Placido Domingo to play Macbeth in LA

New York - Placido Domingo will open the Los Angeles Opera's season in the title character of "Macbeth" as the legendary tenor keeps his streak of baritone roles.

LA Opera, of which Domingo is the general director, announced Tuesday it would open its 2016-17 season on September 17 with Verdi's "Macbeth."

Domingo, arguably the world's best known opera singer, last year at the Berlin State Opera played Macbeth for the first time.

The 75-year-old Spaniard has in recent years increasingly starred as a baritone and not in the tenor roles for which he became famous, a transition that has reinforced his reputation for versatility even as some critics have been less charitable.

In the upcoming LA Opera season, Domingo will also conduct "The Tales of Hoffmann," starring German soprano Diana Damrau in her company debut.

Season highlights include "Akhnaten" by leading living US composer Philip Glass in a production conducted by Matthew Aucoin, a rising young musician who was recently named to new position of artist-in-residence at LA Opera.

The fourth largest US company, LA Opera has emphasised avant-garde works and tie-ins with Hollywood, the hometown industry.

LA Opera maintains a smaller "Off Grand" stage for contemporary and experimental fare.

The latest season will feature "The Source," the multimedia opera about former US Army analyst turned intelligence leaker Chelsea Manning that premiered in 2014 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and screenings of the classic 1922 silent horror film "Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror" set to original music by Aucoin.

The season will also include "Thumbprint," an opera with Western and South Asian musical touches about a Pakistani woman gang-raped to punish her brother. The work premiered in 2014 at New York's Prototype festival of experimental opera.

Christopher Koelsch, president and CEO of LA Opera, said that half of the people who attended "Off Grand" productions never went to the main stage, a significant feat in the quest to reach a broader audience.

LA Opera is seeking to break out of "this reflexive, prejudicial sense that opera is only for rich white people," Koelsch told reporters in New York.

James Conlon will conduct "Salome," his first Richard Strauss work since becoming LA Opera's music director a decade ago after previously focusing on Wagner's "Ring" cycle.