Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect the cancellation of Sweet Land. However, a video recording of the piece will be available for on-demand streaming starting Friday, March 20. Email email@example.com for a code to stream.
From now until March 15, The Industry presents Sweet Land, a historical opera that aims to dismantle the myth of American identity. The title alludes to the song line “sweet land of liberty” from Samuel Francis Smith’s America (My County, ‘Tis of Thee). From the official description:
The Arrivals wash up on the shore. They make contact with another civilization they call “the Hosts.” And from there, the story splinters, following diverging perspectives. Starting as a procession through the LA State Historic Park, Sweet Land becomes an opera that erases itself.
The 24-piece orchestra and 36-member ensemble of LA-based singers take over the LA State Historic Park in this new production from directors Cannupa Hanska Luger and Yuval Sharon.
The collaborative team behind Sweet Land also features a number of CalArtians, including:
- Composer Raven Chacon (Music MFA 04);
- Librettist Douglas Kearney (Critical Studies MFA 04);
- Designer E.B. Brooks (Theater MFA 07);
- Set Designers Carlo Maghirang (Theater MFA 17) and Tanya Orellana (Theater MFA 17).
Sweet Land seeks to engage with themes of colonization and immigration. The opera is also immersive and interactive, featuring two different tracks through which the audience can see the show. The Industry explains: “Each track features a different story, with different music and different cast members. Both tracks offer a complete experience and feature music by both composers and both writers. The box office will assign your track.”
The San Francisco Classical Voice calls the production “astonishing” and the Los Angeles Times writes:
Prepare for subject matter that is anything but sweet. Prepare for the world we live in, the place we inhabit and the progress we hope for to lose a significant amount of its sugar content.
Sweet Land is reflective of the broader artistic goals of The Industry. They describe themselves as “an independent, artist-driven company creating experimental productions that expand the definition of opera.”
In 2015, they produced HOPSCOTCH, a mobile opera that traveled through Los Angeles with the help of 24 cars and 126 diverse artists. The New Yorker called it “awe-inspiring” and KCRW said it was “site-specific performance at its best.” Most recently, in 2018, The Industry collaborated with the LA Phil to present Europeras 1 & 2. Using 64 different European operas as source material, this production presented a layered and remixed version of operatic history. The New York Times called it a “rare and extraordinary staging.”
In particular, The Industry is committed to cultural equity and inclusion, as well as to “expanding the definition of opera including whom opera is for, who is involved and where opera takes place.”
There are three remaining Sweet Land showings and tickets can be purchased online.
Los Angeles State Historic Park
1245 North Spring Street, Los Angeles
Tickets range from $25 to $110.
Tickets for Sunday Sessions (public events that further explore pertinent themes from the opera) are free.
Friday, March 13
Saturday, March 14
Sunday, March 15