A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

Bernardo Bermudez (Diego Rivera) and Laura Virella (Frida Kahlo) in "Frida" at Long Beach Opera / Photo courtesy of LBO

Long Beach Opera (LBO) will present five outdoor performances of the highly anticipated Southern California premiere of Frida on June 17, 18, 24 and 25 at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach and on June 23 at Grand Performances in downtown LA. The opera celebrates the renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, her vivacious spirit, sexuality, fragility and her tumultuous life with muralist Diego Rivera. Robert Xavier Rodríguez’s brilliant score captures Frida with music as rich and haunting as her art.

Puerto Rican mezzo-soprano Laura Virella makes her LBO debut as Frida Kahlo, while Venezuelan-American baritone Bernardo Bermudez makes his debut opposite her as Diego Rivera. Kristof Van Grysperre returns to the company as conductor. LBO’s Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek will both direct and design the production.

“You learn much more about people by watching them not alone, but in conflict with others,” says composer Rodríguez. “It’s that fascinating and unpredictable through-line of their relationship that drives the action. Frida sings as she lived — against the tide from the very first note.”

In keeping with the Mexican setting of Frida, the score features mariachi-style orchestration, including authentic Mexican folk songs, dances and the composer’s own “imaginary folk music.” The performance will be sung in English and Spanish.

Like Stravinsky, Rodríguez says, “I never borrow, I steal.” Among the “stolen” musical fragments are such strange musical bedfellows as two traditional Mexican piñata songs (“Horo y fuego” and “Al quebrar la piñata”), two narrative ballads (“La Maguinita” and “Jesusita”), the Communist anthem (“L’Internationale”), Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony and Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde.


Saturday, June 17, at 8, MOLAA

Sunday, June 18, at 8, MOLAA

Friday, June 23, at 8, Grand Performances, LA

Saturday, June 24, at 8, MOLAA

Sunday, June 25, at 8, MOLAA

LOCATIONS: Performances will be outdoors.

Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach 90802

Grand Performances, 350 S. Grand Ave., LA 90071

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 20 minutes, including one intermission


Two hours before each performance at MOLAA, Frida ticket holders will have free exclusive access to the exhibit, “Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray.”

One hour before each performance, there will be a pre-opera talk with Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek.

TICKETS: Tickets for Frida range from $49 to $150 and can be purchased either by calling the LBO Box Office at (562) 470-SING (7464) or online at https://www.longbeachopera.org/tickets. Student rush tickets for $15 will be available space permitting.

MORE INFORMATION: https://www.longbeachopera.org/2017-season/frida