Opera Philadelphia Announces 2020/21 Season
Opera Philadelphia launches the 2020-2021 season with the fourth iteration of the trailblazing Festival O, the only American festival nominated for a 2020 International Opera Award. O20 comprises a wide variety of operatic happenings at multiple venues across the city this September. The company announced its full 2020-21 season, which includes the world premiere of a new commission, a major new production of one of opera's great classics, and a host of A-list artists making their company and role debuts.
Festival O20 opens with the world premiere of Woman with Eyes Closed, a new Opera Philadelphia commission from Pulitzer Prize-winner and three-time Grammy-winner Jennifer Higdon and librettist Jerre Dye, written for and starring contralto Meredith Arwady in a sensitive staging by German director Christian Räth at the intimate Perelman Theater. Next, preeminent Verdi soprano Sondra Radvanovsky makes her role debut as Lady Macbeth in a contemporary new treatment of Verdi's Macbeth from award-winning Scottish director Paul Curran at the Academy of Music, with esteemed Jack Mulroney Music Director Corrado Rovaris on the podium. Jamaican bass-baritone Sir Willard White, one of the best-loved and most versatile opera stars of the past 40 years, makes his company debut in Hans Werner Henze's El Cimarrón (The Runaway Slave), performed in the expansive Annenberg Court of the Barnes Foundation, home to O17's The Wake World and O18's Glass Handel. Highlighting his residency as O20's Festival Artist, American tenor Lawrence Brownlee - Opera Philadelphia's Artistic Advisor - sings Bel Canto favorites with fellow tenor Michael Spyres in the gala kickoff Festival O20 Celebration. Four recitals showcase singers from Philadelphia's two prestigious operatic training grounds - the Curtis Institute of Music and the Academy of Vocal Arts - on both weekends of Festival O20. Additionally, many of O20's stars will join guest opera and cabaret singers to offer a taste of their more outrageous sides in the return of "Late Night Snacks," the hit pop-up cabaret series produced in partnership with The Bearded Ladies Cabaret and FringeArts.
The season continues in 2021 with two presentations at the Academy of Music. Six-time Grammy-winning conductor Robert Spano and mezzo-soprano Rehanna Thelwell both make company debuts in two January concert performances of Stravinsky's neoclassical opera-oratorio, Oedipus Rex, with tenor William Burden singing the title role. And the season draws to a close with a spring presentation of Puccini's beloved Tosca, showcasing the company and role debuts of soprano Ana María Martínez, tenor Piero Pretti, and baritone Quinn Kelsey, who anchor a stellar cast under the baton of Corrado Rovaris.
David B. Devan, General Director & President of Opera Philadelphia, says:
"I am proud of the wide artistic palette of the 2020-2021 season, with its balance of new, contemporary works and honoring the canon. I'm always thrilled when we bring a new opera into the world, and Woman with Eyes Closed is extra special because Jennifer Higdon is our own - Philadelphia's own. That we've been able to provide an artist of her standing and experience with a voyage of discovery is very exciting."
Devan is especially proud of the singers who have been assembled to sing company and role debuts in the 2020-2021 season. He continues:
"We've really hit our stride in casting, creating opportunities for emerging artists as well as established artists to sing a role for the first time. What I love about new roles are that they are a dynamic interplay between the artist and audience discovering something together."
Festival O20 packages and full-season subscriptions are now on sale at operaphila.org, or by calling 215-732-8400 (Monday through Friday, from 9am to 5pm). Single tickets will go on sale on Monday, June 1, at operaphila.org or by calling 215-732-8400.