Opera Philadelphia Films Coming To Five Movie Theaters This Fall

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By: Oct. 20, 2022
Opera Philadelphia Films Coming To Five Movie Theaters This Fall

Following the success of September's Festival O22 presentation of live opera productions alongside opera films, "redefining opera on stage and screen" according to the Wall Street Journal, Opera Philadelphia will bring its renowned films to five regional movie theaters, offering audiences an opportunity to appreciate the intersection of two art forms.

The theatrical screening program begins in November with the GRAMMY-nominated and International Opera Award-nominated 2021 film of David T. Little's Soldier Songs, called "a worthy addition to the far-too-slight catalog of opera presented in cinematic form" by the New York Times. December brings James Darrah's 2021 film of Poulenc's La voix humaine starring Patricia Racette, which tells the story of a woman grappling with grief, denial, and anger in the face of unrequited love, all shared through a one-sided telephone call. January brings the theatrical premiere of Little's newest opera Black Lodge, a Twin Peaks-inspired 2022 film "pushing the boundaries of what opera is" (Broadway World).

The films will screen in five area movie theaters: Bryn Mawr Film Institute in Delaware County; The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Chester County; County Theater in Doylestown, Bucks County; Ambler Theater in Montgomery County; and Princeton Garden Theatre in Princeton, NJ.

Soldier Songs

Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7:00 p.m. at Colonial Theatre
Saturday, Nov. 12, at 1:00 p.m. at Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Ambler Theater, Princeton Garden Theatre, and County Theater.
Based on interviews with veterans from five wars, David T. Little's Grammy-nominated Soldier Songs weaves opera, rock, and film into a stirring and innovative examination of trauma, exploitation, and the difficulty of expressing war's painful truths. Baritone Johnathan McCullough directs and stars as the Soldier in the film the New York Times called "a worthy addition to the far-too-slight catalog of opera presented in cinematic form." Filmed on location at the Brandywine Conservancy in Chester County, Pennsylvania, by the site of a significant Revolutionary War battle of 1777. WATCH TRAILER

The feature film is accompanied by Opera Philadelphia's 2021 short film TakTakShoo, composer Rene Orth's fusion of opera and K-pop, marimba, electronics, and dance, that creates an eclectic sound and movement world. With a libretto by playwright Kanika Ambrose, the film stars mezzo-soprano Kristen Choi as an energizing life force inviting people to come into the world anew and is directed by Emmy Award-nominated director and choreographer Jeffrey L. Page.

La voix humaine

Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1:00 p.m.at Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Ambler Theater, Princeton Garden Theatre, and County Theater.
Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:00 p.m. at Colonial Theatre
Described by composer Francis Poulenc as "a musical confession," La voix humaine tells the story of one woman as she grapples with grief, denial, and anger in the face of unrequited love, all expressed through one side of a telephone call. The role of Elle, the lone character in the monodrama, has been called a true tour de force for soprano Patricia Racette. Filmed at the gilded Elkins Estate in Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, this new cinematic interpretation imbues Poulenc's intimate 1958 musical creation with even greater psychological insight and nuance. WATCH TRAILER

The feature film is accompanied by Opera Philadelphia's 2021 short film Save the Boys by composer Tyshawn Sorey. Inspired by an 1887 poem by abolitionist, writer, and Black women's rights activist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, the stirring music is performed by countertenor John Holiday (NBC's The Voice) and pianist Grant Loehnig.

Black Lodge

Saturday, Jan. 21, at 1:00 p.m. at Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Ambler Theater, Princeton Garden Theatre, County Theater, and the Colonial Theatre.
"Be careful what you need to know," warns the protagonist of David T. Little's surrealist cinematic opera. Blending classical music with goth rock (and with a nod to David Lynch's Twin Peaks), Black Lodge is a journey into magic, mystery, regret, and redemption.
Set in a nightmarish Bardo, a place between death and rebirth, a tormented writer (the charismatic Timur) faces down demons of his own making. Forced to confront the darkest moment in his life, he mines fractured and repressed memories for a way out. A woman (Jennifer Harrison Newman) is at the center of all the writer's afterlife encounters. She is the subject of his life's greatest regret, and she materializes everywhere in this Otherworld. The writer cannot detach any thoughts of his life from her. Produced by Beth Morrison Projects, the bold film features a libretto by legendary poet  Anne Waldman and story, screenplay, and direction by Michael Joseph McQuilken. WATCH TRAILER

The feature film is accompanied by Opera Philadelphia's 2021 short film We Need to Talk from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw and director Maureen Towey, starring soprano Ariadne Greif.



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