Opera Philadelphia’s 2020-21 season

Opera Philadelphia reinvents the 2020-2021 season

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing opera companies away from gathering large audiences in theaters, Opera Philadelphia is taking the next step into the art form’s future with the launch of the Opera Philadelphia Channel. This global broadcast platform will bring a revised 2020-2021 season into opera lovers’ homes via their television screens and streaming devices.

The company will broadcast new presentations of David T. Little’s Soldier Songs and Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón; performances starring tenor Lawrence Brownlee, including Cycles of My Being by Composer in Residence Tyshawn Sorey; and new digital operatic premieres throughout the season, all filmed for the screen.

The Opera Philadelphia Channel will create a digital space in which artists can perform and explore through a series of new commissions by visionary composers and dynamic performances produced for the screen. Annual subscriptions priced at $99 will be offered along with pay-per-view options for individual performances. The channel will be available for viewing on computers and mobile devices, and on TV screens via Chromecast and the Opera Philadelphia Channel app on AppleTV, Android TV, Roku, and Amazon FireTV.

Internationally renowned tenor Lawrence Brownlee, who serves as Opera Philadelphia’s Artistic Advisor and had been scheduled to perform in residency as part of Festival O20, will launch the broadcast season with two filmed concerts. In Lawrence Brownlee & Friends in Philadelphia, Brownlee and a diverse lineup of artists will perform some of their favorite repertoire, resulting in a dynamic combination of arias, songs and spirituals that will showcase the virtuosic range of the artists.

Brownlee will also lead the broadcast premiere of Cycles of My Being, a song cycle that centers on what it means to be a Black man living in America today. Composed by multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey, currently Opera Philadelphia’s Composer in Residence, with lyrics by the award-winning poet Terrance Hayes (both of whom are MacArthur ‘genius grant’ winners), the song cycle received its world premiere with the company in 2018.

A new production of Henze’s El Cimarrón, originally scheduled for Festival O20, will be reimagined as a cinematic experience starring bass-baritone Sir Willard White. The company will also present a new production of Soldier Songs from composer David T. Little, starring baritone Johnathan McCullough and conducted by the company’s music director Corrado Rovaris.

Four short new digital works, commissioned from some of today’s most dynamic composers, will be released throughout the season, and the channel will also broadcast a beloved production of Verdi’s La traviata that features the acclaimed debut of soprano Lisette Oropesa in the role of Violetta.

Opera Philadelphia plans to draw its season to a close in May 2021, as scheduled, with Puccini’s Tosca at the Academy of Music. The production features Grammy-winning soprano Ana María Martínez in the title role, tenor Piero Pretti as Cavaradossi and baritone Quinn Kelsey as Scarpia. All three artists will be making their company and role debuts in this production.

Additional information on all programs will be announced in the fall.

Rick Perdian

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