Singing the praises of the 110 freeway

Honking horns and screeching brakes are probably among the most common sounds you will hear along the 110 Freeway (along with the screams of drivers forced to go from 60 to zero in three seconds as they exit at Avenue 43). But come next year, L.A.’s oldest freeway will inspire a different kind of sound, an opera:

“The 110 Project, newly commissioned by the L.A. Opera, may well erase that symbolic separation. It is a paean to the city’s first freeway, the redoubtable I-110, which turns 70 in 2009. Emmy Award–winning Angeleno composer Laura Karpman will write the score. Its libretto will incorporate themes from “story circles”—public interviews held in the racially diverse neighborhoods that the freeway traverses. And it will run 110 minutes—the time it takes in heavy traffic to get from San Pedro (at one end of the city) to Pasadena (at the other).”

The opera mentioned at the end of a Travel & Leisure magazine story might be a little early in celebrating the freeway’s 70th anniversary; most accounts say that the northern leg of the freeway that winds through Highland Park opened in 1940 as the Arroyo Seco Parkway. But, if the 110 can inspire an opera, what’s next? How about a power ballad for the Glendale Freeway?

Photo by Eric Richardson via Flickr

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