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  • LAPA
  • Mar. 9, 2022
  • Directed by Alberto Arvelo, the first-of-its-kind production to feature
    a star-studded cast of Deaf Actors, Deaf performers of Venezuela’s Coro de Manos Blancas
    and Hearing Singers with the
    Los Angeles Master Chorale

    The Semi-Staged Production for Deaf and Hearing Audiences Will Draw on
    the Expressive Power of American Sign Language (ASL) and Beethoven’s Music to
    Tell the Timely Tale of Triumph over Oppression

    Spanish Translation Here.

    LOS ANGELES, March 9, 2022 –April 14 to 16, 2022, Los Angeles Philharmonic Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel will conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a star-studded cast in a groundbreaking event directed by Alberto Arvelo, co-directed by Joaquín Solano and produced in collaboration with Los Angeles’s acclaimed, Tony Award®-winning Deaf West Theatre (Artistic Director DJ Kurs), Artistic Producer Gabriela Camejo, and Deaf performers of El Sistema’s Coro de Manos Blancas (White Hands Choir) in a new production of Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Created for both Deaf and hearing audiences, the semi-staged production draws on both American Sign Language’s expressive, gestural poetry and Beethoven’s music to tell the powerful tale of redemption and liberation. The idea for the production was originally developed by Gustavo Dudamel through his Foundation, which he co-chairs with his wife, actress María Valverde, as a means of elevating Deaf artistry to illuminate the opera’s central theme: the fight to overcome obstacles in order to discover one’s own personal freedom. Fidelio premiered in 1805 as Beethoven was losing his hearing.

    Gustavo Dudamel said, “All art is rooted in the deeply human need to communicate something, and to have that communication be received and felt. Fidelio is perhaps Beethoven’s purest expression of our ability to overcome adversity, and to reach one another across a seemingly insurmountable divide. That belief in the transformative, transcendent power of music is at the heart of this production, where we have partnered with the extraordinary artists of Deaf West Theatre and the Coro de Manos Blancas, in order to offer a performance with equal resonance to both Deaf and hearing audiences, and remind us that there is always light through the darkness."

    DJ Kurs, Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre, said, “Rarely do the opera houses and concert halls throughout the world open their doors to the Deaf community. Together with the LA Phil, we have been able to create an experience that brings new facets of music to Deaf and hearing audiences. Fidelio is Deaf West Theatre’s first opera and in thinking about the production we kept returning to the fact that for the Deaf community, music transcends sound. This is something Beethoven knew well and is why he cut the legs off his piano so that he could feel the vibrations of the music on the floor as he lost his own hearing. Movement and language are additional portals to music and with the combination of Beethoven’s powerful score and American Sign Language (ASL), we are able to offer Deaf audiences an entry into the world of opera. ASL, the central medium of our staging, is an expressive visual language filled with nuance, movement and poetry that can bring music to life in new ways, creating a synthesis that brings all audiences together.”

    Alberto Arvelo, Director, said, “This project is also deeply connected with the sublime possibilities of human expression. All of us involved in this project feel that Fidelio will be a revealing experience for the Deaf and hearing audience. The creative integration that we are promoting has its roots in the most primal search of arts: beauty and communication.”

    The acclaimed cast features Amelia Hensley (actor) and Christiane Libor (soprano) as Leonore, Josh Castille (actor) and Ian Koziara (tenor) as Florestan, Russell Harvard (actor) and Ryan Speedo Green (bass-baritone) as Rocco, Indi Robinson (actor) and Gabriella Reyes (soprano) as Marzelline, Gregor Lopes (actor) and José Simerilla-Romero (tenor) as Jaquino, Gabriel Silva (actor) and Shenyang (bass-baritone) as Don Pizarro, and Michael Anthony Spady (actor) and Ethan Vincent (baritone) as Don Fernando. The Los Angeles Master Chorale is led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon and Associate Artistic Director Jenny Wong, and Artistic Director María Inmaculada Velásquez is directing the Coro de Manos Blancas. The entire performance will be signed and sung, with supertitles also provided.

    Thursday’s performance (April 14) is generously supported by the Frank Gehry Fund for Creativity and is part of the Otis Booth Foundation Thursday 2 Series. The Friday and Saturday (April 15 and 16) performances are generously supported by an Edgerton Foundation grant.

    Additional support for the Coro de Manos Blancas comes from the Dudamel Foundation.

    Beethoven’s Fidelio with Dudamel and Deaf West Theatre
    Opera in two acts, libretto by Joseph Sonnleithner, Stephan von Breuning, Friedrich Treitschke
    Produced in collaboration with Deaf West Theatre
    Thursday, April 14, 2022, 8PM
    Friday, April 15, 2022, 8PM
    Saturday, April 16, 2022, 8PM

    Beethoven’s Fidelio

    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
    Alberto Arvelo, director
    Joaquín Solano, co-director
    Deaf West Theatre, produced by DJ Kurs
    Los Angeles Master Chorale
    Grant Gershon,
    Artistic Director; Jenny Wong, Associate Artistic Director
    Coro de Manos Blancas
    María Inmaculada Velásquez, Artistic Director

    Leonore: Amelia Hensley (actor), Christiane Libor (soprano)
    Florestan: Josh Castille (actor), Ian Koziara (tenor)
    Rocco: Russell Harvard (actor), Ryan Speedo Green (bass-baritone)
    Marzelline: Indi Robinson (actor), Gabriella Reyes (soprano)
    Jaquino: Gregor Lopes (actor), José Simerilla-Romero (tenor)
    Don Pizarro: Gabriel Silva (actor), Shenyang (bass-baritone)
    Don Fernando: Michael Anthony Spady (actor), Ethan Vincent (baritone)

    Artistic Team:
    Gabriela Camejo, Artistic Producer
    Solange Arvelo, costume designer
    James F. Ingalls, lighting designer
    Colin Analco, ASL Choreographer
    Natasha Ofili, Associate ASL Choreographer

    Tickets can be purchased at the LA Phil’s website:

    Prior to attending, audiences are encouraged to view the LA Phil’s updated COVID protocol guidelines posted on the website:

    About the LA Phil 
    Under the leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil offers live performances, media initiatives and learning programs that inspire and strengthen communities in Los Angeles and beyond. The Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra is the foundation of the LA Phil’s offerings, which also include a multi-genre, multidisciplinary presenting program and such youth development programs as YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles). Performances are offered on three historic stages—Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and The Ford—as well as through a variety of media platforms. In all its endeavors, the LA Phil seeks to enrich the lives of individuals and communities through musical, artistic and learning experiences that resonate in our world today.  

    About Deaf West Theatre
    Founded in Los Angeles in 1991, Tony Award®-winning Deaf West Theatre (Artistic Director, David Kurs), engages artists and audiences in unparalleled theater experiences inspired by Deaf culture and the expressive power of sign language, weaving ASL with spoken English to create a seamless ballet of movement and voice. Committed to innovation, collaboration and training, DWT is the artistic bridge between the deaf and hearing worlds. Recent and past productions include The Solid of Life of Sugar Water by Jack Thorne; Our Town, in a co-production with the Pasadena Playhouse; Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo, in a co-production with the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts; Spring Awakening the Musical, which transferred from Inner-City Arts to the Wallis and then to Broadway (three Tony Award® nominations including Best Revival of a Musical); American Buffalo (Los Angeles Times “Critic’s Choice”); Cyrano, a co-production with the Fountain Theatre (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Production); Big River the Musical (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and Backstage Garland awards for Best Musical in its L.A. premiere, Tony® nomination and four Drama Desk Awards on Broadway); Pippin, produced at the Mark Taper Forum in a co-production with Center Theatre Group; Sleeping Beauty Wakes, also a co-production with CTG, presented at the Kirk Douglas Theatre; Oliver! (Ovation Award for Best Musical); and A Streetcar Named Desire (Ovation Award for Best Play). In 2005, DWT was selected to receive the Highest Recognition Award by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for its “distinguished contributions to improve and enrich the culture lives of deaf and hard of hearing actors and theater patrons.”
  • Contact:

    Sophie Jefferies,
    Laura Cohen,
    Kassandra Winchester,