Simanaitis Says

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WALT DISNEY Concert Hall and its Los Angeles environs won’t be confused with Grover’s Mill, New Jersey. On the other hand, this time around, an operatic version of War of the Worlds will feature Sigourney Weaver as narrator and three World War II air raid sirens within a mile of the hall for interactive concert hall-neighborhood communication.

Annie Gosfield, 2012 Fellow at the American Academy of Berlin, 2015 Composer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome.

Annie Gosfield is the composer of this post-avant garde War of the Worlds opera. She has been described by the BBC as “a one-women Hadron collider.” The Los Angeles Philharmonic says Gosfield “works the boundaries between notated and improvised music, electronic and acoustic sounds, refined timbres, and noise.”

This ain’t Verde, folks.

Gosfield’s War of the Worlds was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and will have its world premiere at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sunday, November 12, 2017, at 2 p.m. Other performances will be Saturday, November 18, 2017.

Yuval Sharon, recipient of a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship and a Foundation for Contemporary Art grant for theater.

Yuval Sharon is director of this War of the Worlds. He is a 2017 MacArthur Fellow, in his second of three years as Artist-Collaborator with the LA Phil. The New York Times described him as “opera’s disrupter in residence.”

This ain’t Wagner either, folks.

Sharon adapted the Orson Welles’ original Mercury Theatre on the Air radio script for War of the Worlds. In addition to the performance within the hall, Sharon has also incorporated interactive performance art for those taking part at three locales within a mile of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Three air raid sirens (of those placed throughout Los Angeles during World War II) have been revamped for two-way communication between the concert hall and these locations.

Sigourney Weaver, Manhattan-born 1949, American actress renowned as “the Sci-Fi Queen.” In the alien spoof within a spoof Galaxy Quest, 1999, while crawling through a spacecraft air duct, she utters the memorable line, “Ducts? Why is it always ducts?” Image from the Los Angeles Times.

Sigourney Weaver’s narration will be supported by Gosfield’s music and commentaries. Eight performers in the hall and at the siren locations will portray others involved in the drama, including a Professor, an Acting Secretary of State, a General, and other military personnel. Audiences in the hall and at the three siren sites will follow the action as the War of the Worlds evolves from location to location.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 South Grand Street, Los Angeles.

Tickets for Walt Disney Concert Hall seating are available ONLY for the two Saturday, November 18, 2017, performances; November 12, 2012 is sold out. (This corrects my original information.)

The siren sites, undisclosed at the moment, are revealed to those making free reservations. Travel from site to site is encouraged, using bicycles in the city’s Metro Bike Share program.

Provided, of course, you’re not afraid of Martian heat rays. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017


  1. Bill Urban
    November 1, 2017

    I’d have guessed they would have found a spot for Garrison Keillor. Sigourney, of course, is much easier to look at.
    Dennis, can we look forward to your review?

    • simanaitissays
      November 1, 2017

      Hi, Bill, She has Sci-Fi creds too. Ha! The 12th seating is already sold put and our 18th already spoken for by Met HD. — d

      Sent from my iPhone


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