Opera Philadelphia's 2019-2020 Season Launches In September With Third Annual Festival O
Launching its past two annual seasons with the groundbreaking Festival O has firmly established Opera Philadelphia not only as "one of North America's premiere generators of valid new operas" (Opera News), but as "one of American opera's success stories" (New York Times). Now the company steps boldly into 2019-2020 with the third edition of its festival, O19, which comprises two world premieres, two company premieres, and a series of special presentations, events, and recitals at multiple venues across the city in September. Next, the season spotlights renowned Jack Mulroney Music Director Corrado Rovaris, who leads three productions at the Academy of Music to mark the 20th anniversary of his company debut. As the Washington Post observes: "Opera in Philadelphia really can claim to offer something for everyone."
With a lineup of rarely staged classics, new commissions, and stimulating artistic partnerships, the 2019-20 season underscores Opera Philadelphia's status as "a hotbed of operatic innovation" (New York Times), once again "reaffirming that classical music has a legit place in 21st century American art, and anyone who cares about opera ought to pay attention" (Denver Post). Maintaining artistic momentum while growing the company's impact in the community, the new season also continues Opera Philadelphia's Picture of Giving fundraising initiative, which aims to recapitalize the institution as it works towards a sustainable future.
Two major highlights of Festival O19 are the eagerly-awaited company premieres of Prokofiev's comedic gem, The Love for Three Oranges, in a "masterful new production" (Opera News) by South African director Alessandro Talevi at the Academy of Music, and of Handel's Semele, in a new treatment "filled with energetic storytelling" (Opera News) from visionary director James Darrah (Breaking the Waves) and the Chromatic creative team at the Perelman Theater.
O19 also features the world premieres of two new commissions. At the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Philip Venables - "one of the finest composers around" (The Guardian) - teams up with Olivier Award-nominated director Ted Huffman for Denis & Katya, an immersive multimedia chamber opera inspired by the true story of two 15-year-old runaways who died after a three-day stand-off with Russian Special Forces in 2016. At FringeArts, Joseph Keckler - "part operatic wunderkind, part avant-garde troubadour, part comedian from the Theatre of the Absurd" (Out magazine) - headlines Let Me Die, a performance piece interspersing famous operatic death scenes with video and his own signature comedic storytelling.
The Festival O19 Celebration, featuring a solo recital by an artist to be announced at a later date, will be a fundraising event to honor Corrado Rovaris on his 20th anniversary with the company. Four recitals in the Field Concert Hall, showcasing singers trained at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music and presented in collaboration with Curtis, complete the festival.
The season continues in spring 2020 with two presentations led by Corrado Rovaris, who has "presided over a striking evolution at Opera Philadelphia" (Opera News) since making his U.S. debut at the company in 1999. After leading the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus in two February performances of Verdi's Requiem, Rovaris returns to the Academy of Music podium in April for Madame Butterfly, in a new production by Huffman - a hit at Zurich Opera - starring Japanese soprano Eri Nakamura in her company and title role debuts.
Festival O19 packages and full-season subscriptions are now on sale at operaphila.org, or by calling 215-732-8400 (Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Single tickets will go on sale on May 15 at operaphila.org or by calling 215-732-8400.