Opera Philadelphia launches its new Opera In The City series on November 2nd, presenting unusual opera productions in unconventional spaces. As WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the first production treats audiences both as spectators and guests at a Balkan wedding celebration.
David Patrick Stearns reports on how The Philadelphia Orchestra turned the cancellation of a high-profile concert in New York City, into a triumphant civic celebration in Philadelphia. This, just days after an enthusiastic, 5,000-strong crowd gathered on Independence Mall to witness Opera Philadelphia’s season-opening production.
Philadelphia’s premiere opera company begins its new season this month with a new name and a fresh approach to presenting its work. The Opera Company of Philadelphia starts its first season as Opera Philadelphia. The name changed to better reflect the diversity and scope of its artistic output.
Now, from the traditional opera company that grew out of the 1975 merger of the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company and the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company, comes a producer and presenter with a three-stranded approach. And, says General Director David Devan, maybe even three separate sets of audiences.
Being a duchess doesn't make her a lady. Hailed as "a masterpiece of contemporary music drama" by The New York Times, the operaPowder Her Facehas earned infamy in musical theatre history for its half-hummed, half-sung aria depicting the main character’s insatiable appetites.
(left to right) David Devan, general director/president of Opera Philadelphia; Richard Worley, Phila. Orch. chairman; Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Phila. Orch. music director; Allison Vulgamore, Phila. Orch. CEO & president; Opera Phila. Chairman Daniel Meyer
Even before The Philadelphia Orchestra's new music director took up his post, he'd begun reaching out to other arts organizations. As WRTI's Jim Cotter reports, the Orchestra is now set to present an ambitious co-production of a Richard Strauss masterpiece with Opera Philadelphia.
This week Opera Philadelphia presents the East Coast premiere of Silent Night, the Pulitzer Prize winning opera by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell. As the Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns reports, it promises anything but stand-and-sing performances at the Academy of Music.
Silent Night’s depiction of a World War I Christmas Eve truce is inevitably preceded by battles on a raked, revolving stage. The model was the movie Saving Private Ryan, though director Eric Simonson admits singers can’t be dismembered onstage.
But you can stab them for a really, really long time with a bayonet. You can strangle them with a shovel. And that’s what we did… We want them to feel what the warriors are feeling.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns speaks with Silent Night Director, Eric Simonson about the critically acclaimed opera by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell.
The piece begins innocently enough with a quasi-Mozartean duet, interrupted by the declaration of war. The story traffics in similar territory to the PBS series Downton Abbey, though Silent Night was well underway first – with a fundamentally different focus says composer Kevin Puts.
The war is the main character. It’s ever present and the reason all this conflict exists.
One daring, personal touch is how much of the opera is, in fact, quiet, especially at the end. Librettist Campbell wants audiences to contemplate what they’ve just seen.
The way Kevin ends it with those beautiful notes and it’s snowing. It really succeeds at what we’re trying to say…you have to know when to use two or three notes per square inch and when you need 3000 notes per square inch
Puts and Campbell are now adapting The Manchurian Candidate, and later, will write something for Opera Philadelphia’s Perelman Theater series that’s even darker and….hasn’t been announced yet.