Opera Philadelphia to Present Digital Festival of
OPERA PHILADELPHIA announced today that it will stream five of its productions—including four recent world premieres—as part of a digital festival that it will present after its 2019-20 season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company’s virtual festival is part of an urgent fundraising campaign, which OP hopes will raise $4 million by May 31, “in order to move forward with plans for the 2020-21 season,” it said in a statement. On March 24, Opera Philadelphia announced that it had been forced to postpone its spring performances of Madama Butterfly due to the pandemic.
The company plans to extend its season by offering online video streams of composer Philip Venables and librettist Ted Huffman’s Denis & Katya; Breaking the Waves, by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek; Sky on Swings by composer Lembit Beecher and librettist Hannah Moscovitch; and the company’s 2015 production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Additionally, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s We Shall Not be Moved will stream online in addition to receiving a broadcast on WHYY-TV 12, to mark the thirty-fifth anniversary of the MOVE bombing in Philadelphia.
“The unprecedented social distancing necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic has galvanized the performing arts community, sparking generous artist relief funds and online expressions of creativity as we all navigate this challenging time in our history, and look forward to once again gathering together for the shared experience of music and art,” said Opera Philadelphia’s general director and president David B. Devan in a statement issued today by the company. “Digital Festival O, which premieres when we had been scheduled to gather at the Academy of Music for a live production of Madame Butterfly, celebrates the joy so many singers, musicians, composers, librettists, conductors, directors, and designers have brought into our lives through these new operas and productions, giving us an opportunity to share in the power of music and theater while reminding us that we will all gather together again in the future. It is our hope to see everyone in September at Festival O20, but until that time Festival O stands for Online.”
The five streams will premiere on the company’s website, operaphila.org, and YouTube beginning with Denis & Katya on May 1 and ending with Breaking the Waves on May 29, and the streams will remain available for on-demand streaming for varying lengths of time through August 31, 2020. The streams will be accompanied by pre-show interviews with artists and other supplementary content. We Shall Not be Moved will be broadcast on May 15 to audiences throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.