Starring bass Kevin Burdette, soprano Kiera Duffy, baritone Theo Hoffman, countertenor John Holiday, mezzo Frederica von Stade, and many more of today’s leading singers, the five productions are anchored by members of the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus.
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Over the past five years, Opera Philadelphia has presented no fewer than nine world premieres, scoring multiple awards and winning international audience and critical recognition as “a hotbed of operatic innovation” that represents “one of North America’s premiere generators of valid new operas” (Opera News). Now that the 2019-20 season has been cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company – “the HBO of the opera world” (San Francisco Classical Voice) – is extending its season online with videSingers & Artisto streams of five recent productions, including four new works that received their world premieres from 2015- 2019. Starring bass Kevin Burdette, soprano Kiera Duffy, baritone Theo Hoffman, countertenor John Holiday, mezzo Frederica von Stade, and many more of today’s leading singers, the five productions are anchored by members of the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus. The festival comes at an urgent time of fundraising for the company, which must raise $4 million by May 31 in order to move forward with plans for the 2020-2021 season.
Online expressions of creativity
“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,” says David B. Devan, General Director & President of Opera Philadelphia. “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 operas will receive digital premieres from May 1 through May 29 on YouTube and operaphila.org and will feature special opening night content such as pre-show interviews with artists that reveal the nuances involved in bringing new work and new productions to the stage. Following each digital premiere, the operas will remain available on-demand for varying lengths of time through Aug. 31, 2020.