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Set For L.A. Opera's Production Of 'Il Trovatore' Stuck At Sea, So New One Is Built In 10 Days

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Due to pandemic-related issues that have snarled the global supply chain, the L.A. Opera's set is stuck at sea, but the show must go on, so the company got to work building a new set from scratch.

Crew members have been scrambling to put the finishing touches on a production of "Il Trovatore" they had to custom build from the ground up. "Il Trovatore" is L.A. Opera's first production in 18 months, after the pandemic shut down all events with live audiences.

"It's sort of unfathomable, such a big discrepancy in our plans," technical director Jeff Kleeman said.

LA Opera
(credit: L.A. Opera)

The opera had originally rented a production from Europe for the opening night of the show, but the set, which is on a container ship along with dozens of others anchored off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, may not make it to port until at least Sept. 7.

Kleeman said his team of 45 immediately jumped into action, putting in 14 hour days, five days a week to recreate the set in just 10 days, an undertaking that's normally a three-month process.

"It turned into basically an assembly line of build, paint, bring the painted elements inside," the technical director said. "Then assemble them into the scenery you see now."

Design manager Caroleena Angulo said that although it's been no easy task, the company is on track to have the set finished just in time for rehearsals next Wednesday.

"It's been a challenge, but it's been an incredible thing to think that we even dare to think that we could do it, and we're pretty much there," Angulo said.

The team said that opera fans can expect a spectacular production with phenomenal singers and effects that bring the set to life, and despite the drama behind the scenes, they said they're looking forward to a successful opening night.

"It's gonna be very rewarding and operas will never forget about this. This will be in the record," Angulo said.

When the L.A. Opera reopens on Sept. 18, ticket holders will be required to fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Tickets for the in-person performance, which runs through Oct. 10, start at $19 and are on sale now, but digital tickets to watch a livestreamed performance will also be available in October for $30.

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