What you should know About the Music Academy of the West
We showcased the Music Academy of the West in our last issue of BACKSTAGE at the Lobero, and now that the Music Academy’s Summer Festival is underway (with many shows at the Lobero Theatre), we thought we’s revisit highlights from our conversation with Communications Manager Tim Dougherty.
Herewith: a few words about this venerable institution of classical music.
Tell us a little bit about the Music Academy of the West.
The Music Academy was founded in 1947 by a group of Southern California arts patrons and musicians, including the legendary soprano Lotte Lehmann and the famed conductor Otto Klemperer. After initially setting up shop at Cate School in Carpinteria, the Music Academy relocated to its current home, the former estate of John Percival Jefferson, in 1951. Our principal programmatic offering is an eight-week Summer Festival, during which the Music Academy presents some 200 public events including orchestra concerts, chamber recitals, and a fully staged opera. This year’s festival dates are June 15 to August 8. The Music Academy also presents Metropolitan Opera simulcasts in Hahn Hall throughout the year. Our year-round staff currently numbers 22, though we add a considerable number of seasonal staff each summer.
What does an organization like the Music Academy look for when choosing a space to perform?
We generally look for venues that promise an optimal experience for patrons and performers alike. We want to provide our patrons with comfortable seating and generous sightlines, and we want to provide our performers with first-rate facilities. Of course, sound quality is a top concern for all involved. The Lobero delivers on all counts.
How long has the Music Academy been performing at the Lobero Theatre?
The Music Academy’s association with the Lobero Theatre extends back to the year of our founding, 1947. In fact, I believe the first event the Academy presented at The Lobero was a recital featuring none other than Lotte Lehmann in July of that year.
How was your experience last summer during your festival, and what do you think of the newly renovated Lobero?
We enjoyed an immensely successful 2014 season, and are very pleased with the new and improved Lobero. Our patrons especially like the roomier seats.
What’s coming up from the Music Academy this season?
The Music Academy will present a new production of Gioachino Rossini’s wonderful comic opera Cinderella at the Granada Theatre on July 30 and August 1. David Paul, who helmed the last three Academy opera productions, will again serve as stage director. The coming season’s guest conductors will include the effervescent Nicholas McGegan, who will perform at The Lobero.