20 October 2015
Opera Philadelphia to Inaugurate O, Twelve-Day Fall Festival Featuring Twenty-Five Performances of Seven Operatic Events, in 2017
OPERA PHILADELPHIA announced today that the company plans to inaugurate its 2017-18 season with a twelve-day festival that will feature twenty-five performances of numerous operatic works in multiple venues across the city of Philadelphia.
Announced by Daniel K Meyer, M.D., chairman of the board of Opera Philadelphia, OP’s general director and president David B. Devan and the company’s managing director Annie Burridge, the festival will be called O and will run from September 14-25, with nearly 25,000 tickets on sale to the public in its first year.
In a significant format shift, Opera Philadelphia intends to annually present the festival as the opening to its season; the company will also continue to present a spring season comprised of three productions in February, March, and April. With mainstage performances of standard repertory works and the presentation of several world premieres, O17 looks to amount to a significant expansion of Opera Philadelphia’s seasonal offerings and indicates the company’s efforts to engage both opera buffs and new audiences across the city and beyond.
“By opening our season each year with a festival, we have the opportunity to transform the city of Philadelphia into a giant stage for all that opera is and all that it can be,” Opera Philadelphia general director and president David B. Devan said today in a statement issued by the company. “The density and breadth of programming possible within the festival format has allowed us to attract some of the most sought after composers, librettists, directors, designers, and performing artists with projects that provide them the most creative possibilities.”
“The festival gives us the opportunity to build on our successful track record in attracting new audiences both locally and throughout the Northeast,” added managing director Annie Burridge. “Approximately twenty-percent of the audience for our recent world premiere productions is coming from more than seventy miles away—and we’re confident that festival O will help us reach even more of these fans while simultaneously offering more operatic experiences for our loyal local supporters.”
O17 will feature the world premiere of Elizabeth Cree, a new chamber opera by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, the team behind the acclaimed opera Silent Night. Based on the novel The Trial of Elizabeth Cree by Peter Ackroyd, the work will be conducted by Opera Philadelphia music director Corrado Rovaris and will play in the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater.
Another world premiere, We Shall Not Be Moved, will be directed by choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones in the Wilma Theater. Developed by composer Daniel Bernard Roumain and librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, We Shall Not be Moved arose out of the company’s Hip H’opera education collaboration with Art Sanctuary, which seeks to engage high school students in Philadelphia’s inner-city schools.
The company will also present the east coast premiere of Barrie Kosky’s silent-film-era inspired staging of The Magic Flute. The production, which premiered at Komische Oper Berlin and has been seen at LA Opera, will play in Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, and will also receive an HD broadcast at Independence National Historic Park.
Opera Philadelphia will also present a site-specific double-bill called War Stories at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Monteverdi’s Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda will play alongside I Have No Stories To Tell You, composer Lembit Beecher and librettist Hannah Moscovitch’s 2014 opera written as a response to the Monteverdi work. Monteverdi’s scena for three voices will be presented in the museum’s medieval stone cloister, while Beecher’s work will play in the museum’s Great Stair Hall, one of Philadelphia’s iconic civil spaces.
Rounding out the festival programming, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky has been named as the festival’s inaugural artist, and will give a solo recital in the Perelman Theater in addition to conducting a masterclass with emerging artists.
In addition, the company also plans to commission a short performance piece that will interact with the Barnes Foundation’s collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings.
More information can be found at www.operaphila.org/o
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