Pittsburgh Opera’s 2020-21 season

Pittsburgh Opera announces its 2020-21 season

Live opera performances will take place in Pittsburgh this coming season. However, in response to on-going COVID-19 uncertainty and concerns, Pittsburgh Opera is modifying the 2020-21 season, the company’s 82nd. Rather than six operas at four different venues, the season will now consist of four operas performed at the George R. White Opera Studio at Pittsburgh Opera’s headquarters in the city’s Strip District.

Each of the four operas are currently scheduled for six performances:

Così fan tutte – 17, 20, 23, 25, 27, 29 October 2020
Soldier Songs – 5, 8, 11, 13, 15, 17 December 2020
Semele – 20, 23, 26, 28 February & 2, 4 March 2021
Charlie Parker’s Yardbird – 10, 13, 16, 18, 20, 22 April 2021

The season is divided equally between traditional operas – Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Handel’s Semele – and contemporary works.

Soldier Songs, with music and libretto by David T. Little, combines elements of theater, opera, rock-infused-concert music and animation to explore the perceptions versus the realities of the soldier, the loss and exploitation of innocence and the difficulty of expressing the truth of war.

The libretto was adapted from recorded interviews with veterans of five wars and traces the shift in perception of war from the ages of 6 to 66. The abstract character of the soldier is followed through the three phases of life: Youth (playing war games), Warrior (time served in the military) and Elder (aged, wise, reflective). Each of the eleven songs explores a different aspect of the soldier’s experience, ranging from rage to fear, from joy to grief. Multi-media is employed as a critique of the media’s ability to both glamorize and falsify the truth of combat.

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird is an opera with music by Swiss-American composer Daniel Schnyder and an English-language libretto by Bridgette A. Wimberly. It was co-commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Gotham Chamber Opera. The work concerns the jazz icon Charlie Parker, his tumultuous life and his relationships; it is also about America, its music, opioid crisis and racial inequality.

The George R. White Opera Studio normally seats 195 patrons. In keeping with social distancing best practices, the seating will be reconfigured to accommodate fewer patrons based on the prevailing guidelines for gatherings at the time of the performances. In addition, Pittsburgh Opera will follow enhanced safety protocols such as conducting temperature checks for all patrons, artists and staff; requiring patrons and staff to wear masks; professional cleaning of the Studio after every performance; strict and structured audience traffic flow; social distance seating; and more.

At least one performance of each production will be streamed live so that people who are unable to attend will still be able to experience it.

Rick Perdian

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