The Academy of Vocal Arts Has Unveiled Details for BRAVA PHILADELPHIA!
The Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) has unveiled details for BrAVA Philadelphia! in celebration of its historic 85th Anniversary. On Saturday, March 28, 2020, AVA will present BrAVA Philadelphia!, a spectacular concert of opera stars at "The Met Philadelphia", the beautifully restored opera house on North Broad Street. This will be the first time in over 80 years that opera will return to The Met's stage. Long ago, The Met has featured performances by opera legends such as tenor Enrico Caruso, soprano Rosa Ponselle, and conductor Arturo Toscanini.
"AVA is thrilled to be hosting our 85th Anniversary concert at such an historic Philadelphia institution," said Rick Pitcairn, Chairman of the AVA Board Directors. "The re-opening of The Met has been massive for the arts community of Philadelphia, and we couldn't think of a more perfect place to have our gala and concert this year. We are grateful for all who helped make this a reality."
BrAVA Philadelphia! is performed every five years by AVA, and is a celebration of not only AVA, but also the city that it has called home for over eight decades. AVA honors Philadelphia and individuals who have helped shape the city's arts and cultural community.
Confirmed BrAVA performers include international opera stars and AVA alumni sopranos Angela Meade and Latonia Moore, tenors Michael Fabiano, Bryan Hymel, and Taylor Stayton, along with rising opera stars soprano Vanessa Vasquez, mezzo-soprano Hannah Ludwig and bass-baritone André Courville. AVA's current roster of Resident Artists will also lend their voices throughout the evening. More performers will be announced.
The concert will feature a full orchestra, conducted by AVA's Jeannine B. Cowles Music Director Chair Maestro Christofer Macatsoris. As music director of the Academy of Vocal Arts since 1977, Maestro Macatsoris has led critically acclaimed performances of Puccini's ll Trittico and Madama Butterfly, Mozart's Don Giovanni and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Britten's Albert Herring, which were broadcast over PBS. In addition, many operas received their Delaware Valley premieres at AVA under his baton, including Mozart's Idomeneo and La Finta Giardiniera, Handel's Deidamia, Strauss's Capriccio, Verdi's Un Giorno di Regno, and Richard Wargo's A Chekhov Trilogy. Maestro consistently earns high praise from the press for his interpretive abilities and total commitment to excellent opera theatre. Opera Magazine, London, proclaimed him, "One of the treasures of the Philadelphia music scene." The Main Line Times music critic wrote, "Local opera lovers never hear a finer opera conductor." And Robert Baxter with The Courier Post raved, after hearing The Barber of Seville, that "Christofer Macatsoris shapes a decisive reading. Seldom does Rossini's familiar score sound so tautly paced and expressively shaped."
AVA will be honoring three individuals who have been fundamental in saving Philadelphia's Metropolitan Opera House: Pastor Mark E. Hatcher of the Holy Ghost Headquarters, Geoff Gordon of Live Nation, and Eric Blumenfeld of EB Realty Management Corporation. This triumvirate came together to rehabilitate the building and restore it to its former glory, with Pastor Hatcher initiating the project in the 1990s. In the spirit of BrAVA, AVA has selected these three Philadelphia trailblazers to honor this year for their tireless work in restoring The Met Philadelphia.
Of this historic institution, Pastor Mark A. Hatcher said, "The Holy Ghost Headquarters now known as 'The Met' is the heartbeat of the Tri-State area a place of faith, restoration, unity and love where all roads lead to 'The Met'".
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Pastor Hatcher's purchase of The Met to begin its restoration. Pastor Hatcher's congregation meets every Sunday at The Met to worship.