Opera Philadelphia launches festival to widen reach

GMT 12:59 2015 Wednesday ,21 October

Arab Today, arab today Opera Philadelphia launches festival to widen reach

Opera Philadelphia said it would hold an inaugural 12-day festival
New York - Arab Today

Opera Philadelphia said Tuesday it will start opening its seasons with a city-wide festival of premieres and other happenings, hoping to win over a broader audience.

The opera company in the eastern US city said it would hold an inaugural 12-day festival in September 2017, which will take place at six venues across Philadelphia and feature three world premieres.

The festival comes as opera and classical music institutions in much of the world keep struggling to revitalize aging audiences.

Opera Philadelphia said its project was unique among US companies' season openings, which are customarily glittery affairs targeting wealthy patrons.

David Devan, the company's general director, said that the festival was intended to be annual and voiced hope that the more fluid format would attract sought-after artists.

"We have the opportunity to transform the city of Philadelphia into a giant stage for all that opera is and all that it can be," he said in a statement.

The inaugural festival, called "O17," will include the world premiere of "Elizabeth Cree," a chamber opera by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell that is based on Peter Ackroyd's murder mystery in Victorian London.

Other premieres will include "We Shall Not Be Moved," the fruit of Opera Philadelphia's program in local schools that merges classical music and hip-hop.

With its proximity to large audiences along the Eastern Seaboard, Opera Philadelphia has increasingly put a focus on innovative, modern fare.

In June, it premiered "Charlie Parker's Yardbird," a genre-merging opera based on the short, troubled life of the jazz saxophone legend.

Next year, Opera Philadelphia will premiere an opera based on the acclaimed 1996 movie "Breaking the Waves," a bleak story of sexual dysfunction and violence by Danish director Lars von Trier.

Other US companies that have tried innovative approaches to broaden their audiences include the Fort Worth Opera in Texas, which is known for its "pop-up" performances at local bars.

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