AVA Performs An Old Opera That's New To Most Audiences

Jan 26, 2016

The Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) is making a rare appearance at the Kimmel Center on January 26th to perform an opera that few have ever heard live - L'amore dei tre re - (The Love of the Three Kings.) The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns found out about the opera, and why AVA has been longing to perform it. 

David Patrick Stearns: The woman has a deathly gray pallor, but the lips are invitingly red in the ads for The Love of the Three Kings. That's because they're poison to all who wish to kiss her goodbye. Which means that by the final curtain, very few characters are left alive. 

Marina Costa Jackson: But I didn't poison them. It was Archibaldo!

DPS: That's Marina Costa Jackson defending the leading role of Princess Fiora that she will play in the 1913 opera by Italo Montemezzi. Once standard repertoire, it was forgotten after World War II, but not by Academy of Vocal Arts Artistic Director, K. James McDowell. 

K. James McDowell: I've been talking about doing it for about 20 years. And so it's sort of been a personal favorite of mine.

DPS: Favorite? Conductor Christofer Macatsoris has seen fans with more extreme reactions.

Christofer Macatsoris: The fans of L'amore dei tre re are rabid fans. They're really just insane about the opera. People have called it a cross between Italian Debussy and Italian Wagner. And also, the style of the opera reminds reminds me at least of the grand days of the movies, in the 1918-1920 Valentino type thing. Grandeur about it. Supercharged music. 

DPS: Normally, AVA needs extra funding to afford the Kimmel Center. That didn't come through. McDowell is doing it anyway. And the many operatic talent scouts who come to check out the singers may decide they also want the opera itself.

CM: So maybe this will help in that direction . I hope the Met does it. I mean, they have the perfect people to do it. 

DPS: Anna Netrebko, Jonas Kaufmann, Rene Pape....are you listening? You should be!