LA Opera Presents Double Bill of One-Act Rarities About One-Sided Love


LA Opera Presents Double Bill of One-Act Rarities About One-Sided Love

William Grant Still's Highway 1, USA and Alexander Zemlinsky's The Dwarf will run February 24 to March 17 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles as part of the opera company's Recovered Voices initiative.

The LA Opera is doubling down on its mission to spotlight the "great lost masters of opera," offering up a pair of one-act operas that were forgotten to time. Conducted by LA Opera music director James Conlon, this double feature includes Still's Highway 1, USA, which was first penned in the 1940s and premiered at a Florida high school in 1963. Receiving its Los Angeles premiere and its second-ever professional production, Highway 1, USA stars Norman Garrett and Nicole Heaston as an industrious Black couple whose dream of a better life is derailed by the husband's feckless brother (Chaz'men Williams-Ali). Called the "dean of African-American composers," Still was the first Black composer to have his opera produced by a major American opera company and nationally televised, but his work was later marginalized because of racism as well as his anti-Communist beliefs.

The double bill also contains The Dwarf, which premiered in 1922 and is an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde short story The Birthday of the Infanta. Rodrick Dixon, Erica Petrocelli, and Kristinn Sigmundsson star in this tragic tale of an outcast who falls for a Spanish princess. The production was previously staged at the LA Opera in 2008. Zemlinsky, an influential Austrian composer who was Jewish, fled from the Nazis in the late 1930s and settled in New York, where he died in relative obscurity a few years later.

GRoW is honored to provide funding for these productions and to continue its longtime support of the LA Opera.


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