Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

In Little Tokyo, Doug Aitken: Electric Earth opens The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA’s fall schedule on Sept. 10. The immersive, multiroom, multisensory exhibition—the first comprehensive survey of the internationally renowned, L.A.-born-and-raised artist’s work—centers on seven major, large-scale moving-image installations that express such concerns as environmental and post-industrial decay, “the incursion of commerce into our social relationships” and “the end of linear time.”


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